Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mrs F's Quest For Green Continues

Kid will be starting school here shortly. We just got our list of supplies (kind of assumed the 8K covered that... silly me) and the lunch/food rules. You know I'm pretty serious about feeding the kids a healthy diet (okay Kid... not Baby her diet is admittedly 50% "cook cook"). I make most of our food from scratch. I'm at 100% organic food. And still these rules made me nervous and feel like I might look like the "bad mom". This is a private school and they don't provide any food (or water for the Kindergarten room... what?!... the 8 grand cannot fund a drinking fountain or a box of dixie cups?!!!). So we need to send in a snack and a lunch with drink and a water bottle. They need reusable silverware & cloth napkins (fine we've got that covered). Reusable containers... fine....but what I've got are glass and VERY hard for me to open let alone Kid. Obviously I'd like to use a "safe" container. And I've got to fit it all into something. Their food needs to be at the temperature they'll be eating it no heating it up.

Last year at Kid's preschool she went for "Lunch Bunch" once a week before her program started. I dropped her off so I was able to set up her lunch and open her containers. We came right from home so hot things were still hot and cold things were still cold. they were all about the lunch dessert and I felt like crap the first day when I hadn't sent one. Kid's new school?... yeah not big on the lunch dessert. In fact you can send no chocolate or cookies or refined products of any kind. What about a homemade cookie?... NO (I think this will be harder on me then her).

Okay but I digress... the real issue I'm having is what to pack her food in. So while strolling the aisles of Earth Fare (think local Whole Foods) I stumble upon this: Lunchopolois. Hmm... could it be perfect? Cute? check. Big? check. Made of lead free & PVC free plastic? check. Comes with reusable containers? check. Comes with a reusable bottle? check. But why is it made of hard plastic? Why is it in a health food store with the Sigg bottles when it is clearly made of polycarbonate plastic (even the label says so)? Now Whole Foods does not sell any plastic with BPA so I was kind of thinking Earth Fare would be similar. Is there something I don't know? Have they made a "new" kind of BPA free polycarbonate? I rushed home to research.

NO. They do not make a "new" food safe form of polycarbonate. While it would be great to buy the lead-free/PVC free lunch "box" what the hell difference does it make if you are packing your actual food in BPA laden plastic? This is the terrible plastic people! The kind that does in fact leech chemicals into your food and drinks. Why is this being sold as a "green" choice? It appears the fact that you can reuse the containers is what qualifies them as "green". The marketing of environmentally "friendly" products is about to send me over the edge. There are no clear labeling standards or regulations. This product isn't "green" it's factually toxic! And what's worse is it is being actively marketed as the thoughtful parent's lunch box of choice for their child.

So I'm back to the drawing board. If you have any ideas... and I mean really legitimately "green" products... let me know. I will need to send hot food some of the time (obviously not sending that in polycarbonate thank you very much!). Are there divided hot & cold lunch boxes? What about the badass construction crew style?


lucinda said...

What about the waxed paper chinese food containers. They aren't infinitely reuseable but I bet you could rinse and air dry them.

Robin said...

I don't have any suggestions, but it sure is a shame that lunch box isn't BPA free. It is so cute! Damn. I will be checking back to see what your commentors say. I would like a green option for my kiddos.

AshinMT said...

Mrs. F,
So i sit here reading your post and mean while a co-worker had brought me in some magazines she recieved. I open up a crate and barrell and low and behold. "New: Toronto Lunch Bags-" " Double-handled lunch bags in fashionable colors feature dual compartments for cold and hot food storage. Easy-clean polyester with nylon handles and foodsafe, pvc-free vinyl linding. Machine wash." Not sure if this is what you are looking for but its worth a shot, head to Crate and Barrell online and in the search bar look for #39043. Have a good day.

Laura said...

It seems like basically any lunch BOX is reusable, so your issue is just the containers. For my grownup lunches, I like the Corning sets like this, for example (though they have a lot of styles) that are glass bowls with a rubber cover. The glass is pretty strong - I've dropped them and been okay. Yes, it's plastic on the lid, but that's not too bad. And when you DO need to reheat something, you can take the lid off so the plastic doesn't leach chemicals.

Liz said...

Mrs. F -
Laptop Lunches. I'm in love with mine.

Kate said...

I'm admittedly horrible about keeping up with the safety recommendations (I'm sure I'm poisoning my kids slowly one way or the other), but saw something similar linked through Mighty Goods or Mighty Junior a couple weeks ago - Stainless Steel 3-tier lunch carrier. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, and I think stainless is still safe? Maybe?

Lauren said...

i bought a green foods supplement at whole foods once, when i got it home i noticed the second ingredient was partially hydrogenated soybean oil. i was SO mad! i took it back and they not only refunded my money they took the product off the shelf. it was a mistake that it had ended up on the shelf. i believe it's their policy to not carry items with PHOs.

they might not know what you do about the lunchopolis. you could tell them and they might pull it from their stores.

go edumacate them, Mrsf! ;)

michelline said...

Would this do?

Torey said...

I second Laptop Lunches, and would like to put in a plug for my employer who sells them!

www.treecitydiapers.com for anyone who cares!!

I'm not gonna lie that I make N's lunch in these sometimes, and there is a GREAT blog with lunch ideas too!

Definitely worth checking out!

And Mrs. F, as I was driving home from Target with my Starbucks in hand, I totally missed you! I would always look for your car driving Kid to and from school while in that neighborhood. I was bummed when I remembered you were gone!

megO said...

check out BUILT NY (REI) - it's made out of neoprene and like a wetsuit for your lunch. we use them every day. they also make 6-pack holders and wine bottle cozies...

Mrs Furious said...

Thanks for the research ladies!

Just got back from Target trying to track down the long and odd list of supplies for Kid's school... NIGHTMARE deserving it's own post.

I'm exhausted... I'll be back!!

Marilyn said...

OK, does anyone else think it's out of line for a school to dictate what you can give you kids for lunch? I can see encouraging a healthy lunch, but this seems like it's going too far.

Mrs Furious said...

It ticks me off too ;)
I feel like it's saying I can't make a good judgment for myself on what to feed my own children. I personally have no problem sending a choc milk w/Kid since I know it means she'll actually drink it all and not come home starving and in a terrible mood... but that's a no go.
Oddly enough there has been no mention of it being a "peanut free" school.

Anonymous said...

That is wild--I wonder if the school is trying to control undesirable behaviors through lunch (sugar, food coloring, etc.)...

Why am I such a rebel? Just the thought of that annoys me, LOL!

michelline said...

I personally have no problem sending a choc milk w/Kid since I know it means she'll actually drink it all and not come home starving and in a terrible mood... but that's a no go.

I remember when Tori was little, I was worried and asked the pediatrician about chocolate milk because that was ALL Tori would drink. He said, it's milk, isn't it? Sure white milk is better, because it has less sugar, but it's still milk and has the same nutrients.

I can't imagine being told what I can and cannot provide for my child to eat. BY A SCHOOL? that doesn't provide any meals? If it's that important to them, they should provide the foods they think are appropriate. How frustrated you must be, Mrs. F.

You should pack her a cookie :) A store bought Double Stuffed Oreo. Heck, send them in to the class to celebrate the first day of school, LOL.

michelline said...

Shoot, Liz. I didn't see your comment regarding the laptop lunches. Sigh. I thought I was helping ;)

Liz said...

I am so with you all on the school lunch uptight-ness. Oh, Asheville. Am biting my tongue right now. YES to the double stuffed oreo!!

Heather said...

Agreed. The school sounds a little sanctimonious -- which the Bay area is FULL of and it annoys me to no end.

I don't have any hard recommendations, besides these containers from Crate and Barrel (like the Corning Ware) http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.aspx?c=850&f=9430. Also Martha Stewart line at Kmart offered some that were easier to remove the lid.

BTW, there's no phthalates in ziplocs, though I hate using so many of them.

Also, could you weigh in on my post today about phthalates and clothes (and space bags)? Thanky kindly.

Smitty said...

It is settled. I am, without a doubt, the worst parent on the planet earth. We got ziploc containers, we drink out of all sorts of plastic cups, and in terms of our organic-ness....yeah. Not so much. Our mantra is "when in doubt...hot dogs. They are, after all, meat-like." You know those days...everything you put in front of him is ignored or hurled. Chicken nuggets are questionable-er than hot dogs, right?

All jokes aside, Mrs. F, I have learned an incredible amount about healthy foods and behaviors off of your site. Thanks much for your openness!

Mrs Furious said...

It's taken us a long time to get to this point only changing things as we found out about them.
Hey I was microwaving the fucking worst kind of plastic with Kid's baby food on it for crying out loud!!
FYI I'm still using #5 plastic kid's sippy & straw cups the "Take & Toss" First Years kind ... they're cheap and BPA free... and they don't leak.

Mrs Furious said...

I'm thinking that's why... they don't actually give an explanation.

Michelline & Liz,
Oh I'm thinking of putting chocolate milk in her thermos ;)

Deb said...

I'm so overwhelmed by the demands they're putting on you that I can only zero in on the most irksome piece to me: NO WATER?! That is insanity. I bet their eyes would pop out if you showed up with a gallon of water and asked them to keep it for you for the next month. (In a BPA-free container, of course.)

Good luck. Please tell us what you end up buying. I need to find something similar for Hubby, and I haven't had any luck locally yet.

Mrs Furious said...

I know...please... no freaking water!!
They even have some weird statement about how the Kindergarten doesn't have to meet the preschool standards so there is no refrigerator or water in the room. Come fucking on... this is the most expensive school in the city... get some goddamn water.

Mrs Furious said...

It appears Thermos has a bunch of badass stuff... for work... for kids... go here. Who knew? Plus you can get some of it at Target ;)

Marie said...

Ugh. No help on the container front, but while reading your post (and feeling like a good mommy cause we have bph free sippy cups now) it dawns on me that I have a TON of plastic plates and cups. Literally, like 3 dozen of each. Bought on clearance at Target so that I can use them at picnics and such rather than paper, thus being good to the environment.

So rather than being good, I think I have probably been poisoning my extended family slowly (hmm...sometimes not a bad thing...). So now what?? Am I supposed to serve them on GLASS?? I think not! They are either getting plastic (slowly poison) or paper (bad environment). Maybe I should let them vote!

Haley said...

OK, these are definitly not the variety of hippie that I hail from. No cookies?? WTF??? Free love and karmic peace pretty much DEPEND on cookies!

Julie said...

Oddly enough there has been no mention of it being a "peanut free" school. I know! I thought for sure it would be peanut free. A very good friend of mine relocated to Nashville from Boston and at her child's private school, they think she is totally making up the whole peanut allergy thing. It is unbelievable to hear the stories from her.

What?! Kid is not allowed chocolate milk at the school? Horizon makes the little milks in vanilla and strawberry, too.

I understand there being guidelines,but really when you are paying THEM the money for the school, you should have more leeway.

good luck.

Deb said...

Oooh... Target. Dangerous!!

How's this for coincidence? I got this month's issue of Family Time Magazine and was perusing it while I was waiting for some pasta to boil, and they had an article on this very thing! Some options:

http://www.shopessentials.net/eshop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=180_192 (the sandwich boxes are really cute, although I'm not sure they're reusable)

www.laptoplunches.com (which I think someone already mentioned)

And just in case Kid wants interesting hard-boiled eggs:


Gigs said...

I got these for my kids this summer.

They are PBA free and no-spill, which I love. My kids drink so much more water now as we just keep them in the fridge.

Kid Art said...

Melissa at Suburban Bliss wrote about Bento boxes last year for school lunch solutions - maybe that would be something to try?

The school's list of food requirements is crazy - who is paying the tuition??!

The thought of school supply shopping at Target in August is miserable. Good luck!

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