Reducing Your Foodprint: Back to School Lunches

by Leigh Neptune, University of Maine Dietetic Intern, & Kathy Savoie, Extension Educator

What is a Foodprint?

A “foodprint” is the sum of all the resources that are used to produce our food, as well as the impacts our food systems have on the environment, animal welfare, farmers, and other workers within food systems, the local economy, and public health.

Five Tips to Reduce Your Lunch Foodprint

Reducing our foodprint can involve some planning. Here are five  tips that may help reduce your foodprint while planning lunches for back-to-school.

  1. Use reusable containers such as a reusable lunch box, water bottle, thermos, and Tupperware instead of single use containers like plastic bags and bottles.
  2. Pack leftovers that need to be used before making a new meal.
  3. Use foods that will spoil such as fresh fruits and vegetables before using items that will stay fresh longer.
  4. Include more plant-based meals.
  5. Include locally-grown or homegrown food items when possible.

Low-Foodprint Lunch Ideas

Below are a few tasty school lunch ideas that you can try to reduce your foodprint. 

  • Sandwiches: Try plant-based options like peanut butter and jelly, or veggie sandwiches or wraps. Use a variety of flavors such as mustard, avocado, or hummus. Mash chickpeas and use this as a plant-based alternative to tuna salad.
  • Salads: Try a pasta salad or grain salad using grains bought in bulk and local veggies. Add beans for protein and fiber.
  • Snacks: Use fruits, vegetables, and nuts as snacks. Combine nuts and dried fruit for a fun trail mix.
  • Sweet lunch: Mix it up by packing granola or overnight oats for lunch.