Nude Food Ideas for School Lunches
Written by Queen Vic Market Sustainability Ambassador Erin Rhoads. Keep up to date with Erin by following her on Instagram.
Nude food lunches is the term used to describe food without single-use packaging, cling wrap, foil and zip lock bags. Many schools and even workplaces are encouraging nude food and month-long challenges to help change our habits around unnecessary food packaging and reducing reliance on unhealthy foods. With forward planning and the right lunchbox you’ll soon be making nude food lunches easily, helping the planet and fuelling the day with good food.
What to pack
It might seem like there aren’t a lot of options but in reality there are many combinations available. Remember we once ate most of our food without any packaging. The list below and some creative input from children are sure to spark ideas.
- Fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes
- Fruit cut up or kept whole
- Dips like hummus – sneak in vegetables for variety such as a capsicum or beetroot hummus
- Homemade crackers
- Muesli slice
- Slices of cheese
- Boiled egg
- Dried fruit
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Leftovers from dinner
Choosing reusable lunchbox, cutlery and drink bottle
A lunchbox with different compartments will make packing a nude food lunch easier. You can buy them made of metal, plastic and bamboo. Before buying a new lunchbox look in your cupboard to see what you might already have like small Tupperware containers inside a lunch bag. Choose items that will be leak proof but easy to use. Wax wraps and silicone pouches provide a good reusable alternative to single-use bags, cling wrap and foil. Making the swap to reusable options can save 200 pieces of single-use plastic from going to landfill (going by the number of school days in a year). Older kids might enjoy leftovers or even soup in a thermos.
We like to block out time for preparation, often doing it alongside dinner one night of the week. This could be cutting up vegetables and fruit, making a batch of popcorn, boiling eggs, then storing in individual containers or jars in the fridge ready to put into lunch boxes during the week.
You don’t have to make everything from scratch
There will be instances when making your own food at home might not be an option, like yoghurt or dips. Instead choose the biggest container instead of smaller individual packets. Then decant into smaller reusable containers or wrap options. Individual packets are more likely to become litter while the larger packaging options can be reused, recycled or put into the bin at home.
Another option to find food ready-made is to visit bulk food stores for dried fruit, muesli squares, chickpea snacks, seeds and nuts with your own packaging. I also find fun options at deli stalls too. Dolmades, cheese, pickles, falafel and olives are a favourite we can buy in our own reusable containers to enjoy as a nude food lunch option.
Make it fun
Making changes is made easier when it’s fun and everyone can get involved. Letting kids help choose what they’ll eat can help get them interested in trying different foods. Visiting a market and being table to talk directly with stall holders is an opportunity to learn where foods comes from, why some foods aren’t always in season, how they are grown, and what makes unpackaged locally made food so good for our bodies and the environment.