You might think that making a meal for your kids that’s sustainable, healthy, and delicious is about as likely as finding a law firm that delivers results. However, we’d like to happily disagree, as it’s surprisingly easy to craft a meal that nourishes growing bodies while putting satisfied smiles on little faces–and all while staying kind to the Earth.
If you’re new to the sustainable lifestyle, choosing the right foods and beverages can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here today to give you some tips on creating a nutritious and eco-conscious lunch for your child.
Let them be a little picky
Moms everywhere agonize about getting their kids the daily nutrients they need to keep growing big and strong. On the one hand, you want to instill healthy, sustainable habits in your children from an early age. On the other hand, sugar. Lots and lots of sugar everywhere. How do you reconcile this age-old dilemma? One way is by taking your kids shopping with you and letting them make their own food choices.
Of course, where you take them matters, too. A convenience store won’t have a fraction of the nutritional value you’ll find at a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets provide local, pesticide-free produce, and can also be exciting places to visit in their own right. If you’re looking to educate your children on sustainability while giving them the freedom to make healthy choices of their own, you can’t go wrong shopping at a farmers market.
WIY: Wrap it yourself
If you’re a younger mom, you more than likely remember your school lunch days that were plentiful with individually-packaged snacks. As fun and accessible as these treats were, they offered little nutrition and sustainability. Skipping the packaged foods cuts down on plastic consumption, but you’ll also get the opportunity to create your fun snacks loaded with the vitamins and minerals your kids need to keep moving. Interestingly, the popularity of individually-packaged foods is a vestige of a wartime era when food had to be rationed. However, you can kick these old habits by packing much healthier meals for your kids in reusable wrappers and bags.
Skip the meat and dairy
Animal products tend to have a more significant effect on the environment than their plant-based counterparts. If your kids are carnivores, though, opt for one meatless day of the week (Meatless Mondays, perhaps?). Even by choosing to go meatless for only one day of the week, you can teach your children the importance of doing their part to help their environment. Vegan standbys for kids include hummus wraps, veggie dip packs, and the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
It’s surprisingly easy to make your children’s lunches both more sustainable and delicious at the same time. By letting your children make their lunchtime choices, you can teach them valuable lessons about caring for your body and the world around you. If that doesn’t make lunchtime a win-win, we don’t know what does. Happy lunch packing!