For much of 2020 I didn’t have to take a lunch to work. I was at home all the time so lunches were made at home as well and I always had food on hand. Now that I am back to work full time I need to have a lunch for myself 5 days a week. Now I have been very lucky this year in that Nigel packs my lunch most days as he cleans up dinner, and I am so appreciative of this, but he has been loving prepping food for me and I will take it.
Now lunch is a meal that can easily get filled with waste. Between snacks, individual containers, plastic wrap and more the waste can really add up, and a lot of this is because of how easy it is. Here are some of my tips to create a lower waste lunch.
- Buy in bulk – I get snacks in the biggest costco bags and then put them in smaller containers. This includes making my own trail mix with a mixture of nuts, dates, chocolate chips, and whatever else I have laying around.
- Leftovers – I am such a proponent of leftovers, especially in how easy they are. Just by making more food than we can eat for dinner we also get lunch the next day.
- Make bulk snacks – Instead of buying individual cups of pudding or applesauce we make them in bulk and then store them in the fridge. Applesauce we even have canned so that it lasts even longer.
- Fruit and Vegetables – Fruits and Vegetables can be the ultimate low waste snack, especially if you buy them without packaging (we love supporting flash food for big boxes of produce). I even keep a knife to cut up apples or oranges at work and can pack a dip in a small container if I would like as well.
- Snack bags – These are both cute and functional. I have lots in various sizes and since they have a waterproof liner they work for both dry snacks and fruits and vegetables. I have found these at local farmers markets and are really versatile.
- Glass Containers – This is what we use for pretty much all of our food storage including freezing foods and it works great. Right after dinner my lunch is packed in a container right away for the next day. We also often use these for vegetables, storing baked goods, and pretty much everything else.
- Small Glass Containers – These containers may be my absolute favourite. They work for storing dry snacks as well as making things such as pudding or applesauce in them. We have some that are mason jars and others are reused yogurt containers. We sometimes buy the fancy yogurt cups and the matching lids and then we have containers all the time
- Cutlery – we have some second hand cutlery that doesn’t match our full set that I always have in my lunch bag so I never have to worry about finding something to eat with
- Napkins – by bringing a cloth napkin I don’t need to use paper towels at work
- Dishes – You can even keep a full set of dishes at work if your work doesn’t have a set already. This gives a great place to microwave food if you use a metal container to transport, and makes it feel a bit nicer.
These are some of the ways that I reduce waste in my lunches. What are some of your tips and tricks?