School Lunches With Reusable Bags

I bought some lovely snack bags at The Summerside Farmer’s Market! They are made with natural material and are washable. The inside is an air tight and water proof fabric. They are very sturdy and oh so cute! Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags is the business who makes and sells them.

Since packing plastic free snacks for the kids lunches at school last year, the lunch cans were crammed with containers. Some days it was hard to pack everything in and then having all these containers to wash for the next day. I ended up having just enough containers to stretch for 3 kids over two days. But still, so many to wash and dry, and the clutter it created was frustrating.

Today’s lunch cans were packed with much more ease, and they felt lighter too.the kids liked the bags the first two days of school and they love the patterns. I must say, it seemed faster to pack the snacks too! No having to neatly pack pretzels so I can fill the container for example. Now, just toss in a handful, zip up and done! I’m very impressed! Also, with the liner inside being water proof, I can use these bags to pack wet foods like carrot sticks. Though, I will continue to use containers for meats and soft fruits. Convenient for the kids to eat from a dish sometimes and I don’t want soft fruits to get squished.

3 lunches packed, and still room to put things on top.
Alaina. Pretzels, local green beans, homemade granola bar, local strawberries and black forest ham. She only takes juice on Wednesdays. That comes from a can which half fills a reusable container. Reusable water bottle is packed in her school bag.
Daniel. Pretzels, crackers, local carrot sticks, local apple and a free range boiled egg. Some juice from a can, packed in a reusable bottle 3 times a week. Also a reusable water bottle packed in his school bag.
Julia. Pretzels, crackers, local peas, local strawberries and Montreal smoked sandwich meat. Juice from a can packed in a reusable bottle. So far she wants juice everyday. Working on “water is best”. Reusable water bottle packed in her school bag too.

The snacks vary from day to day as well as their taste buds! The only snack packed that comes from a plastic source is basically just the crackers. Everything else comes from Bulk Barn using my own containers or are whole foods bought plastic free. Soon I am going to make a new batch of yogurt and I am going to trial using small mason jars to pour the batch into, so I can pack those to send to school.

I highly recommend these snack bags! If you are handy with the sewing machine, make some!! Make it yourself and/or support local before buying from away, including big box stores.

It may be expensive up front, but you will save in the long run! Use what you have, invest a little at a time and you will be set! Supporting local helps local families near you. Local cuts down the carbon footprint for travelling as well as packaging.

When packing snacks try to stick to whole foods, they need less packaging from the stores! Homemade is best too, you know what goes into the food and they do not need to be individually wrapped.

Some examples:

For more ideas, check out my recipe page.

Summerside Farmer’s Market

I love going the The Summerside Farmer’s Market! I have been going every Saturday for over a year now, supporting local businesses. I try to spread out and reach as many vendors as I can. There are so many options of goods and the people are so friendly.

This past weekend I brought home a great haul of goods. When I go shopping I buy plastic free options or try my best. I bring my own produce bags and containers. Our family has been going plastic free as much as possible for over a year. You can read all about it on my website, Rachel.Willcock.ca. You can also follow me on Facebook at Managing Our Waste at Home.

I wish there was more support for the vendors to offer plastic free options. Some options off the top of my head:

  • Sell in paper bags or paper containers (I for one won’t mind the price going up a tad to stop single use plastics!)
  • customers bring their own bag/containers
  • vendors could sell their goods from a large bin using tongs to select the amount purchased. Have a scale available to weigh the products.
  • Have a bring back a reusable container/bag program

In this picture is a lovely selection of the goods I picked up for my family to enjoy.

  • I got some Vesta Bella and August apples from Brady’s Farm using my own produce cloth bags. Brady has paper bags he sells his apples in and he does want them returned when possible. Reuse!!
  • There are strawberries and blue berries from East Isle Farms. The wooden crates are compostable on PEI and the paper containers are recyclable like egg cartons.
  • Some lovely Peas from J&L Farms, using my own white cloth produce bag.
  • Clohossey Farms was selling brocolli and cauliflower package free, score!
  • The best bacon I have ever had is from Pleasant Pork. Sometimes we get back bacon, kolbalssa, salami and pepperoni. Ham is on my list this coming weekend! They also sell free range eggs. The eggs are the best ones I have ever seen too! Nothing like free range!
  • I also bought some lovely snack bags from Inspire Essential Heatable Bags. They are great for back to school! Natural fabric with a water proof fabric inside, keeping the snacks fresh all day. They are also washable in the washing machine. Less containers for me to wash after school!
  • I buy our cleaning needs from The Farmer’s Wife. Bar soap, Shampoo bar, Cleaning soap, Laundry Soap and Wool dryer balls. This list is short compared to what is available! I will add, the cleaning and laundry soap containers are returnable with a small discount, Reducing the container waste. Awesome!

I also visit other vendors for string beans, carrots, peppers, croissants, honey, leafy greens and garlic.

Some pictures of past trips to the Summerside Farmer’s Market
Croissant, wrong beans,now as, carrots, English cucumbers plastic free, bacon and garlic.
Free range eggs, lettuce, laundry soap, berries, bar soap, english cucumbers plastic free, kolbassa and bacon.
Free range local eggs, bacon, back bacon, laundry soap, bar soap, fresh greens, pepperoni and salami.
Snack bags
Reusable cloth snack bags
String beans and peas, apples, eggs, bar soap, shampoo bar and croissant.
Carrots, laundry soap, free range eggs, peppers, bacon, garlic, croissant, and peas.
Lettuce in cloth produce bag, carrots, peas, eggs, English cucumbers plastic free, string beans, bar soap, croissant and bacon.
Shopping local has many benefits!
  • Keeping money in local communities
  • Helping local families
  • Products come from familiar people
  • Much less carbon footprint for travelling
  • Products are fresher
  • Usually less packaging
  • Creates more demand for local products in turn creating local jobs
  • And many more!

Check out this post about my Shopping Routine and seasonings! It will show more about why I have changed our shopping and consuming habits and how! It was published in early June, and already we have made more changes!

Don’t forget the important R’s
  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Mustard Pickles

Iingredients

12 cups of cucumber (peeled and seeds removed), about 8 good sized ones
6 cups diced onion
3 red peppers
3/4 cup salt
4 cups of vinegar
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp celery seed

When I made this recipe I used what I had. I did not have 6 cups of onions. I used a very large red onion and a medium yellow onion and also I had 1 1/2 orange pepper and a bit of red pepper. Also, I did not have the whole 1/4 cup of dry mustard powder. My mustard pickles still turned out great and yummy! Me and Thomas are the only ones who will eat it, so 7 jars should last until next year.

This recipe came from my mom.

In a large pot add 12 cups of chopped cucumber, 6 cups diced onion and 3 red peppers. Add 3/4 cup of salt. Cover with cold water for 2 hours. Drain well and do not rinse. Add 4 cups of vinegar and cook on stove top for 20 minutes, do not boil and keep veggies crunchy.
In a bowl mix 4 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup dry mustard powder, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 Tbsp of celery seed. Add to cooked veggies and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes, no boil. Add to clean canning jars and seal. Makes about 8 jars.

Veggies in place
Vinegar and cooking for 20 minutes
All ingredients are in
Canned. Not so bright a yellow as I did not have all the dry mustard powder. Tastes great anyways!