During the summer, we get comfortable with “go with the flow” breakfast, lunch, and dinner routines, but it’s time to head back to school. This time of year, children (and adults!) are always on the go, and often in the car. Whether you’re driving them to extracurricular activities, learning camps or weekend play dates, it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand, and ones that leave a low carbon footprint.

Here are some ways to make the most of eco-friendly, on-the-go eating :

  • Prepare ahead of time–Planning to pack snacks and lunches in containers ahead of time reduces waste, which means a cleaner car, and conscience. ECOlunchbox offers reusable plastic-free lunch boxes and snack containers to pack nuts, fruit and pre-cut veggies to nosh on during the day. Plastic bags, cling films and snack wrappers are not typically accepted in curbside recycling, but PlasticFilmRecycling.com has resources to help you determine what you can recycle at designated drop-off locations
Photo by ECOlunchbox
  • Relax with easy, healthy snacks– Having grab and go snacks on hand for when you’re pressed for time and need to jump in the car is a worry-free way to keep the schedule running on time. But not all snacks are created equal! Look for ones that are nutritious and conveniently portable and mess-free.  North Coast’s apple sauce pouches are a healthy, organic option that won’t leave a trace on your car seats, your kids or the planet, as the pouches are easily recyclable through TerraCycle.
Photo by North Coast
  • Drink up– Warm summer sunshine carries well into the fall, and staying hydrated is important. Contigo offers BPA-free, spill-proof travel mugs, water bottles, and children’s cups with its AUTOSEAL® features, which locks between each sip to keep leaks off seats. Many are designed to keep drinks hot or cold for hours, making them perfect for long car trips. Plain water not your flavor? Fill your reusable cups with drinks that are low in sugar or, better yet, fresh squeezed or mixed from local produce.
Photo by Contigo
  • Practice recycling in the car– Keep your car clean and reinforce positive recycling habits by encouraging kids to sort their trash in the car. You can hang bins (like this “Car-bage” can on Amazon) or bags on the back of the car’s front seats and assign one for trash and the other for recycling. This is an easy way to teach kids what to recycle and to remind them to clean up after themselves. Plus, the last place you go on your trip won’t be the backseat, clearing a mess from emptied snacks.
Photo by Keep It Clean CarBage

Fueling up en route doesn’t have to diminish healthfulness or roll back good habits. While packaged foods and to-go drinks may seem like the quickest and easiest options, they can have empty calories and create a significant amount of unnecessary waste. A bit of planning goes a long way, and when it comes to feeding the family on the road, you can do it with sustenance that’s good for them and for the planet, and with time to spare.


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