If you have a full-time job, starting a sustainable lifestyle can be challenging. But making a zero waste packed lunch doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Whether you’d like to pack a zero waste lunch for your kids or yourself, we’re here to help you!
Although purchasing plastic-wrapped sandwiches and snacks can be convenient, you’ve probably realised how wasteful lunchtime can be. Fortunately, there are some easy tips to prepare a plastic-free packed lunch.
In this article, you will discover how to make a zero waste packed lunch, the best tools to use, and some fantastic waste-free lunch ideas!
What Can You Do to Create a Zero Waste Packed Lunch?
Individually wrapped foods might be convenient for those busy mornings, but they’re also super wasteful. The good news is that making a plastic-free packed lunch is totally doable as well, you just need to learn a few tricks.
So, how do you pack a lunch without plastic and reduce your waste? Here are some things you can do to create a zero waste packed lunch:
- Create a Weekly Menu
Before going grocery shopping, plan a weekly menu and don’t forget to choose meals that would be easy and quick to prepare!
- Go Grocery Shopping
Now that you know what meals you will prepare for your zero waste packed lunch, write a shopping list. Then, stick to your list when going grocery shopping. This is a fantastic way to avoid buying unhealthy pre-packaged stuff!
- Prepare Your Food on a Sunday Night
If you don’t want to be in a rush every morning, the best thing you can do is preparing your food in advance. You can prepare your food on a Sunday night or even the night before, choose what works best for you!
- Label You Kids’ Reusable Lunch Supplies
When preparing your kids’ plastic-free packed lunch, make sure to label their reusable tools. Until your kids get used to the new reusable lunch tools, don’t forget to label them.
- Bring Home Food Scraps for Compost
If you want to go the extra mile with your zero waste packed lunch, bring home your food scraps for compost. You could also teach your kids to keep food scraps in their lunch boxes.
4 Essential Zero Waste Packed Lunch Tools
Choosing the right lunch tools is one of the most important parts of preparing your zero waste packed lunch. You should prefer durable, reusable, and plastic-free lunch supplies to avoid disposable ones. Here’s a list of essential reusable supplies for your zero waste packed lunch:
- Reusable Cutlery
If you use plastic utensils every day at work, it’s time to stop. As these disposable plastics are too small and lightweight, they won’t get recycled.
Fortunately, there are plastic-free alternatives for your zero waste packed lunch. You can use bamboo utensils or wooden cutlery for school lunches or bring them with you to work. And the best part is that they won’t impart any flavour to your food!
- Reusable Lunch Box
A reusable lunch box is another wonderful tool for your plastic-free packed lunch. Unlike plastic containers, a stainless steel lunch box won’t leak harmful chemicals into your food. If you care about your health and the environment, this reusable lunch tool is a must-have.
Plus, a stainless steel lunch box will keep your food fresh all day long! So, you won’t need to rely on a microwave to heat your food.
- Reusable Water Bottle
Another wonderful option for your zero waste packed lunch is a reusable water bottle. If you don’t have one yet, what are you waiting for?
One reusable water bottle could replace tons of plastic water bottles throughout its lifetime. Not only are reusable water bottles eco-friendly but also cost-effective and durable. Unlike plastic water bottles, they’re a healthy option because you won’t expose to harmful toxins.
- Reusable Food Wraps
Wondering how to wrap a sandwich without plastic cling film or aluminium foil? You could use vegan food wraps or beeswax reusable wraps. These plastic-free alternatives are a fantastic option to wrap your sandwiches, burritos, and even some snacks!
Besides, their fun patterns will give a nice touch to your zero waste packed lunch and your kids’ packed lunch. Also, they can last up to a year with proper care, so you can reuse them over and over again!
Ultimate Waste-free Lunch Ideas
The best part about creating a zero waste packed lunch is that you and your family will eat healthy while reducing waste. What’s more, you could save money in the long run as well. But remember that meal prepping is essential to create a plastic-free packed lunch. So, here are some useful tips:
- Buy Plastic-free Snacks
Look for plastic-free snacks in the bulk section of your grocery shop, like dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, pretzels, and more.
- Prep Fruits and Veggies for the Week
Peel some veggies or fruits and cut them into pieces a few days in advance. With this, they will be ready to use when needed. For example: carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, and so on.
- Use Leftovers or Do Some Batch Cooking
Another time-saving idea is using leftovers or preparing large portions of food at once, like pasta, salads, rice, and more. With this zero waste packed lunch idea, you won’t need to cook a whole meal from scratch every day.
Best Foods to Make a Zero Waste Packed Lunch
Here’s a list of foods that are easy to prepare and a wonderful option for your plastic-free packed lunch, You’ll find loads of vegan recipes here.
- Pasta with pesto in a reusable pot
- Pasta salad with chopped vegetables
- Smashed chickpea and artichoke sandwich
- Roasted vegetable salad
- Spicy cucumber salad
- Thai summer rolls
- Cheese sticks
- Homemade muffins
- Homemade cookies
Although a zero waste packed lunch sounds like it takes a lot of effort and time, it’s possible if you put these tips into practice. Remember to choose foods that are easy and quick to prepare.