Summer Camp Lunches for Kiddos: Eco-Friendly Edition

kids at summer camp, with a tent and guitar, adobe stock

 

It’s that time of year again…. warm weather is upon us, and school is out for the summer, and we could not be more excited for all the future holds. If you’re anything like the McKee family, your summers are just as busy, if not busier than the school year. With summer camps in full swing for the kids, and life slowly returning to normalcy, it can be difficult to have enough time to get everything done—And at the same time, how do you continue to live a zero-waste or sustainable lifestyle? In order to reduce single-use plastic and waste in your child’s lunch, you might need a few things to get you started.  

  

Reusable Lunch Bag  

Finding a lunch box might be your first step to an eco-friendlier summer camp lunch for your kiddo! A reusable lunch box is a great option, as it is insulated and will keep your food fresh for longer. However, that is not completely necessary. You can easily use a grocery bag you found at home, a tote bag or that one plastic bag you’ve been reusing for months; there are lots of possibilities, and it might be a fun chance to get creative with your littles one!  

  

Reusable Wraps  

Summer camp means constant outside time and heat. Those two make the perfect match for bacteria and mold to join the party. Did you know that bacteria grow quicker the warmer things are? Hot soups or macaroni and cheese, for instance, need to stay hot all day, giving bacteria incentive and time to take over. Packing cooler or room temperature foods will help reduce the speed at which bacteria grow, keeping your kiddos safe and healthy.   

Plastic bags may seem like the easier option, but do you notice how your sandwich tends to get soggy by the time you are ready to eat? Plastic traps moisture and causes food to rot quicker. So how do you keep these meals fresh all day? Beeswax and vegan wraps! Luckily, Khala offers a wide range of reusable beeswax and vegan wraps to store anything you might be packing for your child. From sandwiches, to nuts to that leftover pizza from last night. Our award-winning wraps are made of hemp, beeswax, tree resin, and coconut oil. The great thing about beeswax wraps is that they don’t hold moisture and act just like a rind or peel, keeping them fresh 5-7 days longer than if they were wrapped in plastic. 

 

Reusable Containers 

Pre-packaged food might be easy and convenient, but more costly and SO much unnecessary packaging! That money and waste adds up—simple zero-waste switches will help you save in the long-run and help the longevity of our planet. If you are not yet convinced to make the switch to beeswax wraps, Tupperware and tin reusable containers are a great alternative! You can also rinse and clean out empty food containers to use and help reduce single-use plastic.  There are many good options out there for tin containers, Tupperware, etc., but one of the best things you can do is use the products you already have around your home, even if they are plastic, until it’s truly time to replace and that’s when you might turn to sustainable options. Might as well get the most out of what you have before switching to more eco conscious products!  

 

Reusable Water Bottles 

Disposable, single-use water bottles are out, reusable water bottles are in! By storing your liquids in a reusable water bottle or Thermos, you are easily eliminating so much plastic, and that adds up over time. I never leave the house without a full reusable water bottle; it’s so convenient and affordable to fill up anywhere! You can also turn this into a fun activity with your child. My water bottles are COVERED in stickers. It makes it personable and want to bring it everywhere, and your kiddo can let their creative side shine.  

 

Utensils and Napkins 

It can be instinctual to reach for the single-use plastic utensils and dispose of immediately after, but those utensils can be brought home and washed to be reused over and over again, or even better—use your own utensils! If you’re looking for a sustainable option, bamboo sets of utensils are a great option (but with kids, finger-food might be the way to go!). Switching to reusable napkins can be very simple as well. Small towels or cloths around your house work great, or you could even rip up that old t-shirt and use a square as a napkin! 

 

Meals for Kiddos 

Sandwiches are a classic and delicious choice for your child’s everyday lunch. It’s easy to throw together a peanut butter and jelly, a turkey and cheese sandwich or even a veggie sandwich (featuring feta, cucumber and hummus.... yum!). Once you have your sandwich prepped and ready, wrap that masterpiece up in a sandwich wrap and your kiddo is set for freshness all day.  

Sometimes, kids get tired of the same food after a while. It might be fun to think outside the box with your meals! It’s easier than you might think. Some days, even putting a mix of your child’s favorite snacks could be a nice change of scenery for your young one. Snacks like carrots or apples and dip, nuts, goldfish, pretzels, cheese and crackers, lunch meat, etc., are enjoyable for young ones and easy to throw together. Fruits are awesome snacks as well—strawberries, orange slices, blueberries, watermelon, grapes. Other delicious alternatives could include salads (you can mix it up with different meats, avocados and even fruits), that leftover pizza from the night before, or even a quesadilla. That pizza would pair nicely with a large beeswax wrap and create a dynamic duo for your young one’s lunch.  

 

 

Sources: 

https://healthyfamilyproject.com/summer-camp-lunch-ideas-for-kids/ 

https://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/02/23/ntk-the-go-to-guide-school-lunches.html 

https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/lunch-and-snack-ideas-for-camp/ 

https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2016/07/over-30-summer-camp-lunchbox-ideas.html 

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/family-meals/slideshow/summer-camp-lunches