I’ve gotten through the first year of packing school lunches and am ready for Grade 2! As I went through the year, I discovered things that did and didn’t work so well. Little hands are not the same as big hands, and my daughter definitely has different tastes than me. I’ve learned that light and easy to open containers are much more likely to be opened and the contents consumed with nothing lost! (After a few days of yogurt coming back in a thermos uneaten…)
These are my litterless lunch must haves for back to school!
I love that Dalcini containers come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and you can even nest them in each other to make a bento. My daughter loves being able to put crackers in a smaller rectangular container and then put that into the larger square container for her cheese.
U-Konserve stainless steel containers
I love that these are stainless steel and silicone so there’s no plastic involved. I have now switched our family over to using glass or stainless steel for all food storage, because even BPA-free plastics can still be leaching toxins into your food (here’s my infographic on decoding plastic codes), especially if you are re-heating it in the container.
U-Konserve Bounce Box (silicone)
I love that these are completely plastic-free and extremely lightweight. They are also super easy for little hands to open! Perfect sizes for different snacks!
If you’re bringing a lunch that you can heat up in a microwave, glass is the way to go. (PLEASE don’t heat up plastic – I promise you don’t want that leaching into your food!!) I love the glass and bamboo combos with silicone sealing. Very aesthetically pleasing and functional! Life Without Plastic has ones with 2 compartments, or just a single container.
This is a great stainless steel container to keep hot food hot – because schools never have enough microwaves for kids to use. Especially great for winter when my daughter really wants to have a hot lunch!
I love my Life Without Plastic stainless steel thermos because it is completely plastic free and works SO WELL. Perfect for keeping food super hot or super cold for lunch when you don’t have access to a fridge or microwave!
If you are like me and use mason jars for all kinds of food storage and lunches, then you’ll appreciate these stainless steel lids from Life Without Plastic. They come with a silicone ring to help with making them leak proof. Easy to turn your existing jars into easy food storage!
I love how versatile these snack bags are! I use them for packing all kinds of stuff, not just snacks. They’re also great for putting cutlery in, or items you are concerned might leak.
If you need something that’s closer to a zip-top bag to keep your food in an airtight bag, then Stasher silicone bags are your friend! Super lightweight and easy to open, and they come in a variety of sizes and colours.
CUTLERY & ICE PACKS
This cutlery set is perfect for carrying in your bag or lunchbag! Because the cutlery is bamboo, it’s very lightweight. I love that case is made from recycled plastic too.
You might also consider this stainless steel foldable spork from Life Without Plastic that comes in an organic cotton pouch – a very small and compact option!
Since there’s no refrigerator for kids lunches at school, these ice packs have been really handy for keeping things cold.
The Melii Popit ice pack is another great plastic-free alternative with some fun pop it fidget features!
If you or your child prefers to drink with a straw, these are great! We have 2 of these that we rotate through, and they’ve really stood up to daily use and abuse. The silicone straw really works well so that it doesn’t leak. It was great for when my daughter wasn’t quite ready for a water bottle with a twist off cap, so these have really worked well.
If your child is ready for a twist off water bottle, the S’ip by S’well ones are great because they are smaller and the lid is attached so they won’t get lost!
I don’t send juice to school every day, but there are times that I want to – and as much as possible I want to avoid single use juiceboxes (especially those darn plastic straws that cause so much plastic pollution because they’re not recycled). So even though I try not to use plastic with food and drink storage, I did get this reusable drink box and make sure that I don’t put it in the dishwasher. It has held up to be leakproof so far, and I typically pack it in one of our zippered snack bags with a cold pack to keep the juice cold. I have also used it for smoothies with lots of success!
This is the only insulated lunch bag I know of that contains ZERO PLASTIC! It is made with organic cotton and uses upcycled wool for insulation. Read more about this innovative product here!
These lunch bags are made with organic cotton, and a lining made with recycled water bottles. They are machine washable and even have an interior pocket for a water bottle or ice pack.
Life Without Plastic has kits available for lunch! Bonus – these ones are on sale because they come without packaging!
Of course, a litterless lunch would not be complete without some labels on the containers and bags! It’s definitely an investment to get some of these supplies, so I put Mabel’s Labels on everything – and so far nothing has gone missing! Hallelujah!
What are your litterless lunch must haves for Back to School?
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