Back-to-school is a crazy busy time for most families, whether it’s packing healthy school lunches every morning or frantically rushing home in the evening after everyone’s extracurricular activities to slap together a balanced meal. It can quickly become a daunting ritual that nobody looks forward to, especially for parents who work. And now there’s the added pressure of making everything as environmentally friendly as possible.
The good news is that numerous eco-friendly and zero-waste products on the market today actually make it easier to live a greener lifestyle while feeding your family. Here are some of our favorites:
Simplify the school lunch frenzy:
Zojirushi Mr. Bento and Ms. Bento stainless insulated lunch jars.
Although Zojirushi products are a bit pricier, these insulated bento lunch jars make it easy to pack leftovers and nutritious whole foods from the fridge, eliminating the need for either disposable, plastic sandwich bags or prepackaged snacks and meals. Children love the compartments and Zojirushi makes it easy for them to keep together.
The outer containers are made of durable stainless-steel construction and vacuum insulation to keep food both hot AND cold for at least 6 hours, helping to eliminate food safety issues. Both jars contain microwaveable inner bowls, eating utensils and easy-carry bags for schlepping over the shoulder or clipping onto a backpack with a c-clip. Mr. Bento includes four bowls and a forked spoon. Ms. Bento contains two bowls and a pair of chopsticks.
Stasher reusable storage and sandwich bags.
Airtight, silicone Stasher bags come in numerous sizes and can be used to hold school lunch sandwiches or to store leftovers in the refrigerator. They are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe and can even be used for sous vide cooking.
Hydaway collapsible water bottle.
This light weight, wide-mouth bottle holds 18 fl. oz. The empty bottle collapses and fits easily into a pocket; or, attach a carabiner clip to hang the Hydaway bottle from a tote or school bag. Dishwasher safe. Made of food grade silicone and BPA-free plastic.
Bring back TV dinners!
These trays make it easy to have prepared, nutritious, meals for the entire family already waiting at home:
Stoneware TV dinner trays.
These TV trays are made with a food-safe glaze and are both oven and dishwasher safe. Unlike stainless or aluminum trays, they are also microwave safe.
Sometimes disposable is the only option:
VeraTerra palm leaf plates and bowls from fallen palm leaves.
Veraterra is biodegradable and compostable; and, microwave, oven, and refrigerator safe.
Wasara designer white tableware.
Wasara is elegant enough for formal entertaining. It’s made from bagasse and bamboo pulp and is fully compostable
KNORK Eco Astrik cutlery.
KNORK Eco is made from bamboo fibers and sugar cane starch (PLA). It is dishwasher safe for up to 400 washes, biodegradable and 100% compostable.
Summer always seems to go by in a blink, but a few uncomplicated strategies for adding zero-waste products to your life will make back-to-school mealtimes a lot simpler, a little bit greener; and is guaranteed to make you and your children feel good while you do it.