Maybe you’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of packaging and plastic in your lunches. Maybe you want to be more environmentally friendly, but aren’t sure how to get started. Maybe your budget is quite lean and you’re feeling like you can’t make any changes because you simply can’t afford it.
Did you know that the average North American elementary school student throws away their body weight in lunch waste packaging every school year? And that by packing a litterless lunch you produce 89% less waste and reduce CO2 omissions by 20kg in a month? A few Canadian school boards have even done studies that have shown litterless lunches to cost $2.75 less than the average lunch, saving families $550/yr per child.
I am here to tell you there is literally NO wrong way to bento. There is no way to fork it up. Maybe your bentos will look different than mine and that is totally okay. Maybe you’re ready to only make one small change right now. That’s okay too. All of us doing a perfect thing imperfectly makes a big difference. If it means a few less cheese string wrappers or sandwich baggies, awesome. I believe anything to reduce our reliance on single use wrappings and plastics is beneficial. So, I am going to share with you the easiest way to get started. You only need 4 things!
- A bento box (not sure which one is best? See my review on the top 10 on the Canadian Market here)
- A reusable water bottle – my favourite for myself and the girls is the Hydro Flask for ease of cleaning, and keeping cold water COLD for up to 24 hours.
- A reusable snack bag – my needs in a reusable bag are zippered tops (so kids can open outside at recess in Canadian winters with mittens on), and machine washable. There are fabric ones (lined and unlined), and silicone ones (dishwasher safe).
- Silicone muffin liners (here are my faves) *affiliate link
4 things. A bento box to pack your food into. A reusable water bottle to cut down on the single use ones. A reuseable snack bag. And silicone muffin liners to divide up your bento and portion items out. ALL can be washed and reused hundreds of times – preventing the litter that lunches outside the home creates. If you have the means, purchasing bulk snacks from Costco or Bulk Barn or even Dollarama and portioning out into your reusable bag saves money and is much more environmentally friendly.
I bento because it’s easier, because it encourages my girls to expand their palates and eat healthier, but also because I believe we have a duty to teach our kids the importance of sustainability and instill some “eco-intelligence” – how the choices we make today will affect us and many others for all the years to come in our lifetimes. Bento Boxing is great for kids and adults alike. It helps picky eaters see all their food laid out in front of them (and with liners or dividers, never touching), it is excellent for portion control, and it is much more eco-conscious than traditional packed lunches. It never has to be fancy or expensive. Want to add in fun picks or little forks or love notes? Wicked. But it is never necessary xo.
Need help choosing or deciding what you need? Leave me a comment, I’d love to try to help you!