Monday, October 21, 2013

School Snacks

My daughter, like most kids I know, prefer to eat small amounts of food throughout the day. To me, a snack is a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds, or a small piece of cheese and a couple crackers. To many kids, a snack is often times something filled with sugar and not much nutritional value: a cookie, granola bar, and yogurt in a plastic tube (gross), chips or some other salty concoction. These snacks appeal to kids because they like sweet and salty and "everyone" eats them. Parents tend to like them because they are quick and easy to pack. With a little planning you can prepare healthy snacks and save money.

Below are some of the snacks that my daughter enjoys. I purchase these items come in bulk without plastic which saves money and waste. Snacks are packaged in small stainless steel containers or an insulated stainless container.

  • cheese (bring my own container to the deli and have them slice a hunk off their big cheese rectangles or rounds) and rice crackers.
  • hummus with crackers and carrots
  • applesauce (home made or purchased in large glass jars)
  • fruit: apple, pear, etc.
  • plain yogurt (Berle Farm in glass) with berries and/or granola and a little maple syrup
  • slice of homemade pumpkin or banana bread with apple butter
  • plain or dark chocolate almonds and/or raisins
  • granola pieces
  • an 8 oz. smoothie made from plain yogurt and fresh/frozen fruit
Any other ideas? Please share them.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plastic Free Pantry (almost)

I wish I had done a "before" picture! I love my new almost plastic free pantry. It's simple and everything is easy to find and I can quickly determine what I'm low in when creating my grocery list for the week.

So, here is my "before" and "after" pantry overhaul. Some of my glass jars are repurposed, such as my glass yogurt containers (with the names of the cows listed on it) with plastic lids courtesy of Berle Farm. Others are Mason jars (cheap and made in the U.S.A) which I also use for some canning. And, I did purchase some 2.1 quart hermetic storage jars (made in Italy) and 12 oz. french terrines from The Container Store (they had great prices and shipped in paper packaging as requested). For my bulk bin shopping I bring my own cloth muslin bags (see previous post).

Pasta in plastic bags or boxes with plastic “windows”
Pasta purchased from the bulk bin and put in a glass jar (no plastic)
Rice in plastic containers or plastic baggies (from bulk)
Purchased in bulk and put in a glass jar (yogurt container w/ plastic lid)
Almond butter – purchased in glass jar or in plastic tub from bulk bin
Bring my own glass container and fill it at the bulk bin or at the grind your own machine
Honey – purchased in glass jar
Bring my own jar and fill from bulk
Cereal – purchased in boxes with plastic liners or from bulk in a plastic bag
Bring my own bag and fill from bulk bin
Baking supplies such as powder, soda, flour, sugar – in plastic bags, paper bags, boxes, or plastic containers
Bring my own bag and fill from bulk bin. For cleaning I use cheaper baking soda and buy in large cardboard box.
Cocoa powder – plastic container
Can’t find it in bulk ( yet) so still buying in either plastic or plastic lined cardboard container.
Crackers – box with plastic inserts
Can’t find a way around this yet and not sure I am going to spend the time to learn how to make crackers. Trying to find alternatives instead to cut down on crackers.
Tortilla chips – paper bag lined with plastic
Love these and haven’t found a solution yet. I was going to try and buy from a local restaurant but they closed/moved.
Nuts and Snacks – in plastic bags or containers purchased or from bulk.
Trying out new snacks from the bulk bins such as sesame garlic crackers, rice crackers,  or mixing my own using granola, chocolate or yogurt raisins, almonds, etc.
Sardines – cans lined with BPA
Now buy from Wild Planet (awesome company!). Sardine cans are BPA free and recyclable.  Sustainably caught fish.
Seaweed – plastic bags
Can’t find non-plastic and not in bulk. Seaweed lasts quite awhile in my house since we use it more as a condiment or in cooking (Khombu for beans) and the bags can be recycled. So, will keep looking for options.