Your kids might turn up their nose at the idea of a green lunch box, picturing it filled to the brim with the greenest of vegetables – ones that aren’t always the first choice for pleasing their palate. But regardless if they think broccoli is blah, or spinach is slimy, its easy to make it “green” – the ecoki-way.

1. Use a reusable lunch-baglunchbox

Get the kids involved in picking out their container, but steer clear of the hyped-up High School Musical and Hannah Montana varieties. Undoubtedly, they’ll tire of these, and you’ll end up buying another each year. Try versions such as Laptop Lunches, and varieties from and Built NY. Tough sell? Convince them it’s the coolest bag, akin to (but presumably better than) all their peers.

2. Use reusable utensils, and napkins

Save the trees and ditch the plastic by providing your kids with cloth napkins and reusable utensils. If you’re handy (or not – they’re quite simple), make some DIY cloth napkins in funky patterns.

3. Don’t pack prepacks

Prepackaged foods just create more waste, and anyway, eating whole foods is far healthier and nutrition.

4.stainless Include their “own” containers

Every kid likes when something belongs only to them. Designate containers that fit their lunch sack, and make them their own. Unless you are using a system like Laptop Lunches, try stainless-steel and lead-free varieties.

5. Include interesting, home-prepared snacks

The other day while teaching, I heard a conversation take place between two kindergartners.

“Is that apple juice?” one asked the other.
“Nope, mango juice,” he answered, triumphantly.
“Oh,” replied the first one, confused. “Is that applesauce?” He pointed to something else.
“No way!” answered the second. “This is strawberry sauce.”

Both, by the way, packed in reusable containers, his “different” snacks were impressive and exciting – not as mundane as (gasp!) apple chunks.

6. Wean off food-waste

Get your kids actively involved in making dinner the night before, then pack leftovers in their lunch the following day. Alternatively, re-create them to something special. Roasted some vegetables for dinner? Chop them small, add some fresh baby spinach and a tomato, and wrap it in a whole grain wrap, burrito-style. Put a small container of salsa on the side for dipping.

7. Add a note

Growing up, we always had notes packed in our lunches, bidding us (and our friends who awaited the reading of the note) a hello and an “I love you” or two. This little pack makes an impact on childhood memories. Living green is living in a caring, pay-it-forward zone. By showing extra care to your kids – they’ll show extra care to their friends, teachers, and peers.

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