We love getting nude, even when it’s 10 degrees outside! Obviously I mean we love to get our FOOD nude…right? The concept is so simple and so effective with wins all ‘round so we wanted to get you on board. It’s one of our 5 guiding principles for packing a healthy lunchbox and it’s honestly easier than it sounds once you take the leap.
What is Nude Food?
Nude Food is essentially the concept of packing food for your kids without any unnecessary packaging or wrapping. Choosing not to buy bulk packs of small packs of food in supermarkets is the first place to start and you can progress to sending nude sandwiches without cling wrap – with the right lunchbox, it will be fine, we promise! That sounds hard you say…Why should we bother? Honestly, it is actually easier, and there are lots of reasons why we should make the effort anyway.
An environmental no-brainer
When we talk about taking small steps for the planet, this one seems too simple and easy to ignore. I’m just going to list a couple to give you an idea:
#waronwaste Landfill is a for-real, no-debate environmental issue. The more of those little plastic packets we chuck in the bin, the bigger the problem. There is truly no excuse for adding to the problem in this way.
Plastic Oceans/Bush Whether they have dropped out of pockets, been left on the ground or fallen out of a full school bin, it doesn’t take much for those empty packets to find their way into bushland, oceans, or drains. It feels silly to talk about those tiny bags becoming an environmental catastrophe, but do a quick search for plastic ocean and you’ll start to get the picture.
Production waste You can so easily reduce your carbon footprint by reducing demand for goods that have been produced in a factory using energy our planet doesn’t really have to spare.
Sustainability is entwined in every aspect of the Australian Curriculum. Help your kids actually have their own impact on this crucial issue and talk to them about why we do Nude Food.
Keeps your treat portions in check and provides versatility
Treats are an important part of any lunchbox… as long as they are kept in the right proportion to the food that will actually provide energy and nutrients. Kids really only need a very small thing to look forward to, and often pre-packed goodies bought in a supermarket are bigger than they need to be for small people. And as kids get older, they may need more. Buying in bulk and splitting out into reusable containers (or even directly into lunchboxes) gives you that versatility.
It goes without saying that all that extra packaging is a cost to companies they are all too willing to pass on to the consumer. Compare a 120g bag of a leading popcorn with a 6-pack of 78g packets. The 6-pack costs $5.92 per 100g and the larger bag costs only $3 per 100g!
If something needs to go into a packet, it has almost always been processed in some way. If you, like us, are trying to bring your food intake back to a simpler, less processed, more pure form, then nuding up your food is the way to go. Breaking free of the habit of these items seems hard at first, but just incorporate the mindset into your shopping and suddenly you’ll start seeing alternatives to packaged goods everywhere. The case against processed foods is long, and there is a post coming soon on that!
How to pack it
Going nude requires investment in the right tools. Get your Nude Food arsenal in order with a few key items:
The right lunchbox: There are many lunchbox alternatives out there to help. Think about what you most regularly pack for your child’s lunch and make sure there is space and versatility for those items. Secondly, get the size right. Too big, and everything will find a way to combine, too small and that’s just annoying! Finally, each compartment in the box must have a cover that sits snugly over that section to stop spillage. These do not need to be individual covers, they can be incorporated in various ways into the lunchbox. For example, if your kids are sandwich eaters, having a lunchbox with a dedicated sandwich section will keep their sandwich, well, sandwich-shaped and the filling on the inside. Some to try are: From Sistema try the Cube Box, Slimline Quaddie, or Lunchtub; Yumbox Bento Lunchbox; Planetbox; or Nude Food Movers. A Sistema Medium Split Clip box also does the trick without all the frills. We’ll be reviewing the best lunchboxes for you soon.
Reusable tubs and bags: Great for adding wet snacks to boxes, or just keeping things seperate, if that’s what you like. Purchase a set of reusable containers or re-sealing bags that fit into the larger lunchbox or bag.
A food thermos: These are perfect for toting salads or leftover dinner that needs to be kept warm or cool ’til lunch.
Sandwich wraps: A good place to start if you or your kids can’t wrap your head around sending your sandwich unwrapped.
Baking paper: A little strip of baking paper, folded in half and tied around wraps, sandwiches, bundles of veg etc. can help keep things in order and stop sushi or wraps unfurling en route to school.
An open mind: I grew up with plastic wrapped around everything. So it took a while to realise that it’s not strictly necessary. Take the plunge and talk to your kid about what works and what doesn’t.
Make life easier by prepping up your snacks for the week over the weekend. Make snack packs prepared as below, and peel and cut your veggies into a large box for the fridge. If, like me, this is the last way you want to spend your Sunday, just spend an extra 5 minutes on Monday morning getting the Crunch & Sip ready to go and you will be patting yourself on the back for the rest of the week. The added bonus here is you can safely get the kids to do their own lunchboxes.
Nude Food Ideas
- Switch out a pack of cheese & crackers for a little reusable tub filled with slices of their favourite cheese and a few crackers from a larger pack.
- Buy a party size pack of chips/popcorn/pretzels (whatever takes their fancy) and pack a mix of a couple of the less healthy with a few more of a healthier option such as plain rice crackers
- Sultanas don’t need to come in a tiny box, just add a few directly into the lunchbox – go on, you can do it!
- Our favourite option is to make your own where possible; mini muffins, energy balls or bars, popcorn, muesli trail mix, cheese puff pastry twists, spiced pita chips etc. Add a tub of homemade dip such as taramasalata, hummus, zucchini tzatziki, mixed vegie dip etc packed into a reusable container.
Get your school on board and make a big difference
I admit that between Crunch & Sip and Nude Food, and the actual making of lunches on a daily basis, I was at first a non-believer. But once our school made a competition of which class was the best at Nude Food every week, I tried a little harder – only to find that it is actually easier to do.
Our school had our Environment Officers check the kids’ lunchboxes on Wednesdays and the class with the least amount of packaging won the golden lunchbox each week! It was a simple concept and worked a treat to get people like me to try Nude Food.
www.nudefoodday.com.au has resources for schools as well as co-ordinating Nude Food Month for schools to participate in and win prizes.
Good luck and let’s get nude!
Love, Ali x