One thing most kids have in common is their love of snacking. While three nutritious meals a day are important, snacking also has its benefits. Healthy snacks between meals keeps kids fueled up and gives them the energy they need to keep up with the demands of a busy schedule. Snacking, however, can have quite a big carbon footprint, depending on the choices you make. If you want to green up your child's snack routine this year, here are a few things you may want to consider.
Buy in Bulk: Buying pretzels, crackers and dried cereal in bulk is cheaper than buying individually wrapped bags. Instead, send your child's snacks in a small Ziploc® Brand Storage Container. This is also convenient if your child only eats half of what you send. They can simply put the lid back on and bring the leftovers home.
Make it From Scratch: Baking cookies from scratch is cheaper and creates far less waste than buying a box of cookies at the grocery store. Skip the packaging waste and add wholesome ingredients by making your child's snacks in your own kitchen.
Choose Beverages Wisely: Individual boxes of juice and bottles of sports drinks are not very eco-friendly. Instead of choosing sugar-laden sodas or artificially colored juice mixes, invest in a reusable water bottle and fill it from the sink. Water is a much healthier alternative for kids and using a reusable bottle cuts down on waste significantly.
Skip the Plastic Utensils: If you give your child a snack that needs a spoon or fork, skip the plastic, disposable options and go with regular silverware. If you are concerned about your good forks and spoons being lost at school, consider buying a cheap set to use just for snack time.
Use Cloth Napkins: Snack time can be incredibly messy. Rather than handing your child a paper towel, consider investing in cloth napkins. They are incredibly easy to toss in the washing machine and will add one less thing to your trash can.
Recycle What You Can: Many items like plastic pudding cups and cracker boxes can be recycled, so make sure you recycle everything you can. Remind your child to bring home their recyclables if they don't have a recycling program at their school.
Skip the Wrappers: Consider buying snacks for your kids that don't have individual wrappers. Apples have very little waste except for the compostable core. Apple flavored fruit snacks, however, come wrapped in multiple layers of plastic and cardboard. Choose fresh foods for minimal packaging.
Do you have any other tips for a greener snack routine?
Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.