I am not a mother. I do not understand the busy-ness that comes with having a child, the endless tasks and responsibilities, and having to, at all times, care for a tiny human that you hope will one day grow into a responsible, compassionate adult (not too soon though). Maybe one day I will be a mother and will change my opinion entirely on this topic, but for now I will let my environmental side take the wheel and discuss a topic so vital I can barely stop my fingers from typing all of these letters…tip tip tip.
Okay, so maybe not necessarily vital, but of importance nonetheless, especially in the sense of waste reduction and bonding.
I do not have many memories of baking or cooking with my mother or grandmother as a child (we grew up very “traditionally” in which Papas and Opas did not prepare the food, they just brought home the bacon – HA!). I remember hanging around the stove with my sister as my mom baked Christmas cookies; we would snack on the dough and bits and mom had to remind us to leave some for the actual baking process. I remember helping my Oma turn some cake batter once in a while, or wash some parsley, or help her shell peas from the garden, but that was pretty much it. I did not have a connection to cooking; my sister had much more of that, and I learned to cook proper food much later in life. I guess I sometimes wish there had been more chores in the kitchen twenty years ago.
I see the convenience in the products we buy. I see that parents are busy juggling everyone’s schedules, and that life quickly fills up with tasks and events. Packaged granola bars are quick to chuck into a lunch-bag. Fruit roll-ups make a fast snack. Applesauce containers are an easy thing to add to the themed lunch-kit. Add some plastic cutlery to avoid dishes, and kids tend to lose things anyway, so we don’t want to lose all of our little spoons at school…
These are things I see most days at school. Packaged foods: granola bars, wagon wheels, roll-ups, sandwich bags, applesauce containers, plastic cutlery. Is anyone else seeing this as a problem? Surely I am not the only one.
In all this convenience, though, we are not seeing the harm. Not only are we adding unnecessary trash to the landfill, and plastics that will never leave this planet, but we are also teaching our children to accept convenience above all else, and that disposable plastics can be a daily-use item. We are not teaching them about their environmental responsibilities, and the impact of every person’s actions on Earth; we all have this responsibility, it’s just that some of us do not accept it.
One time I saw a Kindergarten student take out a stainless steel bento-box at recess; compartments sorted by size, and a little package-free snack within each piece: a chopped pear, a sandwich, homemade banana bread, and some carrots. This was months ago, yet I still remember that little lunch box with all those package-free items, and the student being tickled pink because mom had written a message into the banana peel.
In my opinion, parents should be spending time with their children in the kitchen, involving them in the preparing and cooking process, as well as baking every once in a while; it doesn’t have to be cookies all the time either, as there are plenty of more healthy options that can be prepared for school. Children will learn some great skills and lessons, and most importantly, it provides a great bonding opportunity. These are small things to incorporate into family life that can teach a child a great deal about their environmental responsibilities; we should look past the busy schedule and realize that this is a very important thing for them to learn as a member of our future generation.
Here are some great snack posts:
Zero-waste snack ideas from Litterless
Zero-waste munchies from A Dream Lived Greener
How to pack a zero-waste lunch from Going Zero Waste
7 Easy DIY Snacks from 1 Million Women
More ideas on Pinterest
Do you have any favourite go-to snack ideas for lunches? Mine are no-bake granola bars; take about 20 minutes to make and last me 2-3 weeks (also much cheaper than store-bought, as those can range between $2 and $5 and only contain 4-5 bars in each box).