Shared on multitestingmommy.com in September 2010 here.
With the kids back to school, I thought that it would be helpful to share some lunch packing tips from Lisa Borden, a Mom and someone who truly cares about our environment. She has so many wonderful suggestions, so please read on for some excellent tips for lunch packing in the weeks to come.
Back to School Lunches Time
Whether you like it or not, that first day of school is approaching, as is the packing of school lunches! Get inspired…pack great lunches, but do so in record time, taking our health and our planet into consideration every bite of the way.
Follow these 6 shopping suggestions to help you navigate the aisles, build a great pantry and be a lunch trendsetter:
1. Buy in Bulk…or avoid all individually packaged items. Try a full size container of organic yogurt over conventional single servings. It’s only a myth that it’s easier and quicker to pack an individual granola bar over a handful of pretzels. It’s not only healthier, but you will be surprised when you add up the savings.
2. Buy Fresh…and organic and local if you can. It improves the nutritional quality of your food and tastes better also. Let your spouse and kids shop with you. (Many of you are probably rolling your eyes and are ready to dismiss everything written at this point, but stick with us). The real trick is to shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store…think about what you buy from the middle aisles (packaged foods, food wrap, chemicals).
3. Read your Labels…because a long list of ingredients often indicates the presence of questionable chemicals – MSG (yuck!) has so many ways of disguising its name, you would not believe the products it is found in. Take extra time to think about each item before you put it in your shopping cart even if you are in a rush to get to carpool or home to your couch. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you shouldn’t be using it, and certainly shouldn’t be ingesting it. If you spend the time, you will find a healthier option, with fewer ingredients for all of your favourites (if not, find a new store!).
4. Resist the Marketing…Virtually all foods marketed to children and adults alike are low in nutrients and high in calories, salt, saturated fat, and refined sugars. As parents, we don’t have Dora, Scooby-Doo, pop celebrities, sports stars, contests, prizes, surprises or the latest market research tools to help us persuade our kids to eat their fruits and vegetables. As shoppers, we are also programmed to look at what is not in our packaged food, over caring about what is in it. Trans fat free? Why was there trans fat in there to begin with? And, just because something has a green health seal on it, does not mean it’s certified healthy by anyone but the company making it.
5. Stop Making Garbage…This is even more important than recycling…why use in the first place? A waste-free lunch means you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done — nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels or cherry pits.
6. Find a Champion…or be one. Inspire your workplace to institute rules about take out. Ban the disposable coffee cups and bottles of water to start. Take action at your school to reform the food served and the way food is brought into schools or workplaces. A passionate, informed, persuasive and committed champion can be an effective cheerleader and major force in creating healthier and happier communities.
You are making an impact with your choices whether it’s negative or positive. Choose to make a positive impact and watch how others follow. (and your kids will love it…really, they will!)
A complete Guide to Packing Lunches by the Borden Communications Team is available for free download here.
Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. She is a dedicated workaholic, admitting that it takes a lot of time and effort to change the world, especially in her non-preachy, fun, engaging and inspiring ways. Lisa consults, writes, engages the media, runs private workshops, and enjoys speaking to large and small groups. Her full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc. is based in Toronto and takes great pride in being an ethical business providing exceptional ideas. You can sign up for Lisa’s rants and raves at www.bordencom.com or reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Lisa Borden 2010