8 Zero Waste Snacks for School
Hack the Snack Attack, Sustainably
Did you know that the average US student produces a whopping 67 pounds of trash per school year at lunchtime alone? That, along with this recent study that revealed US public schools generate around 14,500 tons of solid waste each day (with nearly half being food packaging), we know that plastic-ridden lunches are a major contributor to our global plastic problem.
While store-bought lunches and food are convenient for to-go snacking, they come with a high price tag and unnecessary single-use plastic — not to mention a ton of extra processed sugar! We get that back to school is a busy time for parents, so we’ve made it SUPER easy to be more sustainable with these eight snack-attack hacks that you can prep for kiddos ahead of time. And all without single-use plastic.
1. Package-Free Cheese Sticks
Individually wrapped cheese sticks are a popular snack that’s easy to DIY (minus the single-use plastic) by purchasing a block of cheese then slicing it into sticks or squares. To save time when packing lunches, these can be prepped in batches for the week and stored in Stasher Snack bags.
🔥 tip: If you don’t see plastic-free blocks of your fav cheese, visit the deli in your local grocery store and ask for blocks wrapped in paper.
2. DIY Microwave Popcorn
One of the best snack hacks that’s also a lot less expensive — and less wasteful — than store-bought microwave popcorn? DIY popcorn in a Stasher bowl! If your local market has a bulk food aisle, you’ll typically find popcorn kernels in one of the bins. BYO Stasher bag or bowl and fill it up so you always have popcorn in the pantry. Here is how to make popcorn using our reusables.
3. Homemade Energy & Granola Bites
Protein and granola bars are great snacks for a nutrition-packed energy boost, but store-bought bars are often laden with processed sugar and preservatives — and individually wrapped in single-use plastic. With a little prep, you can give your kiddos a healthier and more sustainable alternative using ingredients commonly found in grocery stores (especially the bulk aisles!)
Get started with these recipe ideas for DIY protein bars.
4. Fresh Fruit & Veggies
Sometimes, the simplest things are the best! If you don’t have the time or energy to make something fancy for your kiddos to snack on, there’s nothing wrong with relying on their favorite fruit and veggies to fuel them during the day. Though we totally get that for a picky eater, healthy stuff can be tough; try letting your kiddo choose a colorful Stasher bag to store their snacks in to help them feel included in the decision.
Other ideas to spice it up could be to incorporate dips like yogurt, ranch, or hummus in a Stasher bowl to go along with their fruit and veggies.
5. Sustainable Applesauce
When seasonal fresh fruit isn’t available (or if you have a kid that simply won’t snack on anything else!), applesauce and other pressed fruit snacks can be an easy way to get some fruit in their diet. Rather than the typical single-serving plastic containers at the store, opt for the value jar option and portion out individual servings in Stasher bowls.
Note that if your child can’t finish their serving in one sitting, the Stasher bowl can be put in the fridge or freezer for later. And if you want to make your own applesauce instead of buying from the store, go for it!
6. Bulk Food Bin Snacks
If you haven’t started bulk shopping yet, this is your sign. Not only does it save you money, but you can almost entirely avoid the plastic packaging that comes with most store-bought basics like grains, flours, nut butters, granola, and more. Plus, the bulk sections of most grocery stores are typically stacked with snacks like dried fruit, trail mix, crackers, and more.
Check out our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about bulk food buying.
7. Crackers & Crunchies
You can’t go wrong with a crunchy snack like pretzels, chips, or the ubiquitous goldfish-shaped crackers, all of which come with packaging waste. Where possible, look for crunchy snacks that can be purchased in bulk food bins or bulk and store them in an airtight glass container to preserve freshness.
Important note: Food-grade silicone is not ideal for long-term storage of crunchy foods. Instead, use Stasher bags and bowls for storing snacks that’ll be eaten day of.
8. Homemade Baked Goods
When all else fails, there truly is nothing better than a comforting and homemade cookie. Or brownie. Or bread. You get what we mean! When the baking bug bites, use it as an opportunity to involve your kids in a family activity and ensure you know exactly what ingredients they’re eating (unlike with store-bought cookies and cakes).
Plus, you can easily avoid packaging by shopping for your ingredients in the bulk section using your own containers. And cookie dough can be frozen ahead of time easily in a Stasher reusable!
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