Ending the Plastic Baggie Blues

I estimate (conservatively) that I have packed more than 1,600 sandwiches in Solomon and Celia’s lunchboxes since they first started full-day school and summer camp. That’s a whole lot of bread, peanut butter, turkey, and mayo, and a whole heap of sandwich bags!

There are several strategies for keeping the fillings inside those two pieces of bread through all the jostling from when the kids head out the front door in the morning until they unzip their lunchboxes in the school cafeteria. We’ve tried them all — plastic bags, foil, waxed paper, sandwich-shaped boxes, and anything else you can imagine.

The disposable wraps are popular, but bothered me to use. As a dedicated environmentalist, I felt awful about how much plastic and foil I was wasting (even though I reused and recycled as much as possible). And then I stumbled onto a solution to my sandwich and snack packing woes.  I met Maryland moms Kirsten Quigley and Cris Bourelly, the inventors of Lunchskins reusable sandwich and snack bags.

Kirsten and Cris, both lovers of the outdoors, were inspired to make reusable sandwich and snack baggies after learning that every day in the U.S., 20 million plastic sandwich baggies wind up in landfills! They created a practical and kid-appealing solution out of food-grade material that is also dishwasher safe, and as I can attest, extremely durable. Not only that, because my kids love them, our Lunchskins always manage to make it home at the end of the day. (See below for a chance to win your own set of Lunchskins.)

So what do we stuff inside our Lunchskins? In addition to crackers, cookies, grapes, orange slices, and carrots, here are a few of our favorite sandwich combinations:

• Turkey, ham, or salami, Swiss cheese and lettuce on whole wheat bread.
• Tuna, chicken, or egg salad on a bagel with cucumbers or lettuce.
• Cheddar or Muenster cheese and sliced tomatoes (put the tomato between the slices of cheese so the bread doesn’t get soggy) with a little mayonnaise or mustard.
• Fresh mozzarella and pesto or artichoke and red pepper tapenade on a baguette.
• Peanut or other nut butter with jam, sliced bananas, honey, raisins, or apples on whole wheat.

Cris and Kirsten have generously offered to send a free set of Lunchskins bags (sandwich, sub and snack size) to two lucky Kitchen Explorers readers. To be eligible to win, please leave a comment below with your child’s favorite sandwich combination. Leave your comment by Friday, May 6th at 11:59 PM PST, and we will choose a winner using Random.org by Monday, May 9th. US mailing addresses only. One entry per person. Good luck! Congratulations to Dana Stokes and Shelley! The contest is now closed. Thanks everyone.

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