If you take lunch to college, work or for travel, switch to a zero waste lunch box. Not only are these lunch boxes helping to reduce the use of single-use plastic (clingfilm is also not recycled), they are better for health, taste and work out cheaper, as you can use one box for years.
Keep lunch boxes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms etc). Never give stale bread/croutons to birds as it can choke. Nor give fatty leftovers (like buttered sandwiches) as this can affect insulation/waterproofing of feathers. Salt is also toxic to birds.
BamBox is a brand of stylish reusable bamboo lunch boxes. Although bamboo is not locally-grown, it’s a sustainable fast-growing grass, that practically never runs out. The standard lunch box should not be put in the microwave, but there are also versions that are microwave-friendly, if you prefer to nuke your food (never microwave baby or pet food). The lunch boxes are beautifully designed in gorgeous colours, and are best washed by hand, although you can put them in the dishwasher. But wash the lid gently by hand, with a simple wipe and leave to dry naturally.
Plastic lunchboxes not only have health concerns, but are also wasteful and expensive. They also if discarded break down into microplastics, which harms wildlife and marine wildlife, as it becomes invisible, and then is accidentally ingested. Far better to make one investment in a nice reusable lunch box of your choice, that will last years. It also encourages you to make and pack your own lunch!
Industrial bamboo is not the same kind as fresh pandas eat. And it grows so fast that you can almost see it growing, as you watch! It can replace plastic, and biodegrades at end of use, so is an ideal alternative. Its only downsize is that as it’s biodegradable, you should not leave it to get wet – otherwise it may biodegrade away!
The lids are from natural solid rolled bamboo, and feature an elasticated fabric strap and food-grade silicone seal, to help keep food fresh. The base is a mix of bamboo with corn powder, melamine and wood fibres (the microwave-frienldy version does have some corn-based plastic). Ethically produced in China, they are made from a native bamboo to Anhui province. Do not use these lunch boxes to carry liquid, as they are not leakproof. All are sold with plastic-free packaging. The size is a good one to hold sandwiches, salads, grains, pastas and snacks.
Nought Bamboo Reusable Lunchbox is designed almost entirely from bamboo, the world’s fastest-growing grass. Naturally anti-bacterial, this features an elastic band and food-grade silicone seal. Dishwasher-safe but they recommend hand-washing the lid, and don’t microwave. Not 100% airtight, so don’t use for liquids.
If you like a bigger or more solid lunch, then go for a lunch box over a lunch bag. One expert says not to choose rectangular versions if you like sandwiches, as most don’t fit them. And choose one that is leakproof, if you like soup. Bamboo can’t go in the dishwasher and stainless steel can’t go in the microwave, so decide which type of lunch box best fits your needs. If you want a box to be leakproof, look for ones with silicone seals.
Elephant Box is one of the better brands of stainless steel lunchboxes, with the main one being deep enough for an apple and big enough for a round of sandwiches. Made from food-grade stainless steel, it’s perfect to store food in the fridge and freezer, and can heat food in the oven up to 240 degrees celsius. Made from rust-resistant 304 grade stainless steel, it has a large deep 2 litre capacity, and won’t stain or carry odours. The sturdy roll clips keep the lid on tight, and it’s responsibly made in India.
Plant-Based Recipes for Lunch Boxes
Here are some ideas for your zero waste lunchbox. There are many lunchboxes to choose from. But what do you put in it? If you are fed up of hummus with crackers or a chickpea salad sandwich, have a look at these books, for innovative recipes.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Avoid hard carrots and other choking hazards for children and vulnerable people. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, nuts, avocado, fruit pips & seeds, dried fruits, nutmeg, fresh dough, green potatoes/onions, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, jackfruit and xylitol).
Vegan Snacks & Munchies offers plenty of nibbles to get you through the day. Find recipes for portable pocket-size energy balls and bars, and recipes for plant-based snacking including spicy burgers & wedges, and cocoa-almond freezer fudge pops.
Plant-Based Juniors Nut-Free Lunch Box (e-book) is written by two mothers and nutrition experts. It has 30 recipes plus tips for packing lunches for children.
The 5-Minute Vegan Lunchbox makes prepping your lunch a breeze. The 52 recipes cover a range of diverse salads that contain grains, beans, veggies and there are tips to make bulk lunches for the week, often from last night’s leftovers.
- Salad Ingredients
- Beans & Legumes
- Grains & Seeds
- Noodles & Zoodles
- Bento Boxes
- Sugar Snap & Apple Slaw
- Summer Fruit Salad Bento
- Mexican Bean & Corn Wrap
- Seed Granola with Berries
- Baked Tofu & Crunchy Slaw Wraps