Tuesday, April 19, 2011

trash-free challenge

My sister-in-luv, Elizabeth, has a great blog, castironconsomme. She is posing a challenge to go trash-free with your eating for a week.  No paper napkins, individually packaged snacks, etc... I am up for the challenge, but I must confess, I am a veteran of trash-free eating out.  For a few years now we have been doing our brand of healthy, frugal, trash-free eating. My husband and I pack our breakfasts and lunches every work day.  When out with the family running errands, I almost always try to pack what amounts to a car picnic.  This prevents hungry kids from making me miserable or bankrupting me with a convenient drive-thru stop.
     We have been using an assortment of silverware, glass storage containers and re-used jars and take-out containers.  We carry our lunches in small easily laundered tote bags I have picked up for a quarter or so at thrift stores and garage sales.  We have cloth napkins that I made a few years ago from a thrifted sheet that just keep going and going and going.  I really like glass for anything that needs microwaved.  Yes, people comment when I nuke up my salsa jar full of home-brewed coffee, but I just smile and take another sip of my piping hot coffee made just the way I like it.  My tall salsa jars make great containers for other drinks and soup too because the lids are really leak-proof.
     Today we went to the Zoo because it is free every Monday. I packed a picnic for 7people and fit it in a very manageable soft-sided cooler that I easily carried throughout the zoo.  Here's what it held, but keep in mind that I REALLY need to go grocery shopping, so I had little to work with:
--  pb and j sammies on home-made wholewheat bread.  I can fit 2 sandwiches into a rectangular plastic to-go box from the local Chinese restaurant.  These are great because each container holds 2 sandwiches and one person uses the lid for their plate and the other person uses the container for a plate.  No need for plates to be packed!
--yogurt parfait made by adding frozen berries to vanilla yogurt.  Everyone got a little glass jar full with a metal spoon, no waste there!
--apples, packed whole and cut with a paring knife when ready to eat.  Apple cores brought home in the glass jars so they could go in the compost bin.
-- Dried cranberries
--Sun tea for the grown ups, apple juice for the kids, brought in salsa jars, naturally.  I poured the kids juice into some cups we got when we went out to eat at Red Robin awhile back.  They serve their kid's drinks in plastic cups with lids, so I always bring them home instead of throwing them out and reuse them many times over.
--Matt brought hot tea in a steel thermos, a STEAL of a deal, as I got it for less than $2 at a local thrift store. It had never been used!  It was exactly like the $25+ ones I had been debating buying.  It ended up being freezing (in the 30's) and rainy today so having a sip of something hot was so wonderful!

     This was a fruit heavy lunch, but I was running out of many staples and worked with what I had in hand.  It worked out though, because you spend the day looking at all the concession stand goodies and having a sweet lunch helped ease the cravings for all the treats they were selling.
     Other easy lunch items that work well for kids on the go are cheese cubes and crackers, sunflower seeds, peanuts, popcorn, grapes, cubed watermelon, fruit leather, edamame, cucumber slices and hard-boiled eggs.
     Thanks Elizabeth for posting your challenge!  Keep up the good work!  And be sure to check out her blog (castironconsomme.blogspot.com/) to see the beautiful and delish stuff she is whipping up!


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  2. the lunch sounded great. really, a wholesome gourmet meal. I find when I go to amusment places like that, the eating options are fastfood like and not appealing - yet still I buy & eat! ;o). I'm going to try to take me own next time. (we'll see).

  3. Thanks! Surprisingly, most things taste better when eaten outside! It makes it a lot easier to pack a great on the go meal. And EVERYTHING tastes better if you finish it off with something sweet! :)