Back-to-School: Waste-Free Lunch Box Ideas.
Filling your kids tummies without trashing the planet is a task—as is keeping snacks fun and ideally using up the last of the leftovers. Recess, lunch, and after school snacks that are quick, easy, and low in sugar and saturated fats take a little planning, but will have a big impact on your families health, and the health of the planet.
Here are ten back-to-school snack ideas that you can try:
Raspberry Coconut Balls.
Mix a cup of frozen raspberries, rolled oats, desiccated coconut, two tablespoons of maple syrup, a tablespoon of coconut oil in a food processor or blender, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Once mixture thickens, roll portions in desiccated coconut or cacao nibs to coat. This healthy snack can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge and can be frozen for up to three months.
Waste Free Tips:
- Choose wild, in season raspberries from your local organic delivery service, and interchange with any other berries that are in season.
- Choose organic whole rolled oats from your local bulk food store. Use a cloth produce bag to carry. Transfer to a glass jar at home to keep fresh.
- Organic maple syrup and coconut oil can be purchased in glass jars and refilled at your local bulk food store.
- Use glass storage containers and reused jars for storage in the fridge and freezer.
Simple Chicken Caesar Salad.
For a savoury and nourishing back-to-school lunch, purchase a whole chicken from your local butcher, bake following your favourite recipe and remove from the bone. Mix shredded chicken with halved cherry tomatoes, shredded spinach, home-made croutons, your favourite ranch dressing or mayonnaise.
Waste Free Tips:
- Use the chicken carcass to create a stock or chicken bone broth
- Grow your own. Tomatoes and spinach can be grown at home, even in small spaces and pots.
- Store for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- Store veggies in Pelli stainless steel lunch boxes to keep fresh for school.
- Use slightly stale bread for your croutons.
Hummus, Tzatziki, or Avocado Dip & Crackers.
A simple way to get the superfoods to your snacks is by adding them in a fun dip. Home-made Hummus is easy to make and is high in brain building nutrients and energy. While avocado with some brown bits makes a perfect avocado dip, you may also add some lemon to get an extra day out of this potassium rich snack. Serve with slices of capsicum, cucumber, baby carrots, and some corn chips, veggie chips, or crackers.
- Purchase chickpeas from your bulk food store or save time with recyclable canned chickpeas
- Tahini can be purchased in a reusable glass jar or fill up at your bulk food store.
- Turn your avocado stone into a tree by soaking the pointy end in water and allow it to germinate. Compost the skin of the avocado.
- Make your own veggie chips from beetroot, sweet potato, kale, and potato.
Friday After-School Fruit Smoothie.
Skip soda or sugar-rich juices and replace it with a protein and mineral rich smoothie. Use all the leftover fruits—Banana, mango, berries all make a great flavour base. Add 1/4 cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt, a handful of raw cashews, half a cup of ice and a splash of your favourite milk in a blender or thermomix until smooth.
Serve in the Pelli ‘Daily Grind’ Tumbler and add the bamboo straw to make it feel more like a treat, without the pesky plastic such as those store bought drinks.
- Freeze the bananas and add a natural sweetener for smoothies, and store in the freezer until you need it.
- Use reusable ice cream moulds to turn leftover smoothie mixture into fun flavour-filled ice creams for the next day.
Melt the high quality dark chocolate of your choice in a bowl in the microwave or over a steaming pot. Dip the whole strawberries into the melted mixture. Roll in desiccated coconut or chopped peanuts if you wish.
Savoury sushi balls loaded with veggies are the perfect lunch box filler, loaded with protein and energy. Cook the sushi rice based on the packet instructions and set aside. Boil some frozen peas and corn for 2 minutes. You can also use any leftover vegetable, chicken, or meat from last night’s dinner. Mix these with rice, set aside to cool. You may now roll them into balls and freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Serve with soy sauce or gluten free tamari and send to school in the stainless steel bento box and bamboo chopsticks from the Pelli 6-Piece Cutlery Set.
- Purchase rice dry from your bulk food store, and choose brown rice for extra fibre and nutrition
- Soy sauce can be purchased in a reusable glass bottle or fill up at your bulk food store.
- Use whatever veggies you have leftover in the fridge.
- Make a big batch and store in the freezer. Place into lunch boxes frozen, and they will be thawed in time for lunch to keep extra fresh.
- Keep small jars for transporting sauces to and from school without the spillages.
Pack in the fruit without the plastic packaging. One of the healthiest and easiest back-to-school snacks around, simply thread the fruit you have onto bamboo skewers (ensure you chop off the sharp point once finished.) Perfect for older kids, kiwi fruit, melon, orange, strawberries, grapes, and pineapples make fun and colourful fruit sticks.
- Use whatever fruit you have to avoid food wastage.
- Serve in a stainless steel leak-free bento box.
- Turn pips and seeds into a fun planting project for the kids.
- Turn peels and cures into useful compost.
If your kids are on the sweet side, these are perfect. Mix a cup of natural Greek yogurt together with a dessert spoon of honey. Add a handful of berries and a dessert spoon of chopped nuts. Ask your little helper to put spoonfuls into a silicone mold and freeze for 2 hours or until solid.
- Find a local beekeeper for raw, natural honey that can also provide natural defence to local allergens