Some day my kids will hate me for this probably, but since we started school I’ve gotten more and more committed to making their lunches with as small an eco-footprint as possible. So, everything we use is reusable. I’m happy to report since I started this endeavor, there have been great strides in the category of reusable lunch accessories. The job of washing and packing every evening has not gotten any easier, but at least everything is cuter to look at!
Here are some of our favorites:
Snack Taxi Lunch and Snack Bags: My old neighbor Mary gets total credit for this find. I’m actually not entirely sure she introduced us to these, but she did feed into my eco-conscious crazy, so I give her credit for most of our early finds. These adorable bags are made of heavy gauge canvas that’s completely washable. The snack bags are big enough for handfuls of chips and even “wet” snacks like freshly washed grapes or carrots. The lunch bags can even hold two sandwiches (not that The Husband has ever tried). These bags are as easy as ziploc type bags and way more Earth friendly than all that plastic. We’re on year three of ours and I can tell you they hold up well and resist smells. I rinse at the end of the day and throw them in the washing machine (without soap) once a week(ish). One of my favorite new additions is the Taxi on a Mission bags that are matched to a charity. So you’re buying eco-conscious products, helping to sustain a family run small business AND giving money to a variety of worthy causes. Talk about efficiency! Now you can even buy them through Amazon which makes me a little proud. Way to go Snack Taxi family!
Kleen Kanteen: Sigg water bottles were all the rage a few years ago and continue to be great sellers now and while they’re lovely, I prefer the Kleen Kanteens for two reasons: one, they are wide enough to fit ice cubes and two their sport top lid functions as a spill proof cup. They don’t advertise them as this, but I can tell you from experience they don’t spill even after three years of constant use. Now, if left on their sides forever they will eventually leak but they withstand the lunch box and backpack test of two school age kids and the everyday antics of one preschooler. I even had one fly off my car roof (don’t ask) and live to be used again. (Of course I stopped and picked it up. Please, don’t you know me?) Clearly, I can recommend them with authority.
Tupperware Sandwich Keeper: I can’t find what these boxes are made of anywhere on the ole’ internets so I can’t vouch for them being “safe” (read BPA free) but I can tell you they worked for us all last year and can be used again this year. They are big enough for store bought sandwich bread which tends to be large and for my homemade bread which tends to be thick. They have a hinged cover so less for kids to lose at school which is key. We switched over from Snack Taxi bags because my kids had the lunchboxes where the sandwiches went in the bottom zipper compartment so they needed a hard container. They are durable and dishwasher safe and don’t seem to take on smells so you can go from peanut butter to turkey and not have any residuals.
Laptop Lunches: This is our newest foray so I can’t actually give my recommendation yet but I will tell you I have ordered them based on other recommendations so that’s something. This site can get overwhelming with all the choices so I recommend going with the presorted “kits”. What I love about these is that the little box combinations allow us to stray from our normal sandwich, snack, drink routine. My kids are at school for a long time (8-4) so they need a lot of food. It’s tough to find things that are easy to pack in standard snack bags. With the laptop lunch options I can pack carrots and ranch or crackers, cheese cubes or the new sandwich sushi rolls my daughter and I discovered and nothing will leak or get smashed. I can also buy the large jars of natural apple sauce and yogurt instead of the single serving sizes which are way more expensive. So, the investment in the laptop lunches may be more than you expect, but in the end I think they’ll be money saving. For The Girl, I got the Easy A kit and intend to use the Tupperware for sandwiches when she wants them. She liked the idea of the little containers in her lunch box and the boy wanted an actual laptop to hold his. So for The Middle One, we got the Honor Roll set because he likes gadgets and, well, I’m a sucker for him. Also, he has a more expansive palette so we’ll use more containers for him naturally. These can be found on Amazon too where the prices may be a bit less so be sure to comparison shop!
Mabel’s Labels: Last but not least, you need a way to make sure all this stuff gets back home every day and there is no better label than Mabel’s Labels. I can tell you, we’ve had our Mabel’s on our Kleen Kanteens for three years. THREE YEARS of dishwashing, beach sand, backpack grime and of course, the aforementioned car roof incident and they have never so much as peeled. I’m telling you, these labels are magic. And of course, they’re cute, bright and fun for even the grumpiest of kids (not that I have one of those or anything.). Perhaps the best part of Mabel’s is their staff. I have me their founder and a few of their “people” in person and have interacted with them online and they are the hardest working, kindest people ever so I love that I get to buy cute things and support this incredible company too. So stock up on Mabel’s. This year, we even have it in the budget to get first names for each kid instead of just universal family labels. What can I say, we’re big spenders these days! Ha!!
Happy Back to Schooling. Your planet thanks you.
**All of these recommendations are based on our own use. I have bought and paid for all the above mentioned products. I have been given Mabel’s Labels as an attendee at certain conferences but the kids’ labels I bought myself. All my opinions are my own. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and purchase anything I may get .oooooooo2% of the sale. from Amazon which I will add to the coffers to buy more eco-lunch supplies. Just so you know.;)
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