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With school starting here in just another couple weeks I’ve been thinking about getting back into the habit of packing lunches.  I’ve made a commitment to feed my family well, including doing the research to determine what foods are the best and the safest for my family’s health.  In the process, I’ve been using what I already had in my arsenal as far as saving money goes in order to be able to afford these new foods.

One of the most important things you can do to save money while feeding your family whole and organic food is to make sure you use up all your food!  I know I’ve said it before but using what you’ve got is so important.  One way you can use up that food and get rid of leftovers is to pack your lunch!  You’ll save a bundle (and it will be much more healthy) by packing food from home.

I don’t buy a lot of prepackaged products.  You know what I’m talking about, single packs of chips, lunch kits, juice boxes, prepackaged crackers, cookies, or other snacks.  Instead, I bag up my own.  It is much cheaper to buy the big boxes of things and package them into smaller bags all by yourself.  I also try to limit processed foods like cookies, fruit snacks, and other junk food.  We buy these things occasionally, but when I do I try to buy healthier versions, like real fruit leather, wheat crackers with blocks of organic cheese (I slice or shred it myself), and baking my own cookies.  Instead of processed foods, I pick up things like fresh fruit, almonds, yogurt, applesauce, raw veggies with dip, homemade hummus, and pita chips, etc.

But this year I want to take it one step further.  I want to pack a waste-free lunch.  That means getting rid of those extremely convenient plastic baggies and look for ways to pack in reusable containers.  I’m already using a stainless steel thermos for hot items (I got mine HERE), a glass reusable water bottle (I got mine HERE & get TONS of compliments), and small Pyrex dishes for heating leftovers at work (bought at Walmart to replace all my plastic divided plates).  But, I needed to ditch the baggies. You know, for crackers, cheese, grapes, cookies, almonds, etc.  You could just use plastic dishes with lids, but sometimes you just need a baggie!  So, I’ve been in search of reusable bags.  I’ve come across several HERE.

I have Snack Taxi’s reusable snack sack and sandwich sacks.  I love that they are made of funky fabric with velcro closure and are lined with coated nylon.   The coated nylon keeps them sort of water-proof (plastic bag-like) and also super easy to clean.  You can just wipe them clean with a damp rag or if they are really messy you can toss them in the washing machine (they are machine washable!).   I haven’t had the opportunity to try other brands, but I am really happy with these.  They come in lots of cute kid-friendly prints and the two sizes are great because the large one fits a nice big sandwich and the snack size is perfect for chips, crackers, fruit, or other bits of things.

I also pack Judah’s snack crackers or dry cereal in the snack-sized bag and toss it in the diaper bag.  There are lots of uses for these things … well about as many uses as there are for plastic bags!

Not only will this help the environment by saving plastic bags, but this baby step to a greener life will also save me moolah!  That is what we really like to hear, right?  Did you know you could save $246 per school year per person (how many kids are you packing lunches for?!?) just by ditching those plastic baggies!  That alone is enough to push me to make the switch… I love saving money!