...Food and Recipes, ...Kids

Zero Waste Lunchbox Ideas

It’s Zero Waste Week and the kids are back at school. BigSmall is getting really big now and just going into Key Stage 2 (what we used to call Juniors back in the day!) which means that his free school meals are at an end, and we are facing the daily “what do we put in his lunchbox” dilemma.
Whilst there is a lot more choice for healthy (and not so healthy) lunchbox options than I remember when I was at school, they all seem to come wrapped in gaudy plastic. Even sticks of cheese come individually wrapped. What is all that about? And the plastic, as we all know is non recyclable and destined to just sit in landfill for the next few thousand millennia.

So I’m on a mission to try and create Zero Waste lunches for BigSmall that don’t involve a cheese roll every single day. I asked the lovely gang in the A Make Do and Mend Life Facebook group for their suggestions and thought I’d share them with you here.

Savoury stuff

  • pasta and rice salads
  • sausage rolls
  • wraps (I’ve got a recipe for homemade wraps that are delicious – will share in the next few days!)
  • mini pizzas – make a batch and freeze them individually
  • mini frittatas – I’m told these can be frozen but haven’t tried it
  • slices of quiche
  • soup in a thermos when the weather starts to get colder

Sweet stuff

  • flapjack – this is my favourite recipe
  • muffins
  • biscuits
  • fruit leathers – these are a total favourite in our house. I just made a batch with some windfall pears and forged blackberries 🙂
  • yoghurt
  • fruit – either whole or chopped up into a fruit salad

We don’t wrap anything up as we are a clingfilm free house, which I really worried about at first, but actually we don’t miss it at all now.
BigSmall has a lunchbox that has separate compartments so we put the roll/wrap etc in one with some cucumber/cherry toms etc, and then the sweet stuff in the other sections. If he takes yoghurt we have a small tupperware container with a fairly robust lid that we decant some from a  large 500ml pot into. He takes in a spoon from home, but hubby uses a metal spork which he totally loves.

What do you guys do for school/packed lunches?
Any recommendations for plastic free luncboxes?


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  • Reply ruthkhan September 19, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Just a heads up that ‘some’ schools don’t allow pupils to take in thermos flasks. My friend had a right to-do with her son’s primary school when she sent him in with one, full of nourishing, homemade soup. The school said it was against health and safety (even though it wasn’t made of glass on the inside). *rolls eyes so hard*. So please check with yours to avoid it getting confiscated or some such nonsense 🙂

    • Reply Jen September 20, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Oh crikey, that had never even occurred to me! Thanks for the heads up Ruth-I’ll make sure I check with school.

  • Reply Charlotte Todd September 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Eggs! My two (2 and 4)love cold boiled eggs and plain bread in their nursery lunches! Also I do home made hummus with home made oatcakes for me, has been successful so far and hubby loves them too.

    • Reply Jen September 9, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Ooh yes, eggs! I always forget about just boiling them-thankyou so much for the reminder!
      And yes to hummus too-fab ideas!

  • Reply Rachelle Strauss September 8, 2016 at 10:20 am

    What a fantastic list your community came up with. Do let me know if the frozen fritatas work; as this could be a huge boon for my never ending egg supply! Thanks for sharing the inspiration Jen – no more need for cheese sandwiches, eh?!

    • Reply Jen September 9, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      They are fabulous aren’t they Rachelle? Definitely no more cheese sandwiches. Or at least not every day…!

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