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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Green Your Life: Out to Lunch

by Dani Hurst

Tags: green your life, dani hurst, healthy lunch, waste-free lunch, green lunch, healthy food,

Green Lunch
Pack healthy lunch options in reusable, BPA-free containers. Photo By WolfWorld/Courtesy Flickr. 

Lunchtime is your time.

You work hard for your afternoon break. You file, type labels, answer phones, do research and complete a million other tasks every day at work (at least I do). And that glorious break is all that stands between you and complete insanity. Well, Mother Nature works hard, too. Nurturing all life on this planet is a consuming job, and she deserves a break, too.

Here’s your chance to give Mother Nature a break. By following these simple tips and tricks, greening your lunch can be a real piece of (organic) cake.

• The best way to green your lunch is by making and bringing your own. This way, you know exactly what’s going into your grub—which is healthier for you—and you don’t waste gas idling in a fast food drive-up lane—which is healthier for Mom.

• Pack your lunch in reusable containers to cut down on waste. I use Tupperware to hold the bulk of my meal (i.e., angel hair and meat sauce, lasagna, soup, etc). I know plastic is not an ideal “green” solution to the question of reusable containers, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten thus far.

• Don’t use plastic bags. I know it’s tempting to use them for small bulk items like carrot sticks or even to house a sandwich, but these just end up in the trash. For things like carrots and grapes, use a smaller version of the reusable containers of your choice. And use sandwich holders for your sandwiches (because I bring a lot of sandwiches, this is my next green lunch goal). LunchBots offers one- and two-compartment 100% stainless steel containers that make packing a healthy and eco-friendly lunch easy as (locally grown cherry) pie.

• Tote your lunch in an old-school lunchbox, or even in a canvas bag. This will keep your lunch more stable, which is especially beneficial for preserving easily-bruised fruits. Here is one woman’s quest to find the perfect sustainable lunchbox.

• If you need utensils, bring silverware from home instead of using disposable plasticware. Again, this will cut down on plastic waste.

• Carry your drink in eco-friendly canisters. I got a Klean Kanteen for Hanukkah this year, and it has served me very well. Here is an article explaining why buying bottled water is a waste of money.

• This is a step above where I’m at, but if you really want to reduce your waste, bring and use organic cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

• Finally, if you just can’t kick that fast food craving, try to put together a carpool so you’ll at least be able to cut the number of cars out during the lunch rush, thus decreasing your (and your coworkers’) carbon footprint.

As I finish this post, my Granny Smith core sits atop my desk. I could just toss it in the trash (it’s biodegradable, right?) But instead, I’m going to add it to my office’s compost pile. Just one more way I show my Mother I love her.