When you have school children in the household, you’ll know how time consuming and costly it can be preparing lunches and snacks day in and day out. Not only are you in charge of injecting creativity into each meal but also making sure that what you pack stays in tact by lunchtime and is not brought home squashed to the bottom the bag and only found a week later. That’s where the concept of a waste-free lunch comes into play. It is a wise environmental choice and becomes a less expensive option in the long run. And that in itself is a huge bonus don’t you agree?

Here are 5 easy to implement steps to creating a waste-free lunch.

1. Replace paper bags with reusable lunch bags Invest in a reusable lunch bag. They come in so many designs and colors and are insulated to ensure foods are kept at appropriate temperatures. Velcro strips secure them closed and are easy for little fingers to open. They have a perfectly sized handle making them portable and typically have a side compartment for a drink bottle. They are waterproof and super easy to wipe clean and the best part there is no further outlay of brown paper bags, or other disposable plastic wraps.

2. Reusable containers are sturdy and handy Once you have your lunch bag sorted, time to get yourself a few reusable mini containers and pouches for the goodies. Wet foods and yoghurt can be placed in reusable pouches. Plastic containers with easy to open clips ensure food no longer gets squashed or falls all over the place. Make sure you buy BPA free options. They are perfect for fresh fruit slices, cubed cheese and a special cookie or cake treat.

3. Waste-free lunch ideas When selecting foods and snacks, the idea is to buy things that are not individually wrapped in plastic. Buying cheese, dried fruits, nuts, biscuits and other nutritious items in bulk not only saves money but also allows you to create your own portion sizes suitable to your child. You’ll soon realize too that products that are not pre-wrapped are generally the healthier options. So that’s good for your child’s health too!

4. Kick the juice habit Extend your waste-free lunch by using a BPA free refillable drink bottle – no need to add to your already expensive weekly shopping bill by purchasing water bottles or juice pop-tops.

5. Sandwich bags are no longer disposable plastic Whilst cling wrap and zip lock bags are common household items and have their place, if you are seeking to save a bit of money this solution is certain to make you happy. Reusable sandwich wraps or pockets. One of the more common varieties is called a Lunchskin. They are made from fabric, which is food safe and houses your child’s sandwiches perfectly secure until they devour it. It’s like a pocket envelope. Just for your sandwich. And if you need to wash it, they are dishwasher safe, and super quick to dry so they can be used again in a flash.

Author Bio: Angela Henderson is a Clinical Psychologist and owner of Finlee and Me, an online store specialising in baby and kids products designed to not only keep them looking fashionable but aid their developmental goals too.