Tips for Packing a Healthy, Waste-Free Lunch!

waste-free lunch

April is Earth Month and the perfect time to discuss packing healthy, litterless lunches for children. If you have a child in school and you pack his lunches daily you can follow some simple steps to make it litterless.

I don’t pack full lunches for my preschooler because he eats lunch at home but I do pack his snacks. I often ensure he has a good balance of organic fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and cheese weekly in his snack bag.

Excited to support the waste-free lunch initiative my son and I came up with some simple solutions to go litterless. I thought I was already doing a pretty good job but we learned that we could be doing so much more!

Waste-Free Lunch:

  • Packing a waste-free lunch starts with swapping out disposable bags, plastic wrap, foil, pouches and cans with eco-friendly reusable containers.
  • Paper napkins and wipes can be replaced with cloth napkins. We now use Funkins, adorable double sided, reusable cloth napkins made out of 100% cotton. My son loves the fun designs and he uses them as placemats as well. We love them!
  • Use reusable cutlery instead of plastic cutlery.
  • Buy stainless steel or reusable water bottles instead of single-use cans or juice boxes.
  • Send healthy snacks and swap things like a homemade trail-mix instead of pre-packaged packs and fresh cut fruit and veggies instead of packaged fruit sauces.


Below are some photos of my son’s snack bag and what I usually pack for him. For us the first easy step towards a litterless lunch was to stop using paper napkins. Using Funkins we have been able to reduce a lot of waste!

waste-free lunch bag

waste-free lunch bag

Second I started looking at the little single-use yogurt containers and pre-packaged cheese packs we usually get.  I buy those all the time for convenience but I realized that I could also just purchase a large carton of yogurt and  serve small portions for him in reusable containers. I also started cutting regular cheese and packing it into small containers instead of using the pre-packaged cheese.

waste-free lunch bag

I love that now we are making our contribution to the waste-free lunch program and it was so easy! We don’t need to send extra waste to the landfill unnecessarily anymore.

Do you have a waste-free lunch program at your child’s school?

I am taking part in the Funkins blog campaign. While I have received compensation as part of my affiliation with this program, the opinions shared are my own.

The following two tabs change content below.

Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

14 responses to “Tips for Packing a Healthy, Waste-Free Lunch!”

  1. There are so many great reusable lunch items out there! That is 100% what I use, minus the occasional bit of foil or saran. I never realized just how much waste is created in one meal!

  2. Our local school promotes litter-less lunches! I’ve since become a huge fan of snack bags!

  3. I think that the changes that you made could be done by nearly person who tkaes a lunch. It would certainly help the environment.

  4. Your son’s smiles just bowl me over every time, beautiful 🙂 I luckily don’t have to pack lunches for my kids any more, all being adults they have to fend for themselves and some now have to pack lunches for their own kids.

  5. I totally respect this a lot, a healthy lunch is super important to keep your children nice and strong!

  6. I’ve stopped using *baggies* too. Although I’m hesitant to send my “good” cutlery out. What if it never returns?

  7. I TOTALLY got a lecture this week from my son for litterless lunches because I send yogurt tubes in his lunch 🙂
    Reminded me of when I was little ans used to lecture my parents on eco-friendly choices.

  8. This is such a great post! Thank you so much for sharing and taking part. It’s wonderful knowing and reading that so many families are moving towards packing litter less lunches for their children. As you pointed out in your post, it’s not difficult at all to make a few simple changes. Well done!!

  9. It would certainly help the environment if we all packed lunches like this

  10. All awesome tips. It also teaches them how to take care of our planet!

  11. If almost every Mom packed lunches in reusable containers and used their own cutlery, and cloth napkins instead of paper ones, the amount of paper and plastic kept out of land fills. I am not sure if our school promotes this as my children are now adults, but I do hope so.

  12. I hadn’t heard of funkins but that is such a great way to reduce waste!

  13. Those are great ideas for lunches!

  14. Great tips! Perfect for this back to school season.

Leave a Comment