Tag Archives | plastic sandwich bags

Litterless Lunch Solutions

I’ve been asked for my opinion on what is the best litterless lunch solution for back-to-school and with so many great options it comes down to each lunch solution being compatible with different foods a family enjoys packing. I have several lunch containers from reviews over the years so I thought I’d photograph different combos and share with pictures rather than descriptions – sometimes a visual is more helpful. I do have a few rules I stick to with packing any food for my children (and self) so I’ll list these before the pictures:

– I don’t use plastic. I don’t care if it’s BPA-free, phthalate free, recycled, etc, etc. At the end of the day, I don’t trust plastic or want it near my children’s food.

– Ditto on the plastic for water bottles. I also don’t use aluminum water bottles that have liners. I trust 18/8, stainless steel bottles and these are what I use for myself and children. On hot days, I include a couple of ice cubes (made from stainless steel ice trays) into their bottles to keep water icy cold. This is a great trick for back-to-school and keeping water delicious.

– Stainless steel is my favorite reusable material for back-to-school lunches. I like using single walled stainless steel systems for most days – I find it keeps food at just the right temperature. Ice packs, etc. normally aren’t required. To keep food hot however, double walled stainless steel is needed. All thermos systems I’ve seen that keep food hot, have a bit of plastic around the top. I tried out the Laptop Lunches system from Organically Hatched and like the size for when I pack soup or leftovers for the kids.

– With lunch bags I’m sticking with organic cotton. I wrote an article months ago about non-stick diaper bag liners and discovered some brands contain teflon. It’s really turned me off of lunch bags – no knowing what they are insulated with. I love the Graze bags…I used them all last year when sending kids with a hot lunch and needing somewhere to put a stainless steel utensil.

– I love tiffins. They are my #1 system because I’m very rushed in the morning and don’t have time to work within the set confines or spaces that other systems offer. They are air-tight, fun for the kids to use and we’ve never lost a piece because kids can’t close the system unless the containers, lid, and latch are ready to be secured. I’m also making more items from scratch for lunches so these foods tend to be larger in size and won’t fit into traditional systems. Also note that tiffin is the name for a style of system – it’s not the brand name. There are many different suppliers making tiffins, I can only vouch for and recommend the tiffins sold via Green Planet Parties.

– Encourage your school to only be using reusable products for food, snacks, and lunches. If you’ve been asked to provide plastic sandwich bags with your back-to-school supplies, supply a few cloth bags as an alternative.

Now here are some pictures!  First up, you know it’s going to be tiffins. Here are two pictures so you see how a full apple (or larger whole fruit) can go in the top container because the lid is domed. This picture also shows how you can easily partition a container to separate fruit, veggies, etc. – I use parchment paper.

This sized tiffin is recommended for preschool to all elementary school aged children for back-to-school. A light-weight system that gives plenty of options with three roomy containers.

The next most common question I get asked with back-to-school is how to transport hot food (soup, left-overs, stir-fry, etc.) with back-to-school. In order for food to stay hot you need to have a double walled system. I picked up a Laptop Lunches thermos from Organically Hatched and it’s very roomy, stainless steel, and will grow with your child because it’s not marked with commercialized characters. It’s great to have a lunch bag to accompany a thermos because normally you need a side container of fruit, cutlery, and a cloth napkin to include. I used my Graze organic cotton lunch bags for this all last year when bringing left over Shepard’s Pie for my kids or soup. I love knowing they can be composted when they are tattered and torn. Here is a picture of this system:

My last visual is for parents that love to pack multiple smaller, separate containers for back-to-school. You’ll definitely need a lunch bag to keep them all together. I know parents love the lunchbots. I’ve had them leak on me before, so I tend to gravitate to a container that has clips and a silicone ring; this usually means that it’s airtight. You can find lunchbots here and greentainers (with clips) here:


For tips on navigating through greener back-to-school shopping, check out these articles:

Limit Your Food Packaging: Make Your Own Granola Bars


Save Money & Green Back-to-School Supplies!

How To Bring Green & Healthy Values Back-to-School

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Graze Organic – Ditch Plastic Sandwich Bags Forever!

Oh I love this review. Another practical, but cute product was recently introduced to me and I’ve been testing them out for weeks with my kids.  Graze Organic is a new company from California that has put an original spin on reusable sandwich and snack bags.  They’ve created kid-friendly designs (that parents will love too) that are generous in size, made with a strong Velcro seal that should ensure food staying fresh.   My Graze Organic bags have saved me time, money, and gives me a great feeling since I’ve completely eliminated plastic wrap, plastic sandwich bags, and wax paper with getting snacks and lunch ready. These will be a staple with September quickly approaching with back-to-school lunch planning. The obvious use for the bags are for sandwiches but you can eliminate plastic bags and wrap if you start planning alternatives for cut veggies, fruit, and snacks.  The founders of Graze Organic have thought of everything with bags labeled ‘sandwich’, ‘fruit’, vegetables’, ‘snack’ and the favorite ‘surprise!’ My boys think the surprise bag is simply the best thing ever and always have high expectations when this bag is opened at lunch. Check out how fun these prints are! 

I laugh because I’m sure the founders of Graze Organic get asked on a regular basis ‘what are they lined with’?  Well folks ~ that is the point.  There is no lining because that would mean something synthetic is touching your child’s food. These bags are made from 100% organic cotton and they go a step further with printing the illustrations by hand with silk-screen using water based inks. Graze Organic has also found a way to produce their product line with a local footprint – proudly made in the USA.

This September, when your kids are going back-to-school, think about supporting and teaching them ‘litterless’ lunch habits, but also protect them from soft plastic wrap that contains PVC, plasticizers, and chemicals.  There is no longer any excuse to not reuse lunchtime containers. The co-founder Leslie, was lovely enough to walk me through the washing instructions so I can reiterate how easy caring for these bags really is. Only if the bags get really messy (jam sandwich, etc.) the bags should be turned inside out to machine wash. If there are only a few crumbs, just knock those out and machine or hand wash right-side out.  They can be thrown in with Jeans, towels, and other light weight fabrics.  Hey – even I can handle that and I appreciate another avenue to wash lunch time products since my dishwasher is always packed with stainless steel containers and water bottles. I also measured the bags before and after I washed them for the first time – almost no shrinkage which is awesome news for the roomy sandwich bags!

Also, thank you to Heather and Leslie for offering a set of 3 snack/sandwich bags for a back-to-school contest at Mommy Footprint.  They will ship the winner a set of 3 sandwich, veggie & snack or surprise bags. These reusable bags are a wonderful prize for any parent sourcing back-to-school lunch items.  Click on this link and complete the Referral Form to be entered to win. Contest closes August 28/09.

https://mommyfootprint.com/mommyfootprint-referral-form/

   

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