Skip to content

Three tips for a more eco-friendly lunch box

Tips to ease lunch-making for back to school or back to work.
Enlist the kids for packing back to school lunches--back to work too! Photo supplied.

As summer winds down, back to work or back to school means back to packing lunches. As more workplaces and schools are encouraging ‘litterless’ lunches, it can be hard to come up with ways to make lunch more sustainable and waste free. Here are three tips to make it easier:

1. Portion to reduce packaging
Buy food you’ll use in lunch boxes, like yogurt or applesauce, in larger quantities. Purchase a big tub that you can portion into reusable containers, rather than individually packaged cups, to avoid wasteful packaging.
Put re-useable or wooden cutlery and a cloth napkin into your lunch box to reduce what’s thrown away. 

2. Consider where your food is coming from
Grow your own salad, herbs or vegetables where possible. This saves on packaging and transportation-related emissions, which helps reduce your carbon footprint.  
When shopping, look for products from companies that are prioritizing eco-friendly initiatives. You can often identify them by the packaging. For example, the Carbon Zero logo on Maple Leaf Foods products means the company prioritizes reducing and balancing out its carbon emissions and making a positive impact on the environment.

3. Meal plan, ‘upcook’, and make your own snacks
Instead of buying individually wrapped snacks at the grocery store, try healthier, more environmentally conscious options. You could also turn this into a Sunday activity with the kids by batch-making homemade granola bars. Not only can this be a fun family activity, but you’ll save countless wrappers from going to a landfill.
Meal planning helps to reduce food waste. Are you likely to have leftovers that can be ‘upcooked’ and added to your lunch? Leftover chicken from last night’s dinner can be used on a sandwich, or leftover bacon from breakfast can be a tasty salad topping.