My next challenge in my zero-plastic experiment is to find zero-waste snack ideas for school or work that will be simple to make and will satisfy my hunger.
So, my family and I have embarked on a mission to lower our plastic waste. This process hasn’t been a quick one. You can read how I started on my plastic free-experiment and my lastest plastic-free update to catch up on our journey.
My next step is to rethink how we do lunches and find zero waste snack ideas for school or work.
I first started with an analysis of our lunches to see what types of food we bring that are pre-packaged. For our main dishes, I think we’ve had a good handle on that from the start. We always make sandwiches, salads or take leftovers along with veggies and pack them in reusable containers. However, for snacks, we almost always pack plastic-wrapped bars and single-cup yogurt (tsk tsk, I know). If I’m hungry at work, I usually buy chips and/or chocolate bars from our kitchen area.
Once I knew what to replace, I took to Pinterest to find some comparable swaps that I can make at home.
To replace my need for some salty snacks like chips, I decided popcorn will be a very acceptable alternative. I love popcorn, and I usually make it the old fashion way, in a large pot with a tiny bit of oil. Popcorn kernels are available waste-free at bulk stores.
To replace my usual granola bars, I will make my own at home, or I can substitute with homemade muffins or trail mix. For my trail mix, I mixed a combination of cereal O’s, granola, chocolate chips, and mixed dried berries, which are all available waste-free at bulk stores. I threw in some pistachios for mine, but for son, I skipped the nuts so he can take it to school.
Also for this week, I made some healthy blueberry oatmeal muffins from a recipe I found on Pinterest.
I’m not ready to make my own yogurt just yet. Perhaps it’s better to just buy a large container and refill reusable cups, or perhaps ditch it all together?
Other low to zero-waste snack ideas
Here are some other zero-waste snack ideas I will consider in the next few weeks that will satisfy my sweet and salty cravings:
- berry parfait (layer granola, berries, and yogurt)
- fruit slices with nut butter
- cheese and crackers
- veggies and hummus
- mini cookies from the bulk store
Keys for success
Here a few things I noticed that will make my desire for zero-waste snacks happen:
Plan ahead – We have busy lives. It’s so easy to just want to buy a box of granola bars that you can just throw in a bag. Packaged goods are convenient but they are not only processed, full sugars, salt or fat, but they usually come wrapped in plastic. It didn’t take me long to come up with healthy waste-free alternatives to my usual go-to snacks. We plan ahead our meals every week, why not also include the snacks in our meal plan? Why haven’t we thought of this before?
Create a list – Once you come up with your alternative snacks, make your list. When grocery shopping, we first stop at the bulk store to see what we can buy there. Luckily, they have a large amount of waste-free snack ingredients, but I just have to steer clear of the candy aisle.
Meal prep on the weekend – If you take time to do some meal prep over the weekend, making healthy waste-free lunches for the week will be much easier. I took about 30 minutes on Saturday to bake my muffins for the week. We froze half. That way, when we make our lunches the night before, we’ll have a ready-made snack to throw in our lunch bags.
The same goes for the trail mix. You can mix a large bowl for the week ahead, and refill a container every day.
So, now that I have a plan for my waste-free snacks. I feel like I’ve made another large step towards the family’s goal of a plastic-free lifestyle. I’m open to new suggestions for some waste-free snacks. What are your favourite go-to waste-free snacks? I’m all ears!