That’s A Wrap!
Low impact lunches and food prep
I’ve been doing food prep for some time - I have A LOT of food allergies, so eating out is a challenge and many pre-made items are a no-go. Trying to eat plastic free and waste free is a challenge. To be honest, I don’t always do it 100% but...I’ve a learned a few tricks that save me some money, time, and waste. I am excited to share them with you!
A Little Prep Goes A Long Way
With some planning you can achieve budget, dietary, and waste restrictions efficiently. I usually make a menu for the week, do my shopping, and then spend 1-2 hours prepping depending on how elaborate my plans are. It can be really fun to bake your own food for the week. Cornbread, muffins, and other small items are easier to tackle and portion out for the week. I also get to take a trip to the rainbow grocery and buy my gluten free flours in bulk.
The basics I do every week are prep all my package-free fruits and vegetables so they are ready for snacks, lunches, and to make dinner quickly when I come home. Pre-portioning is huge for fast packing in the morning.
If you have access to bulk shopping that can help. When I don’t, I buy the largest container or options that aren’t in plastic (such as sugar in paper bag) or pasta in paperboard box.
My favorite snacks that come packing free are fruits and veggies. For plastic free fun fruit, I go for melon or pineapple and prep it in advance. If I go to the farmer’s market and find berries in paper containers, I will get those and portion them out to take with me to work!
I also like to pre-chop bell peppers, cucumbers, or carrots for snacking on.I also like to snack on pickles or olives that come in glass or metal jars. I like to make something called a snack pack: cut veggies, pickles, olives, etc. If you are ambitious you can make a dip like baba ghanoush or pesto. If you are really serious you can make your own crackers! (Or get some bulk pretzels - not gluten free for me though, I buy them for my husband.) I put all these snacks in mason jars or metal containers.
For lunch a favorite of mine is salad. I like to buy the salad mix from a big bin and put it in a cloth bag. Or buy a head of romaine. One way that I keep salad stuff on hand is having jars or cans of olives, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, pickled veggies, etc. That way I can throw together a last minute salad. I take my salad dressing in a little mini mason jar. For protein you can use bulk or canned beans, tofu (can be hard to find plastic - free!), canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or meat...it’s hard to get meat without packaging. I have seen some people bring glass containers and some butchers have compostable paper.
Side Note: I know many out there feel strongly about the impact of meat production on the planet. Please keep in mind that we all are trying to reduce our impact in slightly different ways and no one is perfect since the system isn’t perfect. You never know what someone is going through and why they make the choices they do. I think we should focus on inspiration and corporate accountability rather than trolling in the zero waste community.
Other lunches you can make are pasta or sandwiches. I buy my husband regular pasta from bulk. For myself I buy gluten free pasta in paperboard boxes.
I am such a drink queen but recognize that it depletes my budget and results in lots of single use containers if I buy single serving drinks. I have definitely stopped buying drinks in plastic, but sometimes buy drinks in glass. I often buy bubbly water in 12 oz soda cans. My favorite thing is to make ice tea for the week and fill up a bottle for each day! I will sometimes chop up mint and limes and bring some to work with me to add for a twist!
I keep some bulk tea bags at work and bring my reusable coffee cup. If you don’t have access to bulk teas, the brand I like best is Republic of Tea. They have no plastic! Of course water is best so I carry my water bottle every day, except for when I am trying to carry light. On those days I only bring my reusable coffee cup and I use that for getting in water between caffeine doses.
That’s a wrap!
Lettuce wraps, beeswax wraps….there’s lots of ways to wrap your food. I do love all my glass containers for my fruit, veggies, salads, pastas etc. There are lots of food containers out there but my favorites are mason jars. I also have some bowl size glasslock containers that are good for pasta and salads.
Meet The Staff
Addie has been living a low impact lifestyle since she was a kid in a microwave free and paper towel free house! Addie’s mom started the first recycling program at her elementary and middle schools. She grew up on thrifted stuff - check out her thrifted work outfit in the photo! Addie strives for a low impact lifestyle. She works for Recology in San Francisco as the Waste Zero Diversion Audit Manager.
All photos are from Addie’s instagram profile @norubbishgal unless otherwise stated. Feel free to reuse if you give proper credit.