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Master the art of waste-free lunches with The Lunchbox Queen

What frustrates you more? Relying on single-use plastic to conveniently feed your kids, discovering a picked-over lunchbox returning home from school every day or your horrendous supermarket bill? These all involve unnecessary waste – but Lunchbox Queen MEL MOSS has some ideas to reduce what you’re throwing away.  

How can you be a little more ‘waste-free’ when it comes to lunchtime? Let’s break it down into three easy ideas:

  1. How can I ditch plastic and other products that add to landfill?
  2. How can I make sure food is being eaten and not thrown in the bin?
  3. How can I cut back on unnecessary expenses at the supermarket?

Time to ditch single-use plastics

It’s 2023 and single-use plastic is so last decade! Gone are the days when everything is wrapped in plastic and thrown in a school bag. Here are our top tips to be a little more conscious when it comes to lunches and their contribution to landfill.  

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  1. Get yourself a bento-style lunchbox, as you can pop different foods in the little compartments without the need for any packaging. 
  2. Invest in products that make packaged foods and plastic wrap redundant. Like silicone pouches, reusable snack bags, and silicone wrap bands
  3. Start small by replacing on-the-go throwaways with your own reusable versions. A drink bottle is an obvious one, but have you thought about reusable smoothie, coffee, and fluffy cups?
  4. If it all feels too overwhelming, then sign up for Plastic Free July and prepare to tackle a month-long challenge with a group of like-minded folk.

Make food that wants to be eaten

We never force ourselves to eat something we don’t like, so why should we expect our kids to be any different? Put yourself in their shoes when it comes to lunches and try these life hacks to ensure food doesn’t go to waste.

  1. Meal plan with your kids for their week ahead of lunchboxes. Use this handy lunchbox planner and let them do most of the thinking.
  2. Sprinkle some magic over your lunchbox to create excitement for your kids. Whether it’s using sandwich cutters, food picks, or going all out with themed lunches. 
  3. Remember kids go through phases! Make and bake things that can be frozen because it’s likely that next week they won’t “like zucchini slice anymore”. 
  4. Fruit coming home untouched? Don’t throw it out – chuck it in the freezer and use it for smoothies at a later date. 

Become a savvy shopper

There’s no denying how scary the supermarket shop has become – I don’t think we ever imagined paying $10 for a dozen eggs. But there are a few things you can do to gain back control and save a few extra dollars. 

  1. Steer away from individually packaged foods and buy bulk.
    Is your little one a fan of yoghurt pouches? These average $2.15 per 100 grams vs. $0.68 per 100 grams if you opt for a 1kg tub of yoghurt. 
  2. Homemade snacks will always trump store-bought snacks.
    A snack bag of popcorn = $2.30 per 100 grams vs. Popping corn kernels = $0.66 per 100 grams. 
  3. Plan to make a little bit of extra dinner, so your leftovers can be turned into lunchbox delicacies. Leftover mince? Make mince pinwheels. Leftover macaroni? Make mac & cheese bites. 

You can (and should) bento too

Have you ever analysed how much you spend each week on lunches? A mediocre sandwich and 3pm hunger snacks can easily add up to $20 a day. Why not fuel your work day with a delicious and nutritious, homemade lunch? Spoil yourself by getting an adult-friendly bento lunchbox. Not only will you make your colleagues jealous but you’ll find yourself getting kicks out of making your lunch each day!

The Lunchbox Queen is the original and largest supplier of bento boxes and lunchbox accessories in NZ. Established in 2014, with a purpose to make healthy and nutritious food more enjoyable and accessible to Kiwi kids, while doing away with the need for single-use plastic and packaging. 

Check out other family-friendly recipes from Family Times.

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