Tried ‘n True Gear for the Zero Waste Lunchbox

A simple guide for packing a zero waste lunch, with tips for reliable gear.

I‘m coming up on a decade of packing school lunches and it’s high time I shared my tried and true gear guide for the zero waste lunchbox.

Good containers for lunches on the go have to be easy to clean and hold up year after year. There are so many options out there and I’ve tried my fair share. I know what breaks and what lasts, what kids enjoy using and what is actually worth the price tag.

At its simplest, packing a lunch requires a few containers, a jar and a tote; at its maximum we’re using everything from beeswax wraps to banana guards.

Hit the jump and keep scrolling because I’m about to show you aaaaaalll our items for a zero waste lunchbox.

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DIY Power Bites, Granola Bars and other healthy snacks

I‘ve been feeling like we’re in a bit of a post-holiday baking slump here. I know, that didn’t take long.

But you can hardly blame me. For most of December, Saturdays were for swirl buns and Sundays for scones. The kids and I rolled, cut and frosted dozens of shortbread cookies and gingerbread men. It was a delicious few weeks, but hardly a balanced diet.

And so, to pass the time on a bad weather snow day, Clara and I met up in the kitchen this week to make power bites. This productive activity nicely filled our holiday baking void – and topped up the freezer with a healthy snack, perfect for my teatime and her lunchbox.

In case you’re also looking for a similar kitchen project with delicious results, today’s post contains a round-up of all my nutritious and portable snacks that are easy to make with kids.

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Double Chocolate and Maple Tahini Puffed Cereal Treats

I‘ve been packing school lunches for eight years and lunchbox treats are one thing I have down to a science, thanks to plenty of practice and a whole lot of honest feedback.

Today I’m sharing two versions of puffed cereal treats that I regularly make with my kids: Double Chocolate and Maple Tahini. They are no-bake, one-bowl, vegan recipes, with just a handful of ingredients, perfect for a kitchen project with little ones.

Yes these are based on the popular Rice Crispy treats, but you find that my version is a little more nourishing. I love to play around with puffed ancient grains such as millet or quinoa, I use natural sweeteners, stir in seed butter for protein, and leave out the marshmallows entirely.

Read on for two new recipes and then stir up a treat for Valentine’s Day with the kids.

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Maple Cinnamon Apple Chips

Today I’m packing up the family for two nights in a secluded cabin in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Friends of ours have a cottage in the woods, and we’re slipping away to join them over the weekend.

The maple and oak trees have started to don their fall foliage, and the weather is much cooler. This is our favourite time of the year to hike and immerse ourselves in the forest.

We won’t quite be camping, but I’ll be doing some cooking over an open fire, and am adapting our meals for a simple, outdoor setting. I want to relax on this little getaway, which means plenty of food prep in advance. Today’s maple-sweetened, cinnamon-spiced apple chips are part of that plan.

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Weekend links: Back-to-school edition

Full disclosure: this week I was at the beach with friends and our kids instead of recipe developing and preparing for the start of school.

Glorious warm weather and a desire to hold onto summer just a little bit longer kept me out of the kitchen, and hence, I have no snappy back-to-school post for you. A few local media outlets even reached out, wondering if I had new lunchbox inspiration to share, and I had to mumble something about still catching up from vacation (entirely true, by the way).

School starts on Monday for my boys and maybe next week I’ll kick into high gear with homemade everything for the lunchbox from muffins to applesauce, chicken nuggets to cereal bars. I’ll get there in my own time, although between you and me, my friend Elizabeth’s idea for a laid-back barbecue sounds like more fun right now. [Read more…]