Best eco-friendly lunch kits for kids
It’s the middle of summer right now and I’m trying to soak it all up. Long hours of sunshine. Warm days on the beach. Family trips. Ocean swims. Ahhhh…
But I also know that school will start up again in the blink of an eye! And with school comes LUNCHES! Our weekday mornings are usually a little hectic – we make breakfast, walk the dogs, make our lunches, and gather up whatever we need for the day (dance today? Piano? Permission slip? Bake sale? Your friend’s shoes need to be returned? You get the drift).
In case you were thinking it – I know we are a little overscheduled at times! To say the least.
BUT, we do have our morning lunch packing pretty well figured out and I thought I’d share it with you in the hopes that it can make your morning just a teensy tiny less hectic 🙂 . BONUS: our approach is a greener way to pack your food!
So, for all you busy parents out there, or parents to be, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about some of my favorite eco-friendly lunch kits for kids that keep your kids safe from plastics and also keep the planet healthy! No packaging, no waste!
So here they are: Top eco-friendly lunch kits for kids (and adults!) – plastic-free!
Insulated food jar/thermos:
- Bentology insulated food jar is great for warming before school leftovers and keeping them pretty warm until lunch time! The container is stainless steel, although unfortunately there is plastic on the lid and base of the container.
- Thermos brand makes an insulated food jar that is almost entirely stainless steel, but it comes with a couple of plastic containers.
- Thrift store thermos – if you can find a wide-mouth thermos for food at your thrift store – buy it!! And consider yourself lucky :).
- Lunchbots makes an insulated thermos too – also with some plastic, though and i haven’t tried theirs – but I love their other lunch box, which brings me too…
Stainless steel lunch box
- Planet Box: I love their stainless steel lunch box and my kids do too. It has separate compartments to help portion out different types of food. In our house, we ask the kids to pack a fruit, veggie, carb, and protein for every meal. Sometimes they take a small treat like chocolate chips too. What can I say – I’m weak! Let me recommend that you say no to the magnets, though. These are hard to recycle once the stickers are worn out.
- LunchBots: This company makes some great 100% stainless steel lunch containers with separate compartments or a single compartment. We love using our two-compartment box. Sometimes we’ll grab one other small container if the two-compartments aren’t quite enough for our food, or we want to keep things separate.
- Tiffin lunch box: These are stainless steel lunch bins that connect together in a sort of tower. We haven’t used one in our home, but I do see lots of rave reviews from other zero wasters.
Sandwich bag or beeswax wrap
- Sandwich bags: These are a super easy way to tote a sandwich or pastry for lunch. Simply fold it open, pop in your food, and fold it shut. Easy to wash, reusable, biodegradable. I would encourage organic cotton only for these – non-organic cotton could potentially leech chemicals into your food. Also, nylon-lined bags, although nice for moisture, are not biodegradable and nylon is a synthetic fabric that is essentially a form of plastic. Check out my offerings here.
- Beeswax wrap: If you are worried about keeping your sandwich really moist, or if your sandwich is really drippy, a beeswax wrap is another great way to tote your lunch. These are super easy to clean (wipe or rinse off between uses) and are 100% biodegradable and all natural. I make mine with organic cotton, beeswax, pine gum rosin, and jojoba oil. They last over and over again about a year. If the stickiness starts to wear off, you can also use a rubber band or string to keep it shut. See mine here.
For older kids only – A mason jar is a great way to store food that doesn’t need to be kept warm. But I wouldn’t recommend a jar for kids under 7 unless they are pretty careful. And you’ll still have to remind your kiddos not to throw their lunch bags on the ground.
These are a great alternative to paper napkins – reusable, biodegrable, and sustainable. I make organic and upcycled napkins that you can see here. Help keep those finger tips tidy!
A couple of options for utensils…
- Camping utensils: I love our Coglan camping utensils – they are stainless steel, small, and super affordable. We got them at a local camp store. And we don’t feel bad if they get lost since they weren’t too pricey to buy.
- Thrift store utensils: these are even more more economical. You might be able to get forks and spoons and knives for under a dollar each – maybe even all three for $1. Check around and see what your options are.
Organic cotton lunch bag
Of course I make these too! But I would recommend ANY cotton or all natural fiber bag over the typical plastic-y, lined lunch bags, which are sadly destined for the landfill. Unless you have some spectacular recycling resources near you. We don’t. All natural materials like cotton, bamboo, linen, and hemp are much better choices for toting your lunch. I would avoid nylon or other synthetics. You can see my offerings here.
Use what you have
Last but definitely not least. I’ll be honest that we also use some old plastic tupperwares on occasion that we bought or otherwise acquired before going zero waste. These come in handy and sometimes everything else is sitting in the sink, waiting to be washed. I would encourage you to use up what’s on hand rather than spending a ton on new supplies!
If you’re just getting ready to send your little one off into the world with a lunch, start out green and eco-friendly with any of these reusable, sustainable options. These are all awesome ways to send your kiddos into the world with a plastic free and waste free lunch.
There you have it – my list of the best eco-friendly lunch kits for kids. To sum it all up, here are my favorite pieces:
Insulated food jar/thermos
Stainless steel lunch box
Sandwich bag or beeswax wrap
Natural fiber lunch bag
What you already own
Do you have any favorite eco-friendly lunch kits to recommend? Or awesome thrift store finds? Leave a comment below! And thanks for reading.