back to school ecofriendly healthy lunches

6 back to school essentials for healthy, eco-friendly lunches

Amanda Keetley Blog Leave a Comment

Whether you’re getting organised for back to school, or returning to work after your summer holiday, it’s worth considering whether your choice of lunchtime food and drink containers will be exposing you, and your family, to unnecessary health risks.

Whilst it’s tempting to choose the most affordable (i.e. cheap plastic) items for school lunch boxes, it’s also very important to consider the health impacts of your choice, particularly because children are more susceptible to the negative effects of chemical exposure.

Many people already know that BPA (one of the most common chemicals used in plastic) has been linked to a range of health risks, including hormone disruption, issues with brain development, hyperactivity in children, early puberty and a rise in breast and prostate cancer.

However, recent research suggests that even plastic items marked as BPA-free are not safe, especially when used by babies and children.

The most common chemical used in BPA-free plastic is BPS, which appears to be even more harmful than BPA, requiring even lower levels of exposure before the negative health impacts are noted.

Breast Cancer UK advises that to protect your family and limit their exposure to synthetic chemicals, glass and stainless steel containers are the safest options for food and drink. It’s also best to try to choose freshly prepared food over pre-packaged food whenever possible.

In addition to the health benefits of avoiding plastic containers and packaging for food and drink, there are obvious environmental benefits gained by reducing the demand for plastic, and choosing the more durable and sustainable glass and stainless steel options instead.

The start of the school year is a great time to upgrade your children’s (and your own!) lunch boxes and drinks bottles to safer, healthier, more environmentally friendly plastic-free options.

Here’s our pick of 6 back to school essentials for healthy, eco-friendly lunches…

1. Stainless steel lunch box (£22 for 2-tier plus mini container)

Stainless steel bento box and mini container

This fantastic stainless steel 2-tier lunch box is perfect for packing varied and healthy lunches.

Use the bottom layer for sandwiches, cold pasta or rice salad, the top layer for chopped veggies or fruit, and the mini snack pot for some nuts or a treat.

2. Stainless steel water bottle (£9 for 350ml)

Glogg 350ml Wide Neck Steel Top

This cute little water bottle is just the right size for school as it’s not too heavy when full, and easy to refill from a tap at school if your child is extra thirsty.

Stainless steel water bottles are easy to clean (unlike many of the plastic alternatives that harbour mould and bacteria) and are free from the harmful toxins found in plastic water bottles.

3. Reusable sandwich or snack bag (£7.50)

LunchSkins Sandwich Bag - Green Turtle

These easy to wash, quick drying sandwich or snack bags come in a variety of colourful and funky designs that appeal to children and adults alike!

Replacing disposable plastic sandwich bags they result in less exposure to plastic toxins and are much better for the environment too.

4. Stainless steel insulated food flask (£29.95 for 237ml)

Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Food Canister – 237ml

Great for keeping food either hot or cold. Also comes in a larger 473ml size for bigger appetites.

5. Stainless steel snack pot (£15 for set of 3 mini pots)

Reusable stainless steel snack containers

Handy set of 3 stainless steel snack pots that are just the right size for supplementing your lunch with extra servings of fruit, nuts or a small treat.

6. Abeego Reusable food wrap (£14 a set, various sizes)

Abeego reusable food wrap - set of 2 large flats

A brilliant replacement for cling film, this food wrap smells beautiful and is made from organic cotton coated in natural beeswax.

Great for wrapping sandwiches, or covering leftovers. Simply use the warmth of your hands to shape it around the item you are covering.

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