When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kid-friendly, eco-friendly lunch packing

The long, lazy, endless-possibility days of summer vacation are winding down, and that means thoughts and energy are turning to back-to-school around our house. Soon the boys will be donning backpacks filled with new supplies and happily reuniting with their school chums, and I'll be back to the routine of packing their lunches every night. This is not a task I particularly love, but it's one I take seriously, and I spend a lot of time preparing healthy sandwiches and snacks that will properly fuel their busy bodies and minds throughout their day at school.

I've done some reading recently that has me convinced I should be putting just as much thought into choosing containers to pack these healthy foods in. There is growing concern about the potentially harmful effects of chemicals found in certain kinds of plastic, particularly for children, whose little bodies are in important stages of growth and development and are more susceptible to the impact of hormone-disrupting compounds. I'm very concerned about the combined, cumulative effects of the many toxins we encounter in our daily life, and it seemed to me that food storage would be an easy and important place to avoid some of them.

When I started looking for safer lunch containers, I was pleased to find there is a wide variety of options available. The boys and I chose these Dabbawalla bags for carrying their lunches this year.

They are made from naturally insulating, stain-resistant neoprene and have earned the Oeko-Tex 100 standard of safety after being tested for over one hundred harmful substances. Noah and Will love the cool designs, and I love that they're free of PVC, lead, and other worrisome materials.

For packing sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and snacks, I purchased several Lunchbot stainless steel lidded containers, as well as some zippered cotton pouches made by Itzy Ritzy.

These containers and bags are also free of suspicious chemicals and they are easily washed and reused, making them an eco-friendly choice. While the lunch packing supplies I've shown here cost more initially than many plastic versions, their durable materials should allow them to last longer, and I think their value from a health perspective makes them a very worthwhile investment.

If you're looking for lunch storage solutions that are kind to your young ones' bodies and to the environment, Fenigo is an excellent Canadian online store with lots of options.

To read more about how toxins in our everyday lives affect our health and our planet, and to learn ways to protect your family, visit the Environmental Working Group website.

We're all set for packing school lunches over here this year; now I just have to convince the boys to actually eat the food I send in their new containers and bags. That may prove to be a more challenging task....

Happy back-to-school to all of the kids, parents, and teachers out there! I hope the year is filled with fun and new discoveries for everyone.

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