So many people want to know how to go zero waste. All I can say is one step at a time. It is easier to be consistent in one area that you feel confident in than plunge into a sometimes quite expensive world. As part of my No Spend Challenge I quickly realised that by saving money on eating out, I was also saving a lot of single use plastic from ending up in landfill. A few zero waste alternatives to eating out could provide me with money saving solutions as well. Zero waste snacks seemed like the perfect solution!
What are ‘zero waste snacks’?
In my mind one of three things;
- You are using up food which you might otherwise be thrown away
- Ensure you are buying in a way as to reduce packaging
- You are using zero waste products for safe storage and transport of food.
Zero waste snacks have transformed my journey to zero waste. Gone are the days of misery and punishment, the self flagellation of healthy but bland food is over!
Food which might otherwise be thrown away!
Leftover sweets chocolate brownie
These Chocolate Brownies are pure filth and mean that you don’t have to worry about leftover sweets from all of those kids parties. It is a nice one to get the kids involved with as well. I’m not sure who I am kidding as I have no kids, but you get the idea! Eat as many sweets as you like but this one is a good one for using them all up, we did this one in a big way after Halloween!
Who am I kidding though sweets don’t really have shelf life and we could have just used them the following year! So now for a genuinely good idea as given to me by The Baking Nutritionist
Banana & Blueberry Bread – Dairy-free, lactose-free and vegan-friendly
This Banana and Blueberry Bread is a great way to use up spotty black bananas and berries that have gone soft. In fact, the spotter the banana, the nicer the bread because ripe bananas taste sweeter.
While the combination of banana and blueberry works tremendously here, you can use other berries that are at your disposal such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or a mixture. This recipe is vegan-friendly, dairy-free and lactose-free. If you are not catering for any specific dietary requirements you could use milk in place of the water. If you have milk that has past its best-before date, use it here. The acid that forms in milk when it turns sour helps the bread to rise, like buttermilk.
Hope you enjoy! For other recipe inspiration, check out my website where I show lots of creative ways with store-cupboard ingredients: www.thebakingnutritionist.com
300g wholemeal flour 50g oats or muesli 150g self-raising flour 50g sugar 1 tsp mixed spice 30g seeds (e.g. chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) A handful of blueberries 350ml water, approx. 3 bananas, mashed
1. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Mix together the flours, sugar, spice, seeds and blueberries.
Make a well in the centre and add in the water.
Fold in the banana. If the mixture if very wet at this point, add in a 3-4 tbsp of self-raising flour.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin, sprinkle over some sugar, spice and oats (optional) and bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven
Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.
Zero waste alternatives – reduce packaging!
I am a sucker for a bag of crisps. Cake I can take or leave but a savoury snack is right up my street. I also have the curvy figure of someone who eats a lot of high fat snacks! But I have discovered that my zero waste lunch box has more than enough space for some cheaper alternatives like….
We buy all of our popping corn from
Buywholefoodsonline.cu.uk - shop All Categories here the reason we recommend them is that you can get organic food very easily and also buy in bulk. When you buy in bulk ensure that you have all of your zero waste food storage methods in place first. I’m not sure how many packets of crisps I save a year by swapping out for popcorn, and perhaps I am slightly ashamed to add it all up. I think I must save a fair few calories and e numbers too though!
You will need;
50g popping corn (works out to around 15p)
a teaspoon of coconut oil
any flavours you like – salt and pepper, chilli flakes, brown sugar, melted chocolate, paprika the list goes on and you will get more and more inventive as you go!
Simply melt the coconut butter into a pan, toss in the popping corn and cover. I sort of move it around a bit once it is in. If you start on a high heat and then reduce it a bit it stops them from burning. You will then hear the popping of corn. Do not be tempted to open up for a look! There will be a crescendo of pops then it will trail off to once every five to ten seconds. then remove from the heat and you are safe to open up. So for that little amount of effort you can get 15 pence worth of popcorn, which is about the right amount for two adults to really gorge themselves. For a deep look into the health benefits of popcorn have a look at here .
When I add the flavour it just needs to be stirred through. So if I am making a zero waste lunchbox these would be included!
When I make mash I tend to leave the skins on the spuds, but sometimes I have a fussy eater who wants them removing. It is a great chance to lay out your skins on a baking tray and then add olive oil and garlic, or salt and chilli flakes. These make great zero waste snacks without too much effort. I think it is a bit hit and miss depending on the thickness of the peels, but I go for shoving the oven up high and then only cooking for around ten minutes.
Slightly stale bread
Very similar to the above, just slice into soldiers and sprinkle with olive oil and some garlic, a little rock salt and away we go under the grill or in the oven. Then you will have perfect zero waste snacks for the lunchbox in the morning.
Make your own bread
We can easily see that most supermarket bread comes in single use plastics so why not try Seedy Brown Bread? Ideal for a bake at home!
Leftovers as snacks or main meals
I love a ‘Spanish Omelette’ in the form of leftover potatoes, thinly sliced then layered with onions and a few other leftover veg in a large saucepan. Then you pour a few free range eggs over the top and let it all cook down. I love it so much that I deliberately cook too much in order to create leftovers. I have even written an article about the Zero Waste Kitchen !
Zero waste breakfast ideas
If you are like me, you will leave for work before having a chance to grab anything to eat, so Amy at www.thebakingnutritionist.com has a few cunning ideas! Strawberry and banana smoothie ideal if you have a good quality
BPA free Water Bottle 20oz-800ml, especially if you have a kitchen at work and can wash it out and use for water all day long too. For something a bit more filling try her Overnight oats, ideal to take to work and eat hot or cold. I have a set of
Airtight Lid 750ml Food Storage Container as they can be microwaved and put through a dishwasher. You could also store her
Granola bars in any zero waste lunch box! Let’s be honest with ourselves though as some of these may be good ideas for breakfast or even lunch, actually they are perfect as healthier zero waste snacks too! Nothing wrong with trying some Oats and seeds pancakes to bring in to work as well!
More zero waste snack ideas!
I love snacks in my lunchbox and it being a zero waste lunch box shouldn’t make any difference! So what about some oat and raisin cookies? Nice and healthy with a bit of naughty thrown in! For a super cute lunch box look no further than this one
from Japanese company PuTwo! A slightly more grown up version of a lunchbox!
IF your family love nuts and dried fruit, why not give your homemade trail mix a bit of a lift with cold smoking? We love the flavours and you can make it as intense as your family like!
Zero waste snacks include drinks!
Bottles of pop come in all sorts of sizes and the reality is you don’t want to carry a large heavy bottle around with you! So have we all heard of
SodaStream ? We used to have one when I was younger and we could make whichever drink we wanted and only when we wanted. Eliminating all waste and much fewer single use plastic bottles. Although ours in the ’90’s didn’t look quite as cool as this one!
A zero waste kit for your zero waste snacks!
There is no point in being super with your preparation and making all of these yummy snacks if we then just sling them in some cling film! So I hope to show you how to put together a list of zero waste products. I think they make good wedding gifts as they give a couple a good start towards a zero waste life.
Must have zero waste products
For those of us who make sandwiches for work, rock on! Here is a pretty sweet beeswax wrap which can proudly state
No Cling Film Here!
We live in good old Blighty and may I be the first to admit that sometimes I want a luxury
hot chocolate whilst at work. Just to wash away the chill! My husband even likes to take hot soup from home to the park when he is working from home! So we have a pair of
Food Flasks the ones linked to are our favourite because again they are BPA Free and worth spending that bit extra on as the savings are real!!
Any grown up lunch box would need to be microwave safe, dishwasher safe and be able to be used in the freezer too. To be a true zero waste lunch box it will need to also be BPA free and long lasting! I love this one
PuTwo Lunch Box 2 Tiers Bento Box BPA Free as it also comes with reusable cutlery so you can take it out of the office to sit by the canal and eat in the great outdoors!
So the best zero waste products for a snack-a-holic are
A Lunch Box
Set of 6 Beeswax Wraps
Thermos Flask, 1.2 L
750ml Food Storage Container 10 Pack - Leakproof Microwave Freezer Dishwasher Safe with Lid Vents
Stainless Steel Water Bottle & Drinks Bottle - 24 Hrs Cold
Motivation and ideas
These zero waste products are designed to be long lasting and will serve you for many years. Think how much money you would save on coffee alone in the time! Then think about how many single use cups you have saved, even ones which can be recycled have a heavy carbon footprint. Nice gifts for those who are starting new jobs or are starting their journey to zero waste! You can see that I have chosen affordable options as well. I tend to think of my No Spend Challenge as a really good starting point, but the reality is if I spend a little now and save consistently through the year, isn’t that a better idea?
I hope to have given you a start for how to go zero waste. It is a journey and not to be rushed, so try adopting some of these ideas and see where it takes you!