In the spirit of the environmental campaign “Clean Up the World” held every year on the third weekend of September, our team member Vanessa decided to test out only environmentally friendly products for our back-to-school lunch series! To help her discover the best eco-friendly brands for litter-less lunches, she consulted with the sales associates of Fenigo. The company started as an online business, so if you aren’t in the Waterloo or Toronto area to visit a store, the website is very comprehensive and easy to use. Enjoy reading her review and happy eco-friendly shopping!
This month we’ve been sharing tips for creating healthy and delicious lunches. Now that you have thought up some delicious meal ideas, we want to suggest some great gear to make it easy to bring your lunch with you.
We’ve created a list of three main areas to focus on when making more environmentally conscious decisions. There are many incredible eco-friendly brands and products out there; below are simply some we’ve tried and loved!
Meals and Snacks To-Go
Reusable Snack Bags
Plastic sandwich bags are very convenient. Unfortunately, they contribute greatly to the waste sent to landfills and are quite expensive if you think about it in the long run. Good thing there are many sustainable alternatives!
The perfect alternative to the plastic sandwich bag. Most are machine washable or can easily be wiped clean. As with plastic bags, they fit easily into lunch bags or purses for convenient snacking! The brand Colibri has a ton of fun patterns and colours of BPA free, machine washable snack and sandwich bags. Plus, they’re made in Canada!
The best option for warming up your leftovers in a microwave however, they can be quite heavy. Wean Green offers freezer safe, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe tempered glass that can withstand drops as well as being spill proof. Wow!
Stainless Steel Containers
Food grade stainless steel that do not leach toxins or metal flavours. Light weight and dishwasher safe, but as with any metal, they’re not microwave safe. Lunchbots: Bento Boxes are fun options for packing a variety of foods. Best for dry foods as the containers are not spill proof, although Lunchbots also offers a leak proof, non-bento style version.
BPA-Free Plastic Containers
Lightweight BPA-, lead-, leach-, and phthalate-free ,which are technically microwave and dishwasher safe, but to be on the safe side I would stick with glass for frequent re-heating. Aladdin Collapsible Containers are the solution for people who complain that containers take up too much space. Also try Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid Containers for optimal organization. The lids snap to each other as well as to the bottom of the container! They are freezer-safe and BPA-free.
Disposable plastic water bottles are another large contributor to waste in Canada and are also not BPA-free. Plus, Canadian tap water has beneficial minerals and using your own bottle gives you the flexibility to add a lemon wedge, frozen berries, mint, or anything else to spruce up your water! There are many options for safe, sustainable alternatives for all types of drinks from water to coffee, or smoothies.
Kleen Kanteen uses BPA- and other toxin-free, food grade stainless steel to make their products. They are easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. Various lids are available for each style, accommodating all of your different activities.
Nalgene makes BPA- and other toxin-free bottles that are easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. Various sizes and designs available to make sure you’re hydrated wherever you go.
Mason Jars are BPA- and other toxin-free, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. They are extremely versatile, with various sizes and different adaptable lids that can accommodate straws. Perfect for smoothies! Jars are an inexpensive option and have a variety of other uses. Remember last week’s post about Mason jar lunch recipes?
Food Safety To-Go
Getting the temperature of your food just right is key for enjoyment, but also for safety. We listed microwave-safe options, but what about food you want to eat cold or the safety of the foods you will microwave at lunchtime?
Gel-Liner Lunch Bag
There are tons of insulated lunch bags out there, but I haven’t seen one quite like this. Simply store the bag in the freezer and it will be ready to keep your lunch cool for up to 10 hours! Pack It Freezable Personal Cooler Lunch Bags use a PVC/lead-free, built-in eco-gel. They also have a larger cooler-sized bag for picnics!
Sweat-Free Cold Packs
If you’re using a lightly insulated lunch bag, you will need an ice pack to keep your food safe. Try one with a sweat-proof cover so the inside of your bag stays dry. U-Konserve Ice Pack & Sweat-Free Cover use a non-toxic gel with a cover made from recycled plastic bottles. The cover is machine washable. BPA-, PVC-, phthalate-, and lead-free.
We hope we’ve inspired a little green motivation for your lunch routine!
Much love & good eating,
Stephanie and the Team