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Making school lunches 'greener'

September 13, 2008|By LEIF E. GREEN

Seems like summer was only yesterday. Sigh. Now it's time to make school lunches again. So how can we make those lunches a bit "greener" and more nutritious?

First of all, take the lunchbox. For your little ones, use a box that has dividers to house a sandwich, fruit, water bottle and cookie. Idea No. 1: Reduce packaging. Did you know each child typically generates 60 pounds of trash from their lunches per year? That's according to "The Big Green Purse," by Diane MacEachern, one of my favorite conservation info sources.

Idea No. 2: Buy food in bulk, and then when you repackage the items, put them in reusable containers.

Idea No. 3: Give your child a cloth napkin. How upper class is that?

I used a reusable lunch bag that the Washington County Free Library handed out one day at school for my high school-age daughter. She asked that I not do that again. So I went back to the plastic grocery bag, which by the way, I would reuse many times before tossing out. I used reusable containers and plasticware.

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For nutritious lunch ideas, be adventurous. Try fresh veggies and dip, nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain breads, pitas, or bagels. Get that white bread out of the house. (Although my husband still likes grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread, so I keep some in the freezer for him.)

Advantages of healthier lunches? Lower blood pressure, less obesity and tooth decay, lowered risk of heart disease and diabetes and, best of all for the teachers, better concentration in school. (That's according to www.laptoplunches.com, where there are lots of school lunch ideas.)

Leif E. Green is the nom de plume of a columnist writing on behalf of the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force. Today's columnist is Kathy Vesely.

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