Tried ‘n True Gear for the Zero Waste Lunchbox

A simple guide for packing a zero waste lunch, with tips for reliable gear.

I‘m coming up on a decade of packing school lunches and it’s high time I shared my tried and true gear guide for the zero waste lunchbox.

Good containers for lunches on the go have to be easy to clean and hold up year after year. There are so many options out there and I’ve tried my fair share. I know what breaks and what lasts, what kids enjoy using and what is actually worth the price tag.

At its simplest, packing a lunch requires a few containers, a jar and a tote; at its maximum we’re using everything from beeswax wraps to banana guards.

Hit the jump and keep scrolling because I’m about to show you aaaaaalll our items for a zero waste lunchbox.

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Double Chocolate and Maple Tahini Puffed Cereal Treats

I‘ve been packing school lunches for eight years and lunchbox treats are one thing I have down to a science, thanks to plenty of practice and a whole lot of honest feedback.

Today I’m sharing two versions of puffed cereal treats that I regularly make with my kids: Double Chocolate and Maple Tahini. They are no-bake, one-bowl, vegan recipes, with just a handful of ingredients, perfect for a kitchen project with little ones.

Yes these are based on the popular Rice Crispy treats, but you find that my version is a little more nourishing. I love to play around with puffed ancient grains such as millet or quinoa, I use natural sweeteners, stir in seed butter for protein, and leave out the marshmallows entirely.

Read on for two new recipes and then stir up a treat for Valentine’s Day with the kids.

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The School Lunch Blindside

There are a few things that happen after a car accident that they don’t tell you about. Such as how the muscles in your ten fingers will ache and simple tasks – like wrapping your daughter’s ponytail with an elastic or shampooing your hair – become all awkward and send spasms up your wrists to your elbows.

But everything aches. It’s just that sore fingers are a new sensation after thirty seven years.

Before Sunday, I never knew what would happen nearly every time you close your eyes in the days following a car crash. I’ve discovered that as soon as they’re shut, your mind hits “Play” on a little memory it has called “The Moment of Impact”. The replay is startling every single time: from the sickening, heart-dropping slam of metal on metal to the thud of your head on the side window.

What people do tell you is that you will be sore, maybe even for weeks, and that you should rest as much as possible. Oh perfect. Not a problem. Just as soon as I get these three kids a hot breakfast, out the door for their first day of school, meet the teachers and lug a wailing and writhing Clara out of the school yard because she wants to go to ‘cool too.

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Lunchbox Renewal & All-Purpose Citrus Boost Dressing

You know you’re in trouble when your lunchbox board on Pinterest fails to spark any excitement.

All around us, a spring renewal of sorts is in progress. My Facebook friends are donating their entire closet of clothes in favour of something called a ‘capsule wardrobe’. My neighbour is filling half his driveway with junk every Wednesday for the garbage man to take. And in nature, florescent greens are overtaking the soft browns with each passing day.

One thing hasn’t changed: the doldrums of the bagged lunch. Danny and my boys take one every day, but the school year is long and we still have two months until summer vacation. Can we revive the lunchbox? I think so.

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29 New Lunchbox Ideas

If the current weather is trying to get us in the mood for heading back to school, it’s working.

Yesterday morning felt like a brisk autumn day; I sent the boys outdoors with hoodies and socks, in addition to their usual attire, and they returned a short while later to request hot cocoa. It feels as though summer has been even more fleeting than usual, leaving me wishing for one more weekend to barbecue and enough heat to turn my green tomatoes to red.

Maybe a few more hot days are to come, maybe not, but instead of grasping at summer like I usually do, I’ve decided to look ahead to fall – the return to books and the inevitable school lunch.

If I have a lunchbox plan down on paper – a handful of ideas, a shopping lists, new items to try and old items to reintroduce – I’m good. Then I can take it morning-by-morning, a week at a time. This post is just as much for me as it is for you; I tend to forget what is in the archives and how much we enjoyed certain recipes.

So let’s take a look at some new ideas for school lunches together and get ready to make a plan, because, ready or not, that first day of school is coming up soon.

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