6 Sustainable Ways to Pack Your Lunch Box - Back to School

Every year thousands of students and their parents run to the store to update the school kit, however, there is an aspect often overlooked:  the impact of our lunch choices on the environment. Just in 2020, the number of high schoolers in UAE was 318.449, imagine if every one of them used at least one disposable object (cutlery, packaging, water bottle, etc.), it is already a huge amount of waste.

Don’t worry, we have got you covered! In this article, we are going to help you become a sustainable lunchbox master. By following these tips and tricks your to-go meals won’t be a problem for the environment anymore.

6 Easy tips for a zero-waste school lunch:

Find a good quality, reusable lunch box

Invest in a good quality and long-lasting lunch box to minimize waste and maintain food freshness. Look for recycled alternatives, focusing on simplicity and durability, particularly for kids. Choose appropriate-sized eco-friendly lunchboxes made with materials like stainless steel or bamboo for full meals, and reusable snack bags or beeswax wraps for sandwiches. Consider buying an insulated lunchbox to keep your food warm for longer.

Furthermore, cut down waste with stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free plastic containers. By avoiding disposable plastics, you'll help reduce landfill and ocean pollution. Finally, if you want a super stylish school lunch consider trying the traditional Japanese Bento Box a super kawaii and convenient oriental lunch box!

Pro tip: If the lunch does not fit in the backpack consider using a reusable cloth bag to transport it or invest in a durable insulating bag, it will keep your meal fresh all day long.

Ditch the single-use plastic utensils

While creating a sustainable lunch box, eliminate disposable cutlery. We know that it might sound easier to use those, but they will pollute the environment and waste your money.  Investing in good quality reusable utensils, made of materials such as stainless steel or bamboo, provides durability and practicality; it is very easy, you can simply use your everyday cutlery from home wrapped in a tissue. This kind of tableware is lightweight, portable, and fast to clean, providing you with the cheapest and most environmentally friendly dining option.

Pro tip: Instead of using a paper napkin, use a fabric one. You can use it for more meals, based on how dirty it is, then simply throw it in the washing machine. Then, voilà your tissue is ready for your next lunch with a minimum impact on the planet!

Bring a reusable water bottle

One of the essentials of a good zero-waste school lunch is a reusable water bottle. Throwing away single-use bottles might sound convenient, however, they greatly contribute to plastic pollution and resource depletion. By using reusable alternatives, such as stainless steel or glass, you will decrease your waste and carbon footprint. This solution complies with sustainability ideals, but it also saves you money in the long run and promotes responsible consumption. Furthermore, most modern reusable water bottles keep the temperature of your drinks (hot, warm, and cold) constant for long hours. Water, tea, or lemonade, you can use it for your favorite drink. Consider providing your children with a brightly colored one, to express their personality and encourage them to use always use it. Moreover, they come in different sizes, you just need to find the right one for your backpack. This is the perfect sustainable option for school and after school.

Meal prep and portion

Did you know that 38% of food prepared daily in the UAE is wasted? To prevent these phenomena and save some we suggest you meal prepping.

We know that packing an appropriate portion might be difficult, but we encourage you to talk with your child about it. Discuss how much and what sorts of things they like to eat- you want to make sure that chickpea salad sandwich gets finished and not in the school bin! Once you've determined the right amounts and their favorite lunch items, you can create a grocery list based on those and create a meal plan for the week. This will prevent your kind from throwing away what usually would not get eaten. Meal prep, when mastered, can be a useful resource to save you time during the week. Consider preparing the base for your lunch boxes in bulk once during the weekend, this will make the packing process easier and you will avoid wasting food. Finally, use your leftovers to create delicious and sustainable school lunches, this will educate your child to value food and not throw it away.

Pro tip: If you are in a rush, and you didn’t manage to prepare your kids' lunch we are here to help you. Download Qa'lil the first food rescue platform in UAE! Choose your WINBox in a range of 30 km from your location, and select the PickUp or Delivery option. Finally, provide your children with a delicious, cheap and eco-friendly meal. In addition, if you want to know more about sustainable living, sustainable meal-planning and fantastic save-leftover recipes follow us on social media (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn).

Buy locally and seasonally

Choosing local and seasonal foods for your sustainable lunch box offers several advantages. Local products are fresher, which reduces carbon emissions from transit while also helping local farmers. Seasonal selections correspond to natural development cycles, reducing the need for energy-intensive practices such as greenhouse heating. Buying from your local market benefits the local economy and promotes nearby farms and businesses. Moreover, by using local and seasonal foods, you can educate your kids about tastier and traditional cuisine while also helping the environment and community.

Pro tip: As a snack provide your kids with some locally sourced fresh fruit. It is healthy and it does not require any specific packaging, since it naturally comes with the peel.

Shop for organic

If your wallet allows it prefers to buy organic food. This will reduce your and your children's exposure to the number of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers dumped into our environment. These substances are not ideal for our health and they destroy biodiversity.

To find good quality and cheaper food we suggest to visit regularly your local farmer's market. Not only you will buy healthier food, but you will support your community as well.

Organizing an eco-friendly lunch box is very easy. Look for reusable alternatives: the containers in your cabinet and the cutlery in your drawers might not be very stylish, but they are very simple sustainable solutions. If you can try to buy local and fresh food, to reduce your carbon footprint and prepare healthier meals. By following those simple hacks we can work together to educate new generations to create a greener and safer future for us and the planet.