With the 2009 school year just around the corner, dietitians are calling on parents to pack ‘litter-free’ lunches to both keep their kids healthy, and help the environment.
Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson, Sonya Stanley, said a litter-free lunch, where there’s no throw-away packaging, is an easy way to make sure the lunch is less ‘manufactured’ and therefore healthier.
According to Ms Stanley, everything in a litter-free lunchbox can be re-used, composted or recycled.
“Foods like fruit and vegetables, which come in their own ‘packaging’ and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, are perfect for lunchboxes – that’s good for kids and good for the environment, since the average Australian household throws away 15.7kg of garbage each week¹,” said Ms Stanley, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
She also said litter-free lunchboxes can also work for the family budget. “To stop food waste and save money, write a shopping list of all the foods you’ll need to make lunches for the week.”
Sonya Stanley’s top tips for healthy litter-free lunchboxes:
- Use refillable water bottles
- Pack lunchbox food that comes in its own ‘packaging’ – such as a handful of grapes, an apple or a banana, a small carrot or a boiled egg
- Encourage children to bring home all waste in their lunchbox – this will help you monitor what they’ve eaten and allow you to recycle packaging and compost food waste
- Buy food in larger packs or tubs (such as raw, unsalted nuts or low-fat yoghurt) and place individual serves into small reusable containers
- Keep a bottle of frozen water in your child’s lunchbox to keep the lunch cool and prevent food from spoiling
1. Beverage Industry Environment Council (BIEC) 1997, National Recycling Audit and Garbage Bin
Analysis, BIEC, Canberra