8 Eco-Friendly Lunch Packing Tips

8 Eco-Friendly Lunch Packing Tips

Today I was in a local toy store and saw a lunch box for children with a sticker price of …honestly, what’s that all about?  Do people really pay for a lunch box?  I don’t care if that lunch box lasts me all year; I’m still not going to pay for it! 

Truth be told, if we all take a step back in our own homes, we will find a few different options we can use right there to pack lunches every day; we just need to get creative!

FYI-follow these tips for money saving and eco- friendly lunch packing tips:

1-Reuse baskets, tin cookie containers, gift bags or small coolers as lunch boxes.

2-Purchase small ice packs to keep lunches cool and from spoiling OR freeze water in a plastic water bottle, leaving ½” head room, and use to keep lunch cool.  The extra bonus is the ice will be melting and will provide your child with fresh and cool water at lunch.

3-Instead of plastic baggies, purchase wax eco-friendly bags, or reusable nylon snack or sandwich bags.

4-Utilize a small, flat plastic container or Wrap-n-Mat for sandwiches or wraps.

5-Small glass jam jars work really great for everything from cut vegetables to yogurt to trail mix.

6-Send along a cloth napkin for use as napkin and/or placemat.

7-Stainless steel or BPA free plastic water bottles replace the need for juice boxes or sugared drinks.

8-Send a little love note from home in your child’s lunchbox.  If he/she can’t read, a small picture or smiley face will do the trick.

About the Author

Nichi Hirsch Kuechle supports moms during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond as a health coach, craniosacral therapist and birth & postpartum doula in Minneapolis.   She publishes a bi-monthly e-newsletter called Natural Family, which offers tips, ideas and resources for naturally raising your children.  She also teaches a variety of live and virtual workshops.  You can get Nichi’s New Parent Tool Kit, for free, by going to: http://www.myhealthybeginning.com


It includes a hospital-birth checklist, home-birth checklist, a list of her favorite natural baby care items, creative ideas for helping siblings adjust, and much more.  Get yours today, while it’s free!

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Food Spoilage During Hiking and Camping Trips

Food Spoilage During Hiking and Camping Trips

Americans love the outdoors. Hiking and camping are great activities the whole family can enjoy. While outdoors you must handle food properly as indicated; otherwise, you may experience food spoilage during hiking and camping trips which can cause illness and spoil your vacation.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
Seems simple enough. Bring along a cooler for the cold foods. If you are hiking or camping it’s easier to cook the food at home, cool it, and then bring the food along in the cooler. Food that is cooked on the fire or camp stove should be eaten when cooking is complete and then stored appropriately.

Safe Drinking Water
Never depend on there being fresh water available. When starting out bring bottled water or tap water with you. Replenish your water supply from tested water systems along the way whenever possible. If you run out of water and are not near a shelter on the trail you can boil water from the stream. It should be at a rolling boil for at least 1 minute.

For higher elevations, boil water for at least 3 minutes. If you wanted to go to the expense you could always bring along water purification tablets. Simply follow the directions on the package.

What Foods to Bring
If your hiking trip is more than a day, the food situation gets a little trickier. You’ll have to include items that don’t spoil. Some items that are non-perishables include:

·    Peanut butter in plastic jars;
·    Concentrated juice boxes;
·    Canned fish or meat, such as tuna, ham, chicken, and beef;
·    Dried soups & noodles;
·    Beef jerky and other dried meats;
·    Dehydrated foods;
·    Dried fruits and nuts; and
·    Powdered milk and fruit drinks

You should be sure to include some protein because hiking can be strenuous and you need to keep up your strength.

Cleaning up camp after meals
Whether hiking or camping you will be washing your dishes, utensils and cookware. There are specific rules to adhere to. Biodegradable camping soap in liquid and solid forms should be used but use it sparingly and keep it out of all water supplies, as it will pollute.

If you use soap wash the pots at your site, not near the water. Dispose of dirty water on dry ground, well away from fresh water. Some outdoor enthusiasts use baking soda to wash their utensils. Use disposable cloths for fast cleanups. To avoid any complications, be sure to wash your hands before and after handling food.

General Rules for Outdoor Food Safety
Plan ahead: decide what you are going to eat and how you are going to cook it; then plan what equipment you will need. After your bellies are full and you are roasting marshmallows around the campfire, kick back, relax, and enjoy your trip with the knowledge that all is well with the food supply.

Charlotte Winslow has had experience with food spoilage during hiking and camping trips. At http://hikingbasics.info you can learn more and keep this dreadful experience from happening to you.

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Healthy Green Living Tips

Healthy Green Living Tips

These times it seems that everyone has noticed that we need to lessen the influence that our daily life has on the earth. In particular, parents are attempting to have their households in a way that encourages a earth friendly living. Looking for some ways for your family to go responsible? Here are a few responsible living rules for families.

Green Life Guideline #1 Reduce Waste

Households would lead a responsible life by minimizing the bunch of garbage they produce. Try employing cotton rags instead of paper towels for tidying up all around the place (cloth baby diapers make great rags). Use washable cotton napkins instead of paper napkins. Pack lunches for the family in reusable containers instead of plastic bags. Stop purchasing stuff in single serve containers (juice boxes, bottled water, single serve snacks, etc.).

Green Life Guideline #2 Get Local Food

Support local farmers and get your food at local farmers markets and roadside stands as much as possible. This is a superb tip for encouraging families to live a responsible and healthy living because it is much more fun than going to the supermarket and the food is fresher and tastier.

Responsible Life Rule #3 Reuse Used Up Household Items

Save things such as paper towel tubes, stray buttons, egg cartons, popsicle sticks, Styrofoam trays, old CDs etc., in a responsible craft supply box. The items that would be reused for craft projects are limited only by the imagination of your family. Cut off worn out jeans to make shorts for the children to play in when they are going to get grubby. Reuse old shirts worn by adults as smocks for children doing art. Reuse plastic jars to store small items in.

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Apartment Recycling Tips

Apartment Recycling Tips

According to a 2007 news story by the CBC, Ottawa’s apartment tenants throw out an astonishing 81 per cent of all materials that could be recycled!

While the routine behind garbage and recycling collection can certainly be different when you’re living in an apartment (compared to living in single-family house), just because you’re in a high-rise doesn’t mean you’re above recycling.

What You Can Recycle

Although the bins might be different sizes and different colours than the ones in single-family homes, the same types of materials can still be recycled when you’re living in an apartment building:

·        Plastic containers with a recycling triangle on the bottom, including all bottles, pails, tubs and jugs

·        Aluminum drink cans

·        Tin food cans

·        Milk and juice cartons

·        Juice boxes

·        Glass jars and bottles (clear and coloured)

·        Newspapers and inserts, flyers and junk mail

·        Magazines, phone books, household paper, shredded paper and envelopes

·        Cardboard egg cartons and paper tubes

·        Flattened cardboard (e.g., cereal, cracker, tissue, laundry, shoe and packing boxes)

All apartment buildings should have onsite recycling containers (and some even have dedicated recycling rooms on each floor, for maximum tenant convenience). If you’re not sure where the recycling bins in your building are located, check with your building manager.

For proper disposal of special waste such as paint, construction materials, appliances, tires, or old mattresses and furniture, talk to the building manager or superintendent of your building – don’t just mindlessly throw it away!

Avoid Recycling Bin Contamination

With so many things capable of being recycled, why then is so much of it thrown away? A leading factor in the amount of recyclables that are tossed out with the trash is the contamination of apartment recycling bins – and it’s an issue that apartment tenants can prevent with just a little bit of effort.

When materials are placed in the wrong recycling bin, nothing can be recycled! The bin is either left behind or the contents must be collected as garbage, as it is too costly and time-consuming to sort through. To avoid this:

·        Don’t put your recyclables in plastic bags. These bags cannot be recycled, and as a result, anything placed inside plastic bags cannot be recycled either. As well, don’t tie your materials together, as processing facilities cannot remove string or wires.

·        Remember, glass, metal and plastic go into one bin. Paper and cardboard go into the other. Don’t put your material into the first recycling bin you see, and don’t toss any sort of garbage into the recycling bin!

·        Not everything is recyclable. Items such as hard plastics (cups and dishes), styrofoam packaging, motor oil bottles, aerosol cans, chip bags and candy wrappers, etc. should not be put in the recycling bins.

Get Paid to Recycle

If, for whatever reason, you need a bigger incentive to recycle than helping the environment, how’s this – recycling can save you money, too! Instead of placing them in your apartment building’s bins, you can always return your empty wine, beer, and spirit container to The Beer Store for a full deposit refund. This includes glass bottles, bag-in-box, Tetra Pak containers, plastic bottles, and aluminum and steel containers on which deposits have been charged.

It’s clear that as apartment tenants, we need to work extra hard to make sure we recycle everything we can. To this end, the City of Ottawa has made a Recycling and Disposal Guide available to all Ottawa residents living in apartment buildings. It can be downloaded at: http://www.ottawa.ca/city_services/recycling_garbage/apartment/index_en.html.

Looking for an apartment for rent in Ottawa? Paramount Properties is Ottawa’s second largest residential property management company. With more than 4,500 Ottawa apartment rentals available in some of the city’s finest locations, we’re your #1 choice for an Ottawa apartment.

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