Firstly, packing a completely plastic free lunch is a challenge. Doing it everyday is most likely not possible.. especially for kids.
Sure, when you look at your finished lovely bento style box with no plastic wrappers in view we can fake the warm and fuzzies (look school teachers we did it..).
But, we can’t control that those berries came in a plastic tub, the baby carrots, the cheese..
We can still reduce plastic though and work towards total removal. And most importantly not be too hard on ourselves.
It just takes a wee bit of planning. Note, while these can be for everyone we have specifically picked more kid friendly options.
Buying in bulk and making at home.
We’re all about simple at ecyo, so if you're time strapped, don't cook or just don't enjoy cleaning up afterwards - please don't think these are not for you.
EASY Baked Options
So we all know that making rather than buying can help you to control the amount of sugar/badies used, and really reduce plastic. I mean flour still comes in a paper bag, yeah!
But finding the time can he hard. So here are some easy ideas:
Bonus: if you make them at the same time / one after the other you can reduce your clean-up time, and reduce your power usage with an already warmed oven.
To really feel like a boss afterwards make double and you can freeze some for next week.
This is such an easy recipe, no need to get the Mixmaster out and you only need one large and one small bowl. We also usually have the ingredients on hand, at the end of the week who doesn't have a brown looking banana, plus keeping a few spares in the freezer helps. Banana bread
Again this is an easy one with no Mixmaster needed. Get the kids involved as it involves hands! Muffins
I could make these in my sleep. They never get boring, great comfort food!
And again, we always have most of the ingredients on hand (sometimes we don’t use coconut). We prefer them a little bit soft so take them out before the recipes desired time and depending how healthy I’m feeling I may reduce the sugar. ANZAC Biscuits
Zucchini Slice / Quiche
I don’t think you can really muck this up. I’ve made it with or without a recipe, it always turns out fine. Lots of eggs in this one - of course. I often leave the bacon out so it’s a good vegetarian lunch option for everyone 😊 Zucchini slice
Double that Dinner
In attempt to reduce waste (and cost!) I often just make just what we need. There are however a few dishes we know will get eaten the next day.
Note: If your making lunch for little one’s leftovers can be tricky as they can’t heat them up, it’s messy, they’ll need cutlery… but some can be delicious cold, and using a thermos to keep things warm for them is always an option.
Obviously, we have to start with a Bolognese sauce. Good on pasta, good on toast, good on potatoes. Doubling your Bolognese sauce can go such a long way, and again you’ll feel like a genius for having some ready in the freezer.
To make it more vegetarian and cheaper try swapping out ½ to ¼ of the mince for lentils. We use tin lentils as they are easier for my tummy to digest.
Pesto pasta is a great one to have cold the next day, add some cut up baby tomatoes and a bit of cheese on top and it will be devoured!
Fresh is of course best, but jar bought works too.
- 2cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
- 1/2 cupfreshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/8teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
Kids love these things! If you make extra balls you can pop them in lunchboxes the next day. Meat balls
Chicken Schnitzel (or really any chicken) cut into strips
Make an extra Schnitzel and cut it up the next day for lunches. Below is a recipe we’ve used, but honestly, I usually get these from the butcher – bringing up own container as they do love a plastic bag or three! Chicken schnitzel
Try making a juice or smoothy in the morning and putting it in a chilled drink container. Tip: Grab a bottle brush if you’re going to do this, they can be a challenge to clean if not rinsed directly afterwards.
A long kept secret of day-care centres the world over. Dried cereal is a healthy high fibre snack that many kids love. Here are some that work for us.
- Sultana Bran Buds
- Fruit Bites (any sort of pillow cereal with dried fruit inside)
- Nurti Grain
- Fruit - natures sweet treats
- Cut up veggies
- Boiled eggs
We’d love for you to comment below with any plastic free lunch ideas that have worked for you!