I pack a lunch almost every day. And I’m a “green” geek. So I don’t use any disposals or plastics in the making of that lunch. It has taken years of trial and error to find gear that works every day, never spills, and doesn’t slow me down too much. I’ve got it right, now. So I thought I’d share. So here is my recipe for packing a lunch that I enjoy making and eating without burdening the landfill with waste or destroying my health with plastics.
Hadaki sent me one of these adorable, insulated lunch bags to try out and it has been in constant use since it arrived. It’s pretty, easy to clean, and big enough to hold my Lunch Bots (below), a napkin, and a bit more. But it’s small enough to fit in the bag I use to schlep everything to my office. Though I often just carry it with the little handles because it’s so cute. Best part? It comes in lots of colors and fabrics so I can get one for my daughter, too, without creating lunch-making confusion. For that matter, I wonder if I should get myself a backup lunch pod in another pattern? Tempting….
My husband and I both pack a lunch in the morning. And when the kids are in school, all four of us stand bleary-eyed around the kitchen table jamming food into portable vessels. So we are complete dorks when it comes to food containers. We have tried everything on the market – whether intended for lunch or not. But since I got myself a set of these Lunch Bots Clicks (in medium) my husband has been eyeing them jealously and giving me sad puppy eyes and whimpering during the morning lunch-making ritual. He’s jealous because these are the best. They fit in my Hadaki Lunch Pod perfectly, hold exactly the right amount of food – a big salad in one and a small sandwich or some fruit in the other — are light to carry, and go in the dishwasher at the end of the day. Oh, I suppose I’ll have to get him his own set – either that or guard mine with my life.
There are a lot of bottle options out there. But these insulated, wide mouth bottles from Kleen Kanteen are the only ones I need. A cup of coffee poured at 7am is still hot for an afternoon pick-me-up. I fill one with ice in the morning and keep adding water to it all day. I still have ice water for the drive home. These save me from using bottles and from wasting ice – and getting my desk wet with ice water sweat. I’m ordering a 20 oz one right now for bringing chilled white wine to the beach and in the kayak. But if you hike with red wine, you might like the dedicated wine carafe. So cute! How did I get by for so long without one of those?
Okay, first off, let me admit up front that I’m the sort of green geek who doesn’t use paper towels. They add tons to the landfill, are expensive, and kill trees. It’s just not that difficult to use rags – I like old towels and microfiber — to clean the kitchen and bath. I can toss those in the laundry and use them over and over for years. But paper is so convenient when packing a lunch that I had to try out this bamboo (no tree killing; bamboo grows super fast) alternative. It’s not quite a cloth napkin, which is what I have been bringing. But it’s not as wasteful as a paper towel either because you can wash it a few (actually about 25) times before you toss it. They get more absorbent when you wash them. But even right off the roll, they work better than paper and feel good to the touch. And the paper towel roll dispenser was the very thing to get my kids and husband to stop using paper.
I drink a lot of water. It’s great for the skin and for keeping the calorie consumption down. My kids drink a lot of water, too. We don’t do this because we always remember our health goals even when our taste buds are screaming for fun. We do it because we make our water taste fantastic so it’s our absolute favorite beverage. And one of my favorite ways to do this is to add a little bit of just about any of the flavors they sell at TrueLemon.com. This stuff is awesome! It’s cold-pressed crystalized citrus. ($4.95 for 32 packets.) Great flavor; no calories. It comes in little packets you can throw in your purse (or Hadaki Lunch Pod as I do) or in shaker bottles to keep in the kitchen. Add a little of the powder to your water, stir, and enjoy. Who needs fake sweeteners or useless calories?
If you are shopping for back to school, you pick up all of these items at Amazon.com)