5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch

Back-to-School with a Waste-Free Lunch

According to wastefreelunches.org, families can save nearly $250 per year PER PERSON just by packing a waste-free lunch! That’s $1,000 a year for a family of four!

You know that time between Memorial Day and Labor Day they call Summer?  It came and went so fast!  And now here we are again, with children preparing to go back-to-school, school buses slowing down morning commutes, and a buzz of conversation about after-school classes, where to find non-toxic school supplies, and idea swapping on the age old dilemma … what to pack for your kids lunch.  Just this past week I put a PB&J sandwich into my daughter’s PVC free sandwich bag for her first packed school lunch of the year… and she turned her nose up at it!  What’s a mom to do?

Solutions to what to pack for lunch are many, but what about a waste-free lunch? You know, a lunch that’s not filled with lunch-size-that or mini-this that build up your grocery bill (and landfill!). According to WasteFreeLunches.org, families can save nearly $250 per year per person just by packing a waste-free lunch.  With that thought in mind, I looked online to see what PVC-free products I could find that would help me pack a waste-free lunch.  Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas


PB&J. Cheese stick. Yogurt. – (Snore!) – Does your inner chef have a fresh, creative idea to share for our back-to-school, lunch toting kids?

  • Leslie Lynn suggests, “Hummus and carrots, yum! Seaweed strips! Homemade granola bars!”
  • Hannah Monroe Litchfield suggests, “My kids love tortillas with just about anything rolled inside. Cream cheese and ham, hummus and lettuce, turkey and cheese, or Yes, even PB&J.”
  • Jessica Grant suggests, “Vegetarian sushi rolls are a big hit here!”
  • Beth Caissie suggests, “Peach leather made from Clarkdale Farm peaches the 1st day of school.”
  • Lauren Abend suggests, “Crunchy kale.”
  • Amy Kane-Coyne suggests, “Radiatori pasta tossed with (locally made) Ooma Tesaro Mariara (had to give a shout out–especially since Jackson–my picky eater–who does not like tomatoes–loves the Oomas).

[Photo credit: (ccl) Sean Kelly]

The Nut Butter Dilemma

The Nut Butter Dilemma

Even if you’ve got a peanut-butter-picky kid, you may find other nut and seed butters will fit the lunchtime bill just fine.

Alana Sugar writes: “The kids are heading back to school, and it’s time for packing up those lunchboxes. Of course, you want to pack something that’s easy, portable, fresh, healthy and tasty… oh, and also something the kids will love. Is peanut butter springing to mind for you? I know it does for me. Of course, I grew up when peanut butter was the only nut butter option available. And that was before the explosion of peanut allergies in kids and the advent of schools creating “nut-free zones.” Those changes, plus great flavor, make it all the more fun to try a variety of nut and seed butters for tasty lunches”. … Read more at blog.wholefoodsmarket.com

The Kid’s Health Website has some great information on food allergies too.

Green Mama: Healthy School Lunches Begin at Home

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer

Back-to-School Means Back to Healthy Eating for this Family

It’s just about that time again. Time for alarm clocks and protests to sleep “just one more minute.” Time for grumbles over homework and carpools to sport’s practices. Time for frazzled parents and days where the schedule dictates your life. (Cue scream.)

Yes folks, the vacation’s over. It’s back-to-school time!

Take a deep breathe and you can almost smell the nervousness, anticipation and excitement in the air. And that’s just what some parents are exuding into the environment. What about the kids?

School is a touchy subject. Everybody has an opinion — about teachers, MCAS, the abundance of homework, the lack of homework, the importance of recess, the elimination of recess and most recently, the state of school lunchrooms.

There has been a strong movement in the United States, since Mrs. Obama started her Let’s Move campaign to address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, to revamp school lunch programs. In April I spoke to Josh Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA a grassroots organization that, according to its website, “envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.” Viertel spoke to me about the organizations Time for Lunch campaign which advocates for changes in the Child Nutrition Act, the piece of legislation that is responsible for funding and establishing guidelines for the National School Lunch Program.

“School lunch administrators, nutrition directors, lunch ladies … they want to feed kids food that makes them healthy and that tastes good but they really have their hands tied because of federal funding,” Viertel said. “Schools get on average less than a dollar a day per lunch to spend on ingredients, which makes it really impossible to serve food that’s good for kids.”

Viertel and his organization members are not the only ones who headed to Washington this year to address this issue.

Rachael Ray made a trip to the Capitol in May to plead her case. In an interview with Nightline’s Cythia McFadden posted on Ray’s Yum-o.org website she commented on the importance of this bill for kid’s education: “It’s an opportunity to really level the playing field, no matter what socioeconomic background a kid comes from,” Rachael said. “When they are in school they (can) have access — all of them — to good nutrition if we the adults provide it for them.”

I am a firm believer in revamping the school lunch programs in our schools. Afterall, I am guilty of throwing the organic eating out the window during the school day and allowing my children to purchase the all-too-often unhealthy school lunches. But I also don’t want to put too much emphasis on the school’s responsibility in all this. Yes, they are responsible for feeding our children the healthiest, most nutritious food they can with the funding they have available to them, but so are we parents.

“Nutrition and healthy nutrition has everything to do with the success or the struggle that (your child) will have,” said Izzy Lenihan, a Pittsfield-based life, career and wellness coach and mother of two, in recent interview.

In the interview Lenihan discussed the importance of sending your child off to school with a good breakfast in their belly because if you don’t, she said, “there’s an indication that you’re already starting him (or her) off for failure.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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