4. Gear Up for a Busy School or Work Week
If preserving food isn’t your thing, this long weekend is the perfect time to prep healthy, inexpensive, and low-impact lunches for yourself or your children. Here are some of my favorite tips for making packed lunches easily and without the excess sugar, fat, and salt—or the wasteful and toxic packaging—of processed foods. For an extra-nice touch, sew a few cheerful cloth napkins from fabric scraps you have lying around, and hit the thrift stores for some cheap, reusable silverware.
Small containers of organic yogurt and fruit are perfect additions to lunch bags or after-school snack fodder, but they ain’t cheap and all those little plastic pots are pretty wasteful. Make your own yogurt for a fraction of the cost (at my supermarket I can buy about 4 times as much organic whole milk as yogurt for the same price). Whip up a few quarts and it will last you at least 3 to 4 weeks. While you’re at it, turn some organic milk into delicious homemade pudding and spoon that into jars to stash next to your yogurt.
For more easy, DIY lunch ideas, see Reusable Lunch Bags Save Cash, Cut Waste. And if you’re finishing up any back-to-school shopping, download Rodale.com's Nontoxic Back-to-School Shopping Guide e-book!