0
0 In Article/ Reviews/ Sustainable Living

Fluf Organic Cotton Reusable Lunch Bag Review and Nut-Free Energy Bar Recipe

With both the girls at school it’s had me thinking about what I can do to keep things as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. I’ve successfully managed to eliminate tin foil and cling film thanks to using my Abeego Beeswax Wraps but finding a swish lunch bag that cares for the environment is even tougher. Cue the Fluf organic cotton reusable lunch bag range. They sell a colourful array of mini backpacks, lunch bags, reusable snack packs, and much more.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was sent products from Fluf for my own personal use and to write a review if I wished. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.  If you buy anything from the Fluf or A Slice of Green site I will not be at any personal gain. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.

About Fluf

Fluf came about in 2005, founded by the former lawyer, Nathalie Butterfield and interior designer, Terra Kushner, making eco-friendly cushions. Now, Fluf make a range of high-quality organic reusables that are healthy and safe for little ones and big ones alike.

The Fluf team are all about sustainability, all of their products are made to be as durable as possible and are machine washable too. But they don’t stop there – all of their products are ethically made in China. Social compliance audits are conducted regularly to make sure that the workers are protected – they have a safe working environment, are paid fair wages, have health insurance and are given sick and maternity leave benefits if needed.

Fluf are also currently supporting Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl‘ campaign, which helps to keep girls in school and out of unsafe marriages.

Fluf only uses certified organic cotton which means no harmful pesticides or herbicides are used. Organic cotton farming reduces the number of toxins that end up in our air, ground, and water keeping our environment safe and our food supply healthy. All materials used are certified free of AZO, BPA, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and phthalates. Fluf are also currently supporting Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl‘ campaign, which helps to keep girls in school and out of unsafe marriages. For every Fluf Girl Power bag sold $1.00 is donated with Global Affairs matching this by 10:1 This means that for every bag sold an amazing $11 is raised for the campaign.

If this photo of Anya with her Lil B Unicorn Backpack riding an inflatable unicorn doesn’t make you smile then I don’t know what will…

The Dangers of Modern Day Lunchboxes

As parents, I’m sure you all take your time to make your child’s packed lunch as healthy as possible but were you aware of the dangers of their beloved cartoon character emblazoned lunchboxes and lunch bags? No? Neither was I. My older 2 children ate from them daily for their entirety of primary school and as you can imagine I feel incredibly guilty.

Most lunch boxes and lunch bags are made from PVC and vinyl linings. Plastics contain endocrine/hormone disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals such as BPA, cadmium, lead, organotins, and phthalates. In fact, that shiny silver vinyl lining has been treated with phthalates to soften the material. And it’s not just lunchboxes; it’s water bottles, ring binders, vinyl raincoats, notebooks, pens, and even umbrellas.

If any of your kids’ belongings contain polycarbonate or polystyrene it’s likely they contain these toxic chemicals too. It’s not just the items themselves that are dangerous, but also the production – so please bear in mind that wherever your plastic items have come from the communities that surround those plants are at great risk.

Our kids are in contact with phthalates daily – they can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, be ingested or inhaled via dust, and then of course by direct oral contact. An emergency ban by the EU was put on six different kinds of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP) used within toys and child-care products that can be put in the mouth by a child (baby bottles etc.) after many PVC toys within the UK were found to contain phthalate levels of 24 – 42%. Sadly in 2016, despite this ban, the EU voted in favour of the continued use of the banned toxic chemical DEHP (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) in recycled plastics. Even the way our food is produced means that we have been exposed to these harmful chemicals.

Earlier last year the EU voted to restrict the use of the 4 phthalates; butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) in consumer goods altogether. That’s great news but it will take up to 18 months to come into play. To find out what kinds of lunchboxes and drinks bottles are safe, click here.fluf-organic-cotton-reusable-lunch-bag-review-and-nut-free-energy-bar-recipe-3

The Fluf Reusable Cotton Range

Before I even waited for a reply from Fluf I decided to buy the girls a couple of their Classic Lunch Bags from A Slice of Green so we now have 3 Classic Lunch Bags, a  Lil B Pack, and 4 Snack Packs and we absolutely love them. They all get used and it’s great for the girls to be able to mix and match which bags they’re having on any given day. It also means I can give myself a little rest when it comes to doing the laundry!

Fluf use zips, snap closures, and velcro to fasten making them quick and easy to use for younger children.

All of the bags are made from a double layer of sustainably sourced Chinese/Turkish 100% organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and water resistant, food safe polyester lining. The prints themselves are hand painted before being silk screened, printed with water-based, heavy metal free, and biodegradable pigments. Fluf use zips, snap closures, and velcro to fasten making them quick and easy to use for younger children.

The Fluf Classic Lunch Bag and a fully loaded Snack Pack…

The Classic Lunch Bag

The Fluf Classic Lunch Bag is a super roomy, lightweight, organic cotton bag with a snap closure making it easy to open and close for little ones. Although it’s great for younger kids there’s plenty of space (11″ x 8″ x 4.5″) for teens and adults too making this bag super versatile. The tested food-safe, polyester water-resistant lining and breathable cotton mean that you won’t have to deal with a stinky lunch bag at the end of the day. The Classic Lunch Bag is available in over 20 designs meaning there’s definitely going to be something there for anyone.

Scarlett is 13 so I didn’t think she’d take much of an interest in the Fluf range but when she saw the Grey Lunch version of this bag she would not stop going on about it. She’s at an age now where I want her to start taking responsibility for her own possessions and making her own lunches and she’s really adapting well to it. She won’t always clean out her bag but when she does she finds it easy enough to do without any guidance. She also has the Panda one too but doesn’t use it as much as the other one.

Anya got the Chirp! version of the Classic Lunch Bag as she has a thing for birds. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen her talking to the birds in bird language. Sometimes she even speaks to me in bird language. Yes, she really loves birds. Anyway, she’s been enjoying using this bag a lot this week, although she won’t carry it to and from school like she does the Lil B Pack.

The Classic Lunch Bag is available over at Fluf for $21.95 and if you’re UK based at A Slice of Green for £18.00 (although it’s now on sale for £14.50).

fluf-organic-cotton-reusable-lunch-bag-review-and-nut-free-energy-bar-recipe-2

The Lil B Pack

The Lil B Pack is perfect for kids that have a long distance to cover to get to school and like to have their hands free. It has cotton canvas straps that are fully extendable making them suitable for all ages. It has a zipper closure but the zip is super chunky meaning even little ones won’t struggle to open and close it. There’s also an interior pocket for a water bottle, or even an ice pack, which made the bag easier for Anya to carry in the mornings – the contents didn’t swish about at all.

The backpack isn’t as roomy as the Classic – measuring at 10″ x 6.5″ x 4″ it’s still pretty roomy anyway. It doubles up as a great school backpack for little ones and for tweens and teens this would make a really cute backpack for going out and about with friends to hold all of their essentials. Again it has a water-resistant lining and is machine washable too.

Obviously, Anya opted for the Unicorn Lil B Pack – I mean what kid doesn’t love a good unicorn?! Personally, I would have totally gone for the Baby Shark as it’s absolutely hilarious but that’s just me. She really loves it and it is great to see her being able to be independent enough to walk to school with it on her shoulders without me having to carry a million things and hold her hand (the school run struggle is real).

The only problem we have experienced so far is that the adjustable straps don’t stay in place and will wiggle out a bit. For a 5 year old that small wiggle room can mean a pretty loose backpack, for older children it would be such a small amount of space it probably wouldn’t be noticeable. Anya still loves it though and often carries it by the carry handle so all in all it hasn’t been a big deal. She’s really keen to get some fabric pens and colour in the unicorn more which again makes these cotton bags so versatile and easy to personalise.

The Lil B Pack is available from Fluf at $31.95, or if you’re in the UK like me from A Slice of Green at £26.00. 

The Fluf ‘Meow’ Snack Pack peaking out…

The Snack Packs

Fluf launched their amazing organic cotton Snack Packs in 2011 and they are my favourite of all of the products we received. Again they come with the amazingly vibrant yellow, water-resistant lining and are fairly roomy – 6″ x 6.25″ x 0.75″. They are perfect for popping in unwrapped sandwiches and a whole host of snacks – I’ve managed to fit in a couple of my bars, and 2 or 3 pieces of fruit in there! The velcro closure makes it super easy for little hands to open and close which has made the transition into school easier for Anya. These snack packs aren’t just limited to school lunches though – you can now travel in style without messy snacks destroying your favourite handbag.

I’ve also been taking these out on our long walks too – they’re ideal for picnics amd even taking your own snacks to the movies to keep rustling at a minimum. (Any parent knows that pain all too well I’m sure!) The girls both really love their little snack packs and Anya is obsessed with the cat on the front her ‘Meow’ set. I’m not gonna lie I kinda am too. The fact that these can pop in the washing machine or just run under the tap to rinse clean and leave to dry overnight is an absolute godsend. There’s nothing worse than a stinky lunch box.

If you’d like to bag yourself a set of 2 snack packs then head on over to Fluf and grab them for a modest $18.00 or from the UK store A Slice of Green for £15.00.

fluf-organic-cotton-reusable-lunch-bag-review-and-nut-free-energy-bar-recipe-4

The Verdict

Just by looking at the cheesy picture above I’m sure you can see that the girls have been loving their Fluf gear. So far all of the bags have outperformed my expectations – just being able to turn them inside out at the end of the day and give them a quick wash under the tap then leaving them to air dry in the evening is way easier than the old style insulated lunch bags. I remember that they were virtually impossible to keep clean due to the food getting caught in the crevices but there’s none of that nonsense with Fluf.

The fact that they are so easy to look after has meant that my eldest daughter has been able to gain a little independence and learn about the importance of maintaining the hygiene and quality of her possessions.

As the cotton is pre-shrunk it means the bags are also fully machine washable so if you do forget about them overnight or even for a couple of days you can simply rinse them then pop in the wash. I’ve been giving them a machine wash once every fortnight just in case and have sadly noticed some fading in the print but it hasn’t been too harsh and if anything just gives them a great rustic look.

The lining of all of the bags is fully water resistant as I mentioned before and I can certainly vouch for this. On the way to school, one morning Anya’s Dopper water bottle leaked all over everything – the contents of her Snack Packs were thankfully completely dry and the teacher mopped up the inside of her lunch bag meaning everything was good as new and she still had her lunch in tact. I was so impressed!

The fact that they are all so easy to look after has meant that my eldest daughter has been able to gain a little independence and learn about the importance of maintaining the hygiene and quality of her possessions.

Because the bags are super roomy I think I’ll be investing in some stainless steel reusable ice packs to keep their lunches cool and safe. Along with some wax food wraps for the messier items it would be the best school lunch set up.

I love that Fluf offer so many different variations when it comes to design that appeal to both young and old and are easy for younger kids or those with special needs to open and close independtly. It’s something that’s often overlooked by a lot of companies. I’m so pleased with the products and I’m definitely going to be buying more in the future when the kids get bored of these (if they ever do)!

UPDATE: It’s now been a full school year since and my girls are still using their Fluf bags. They’ve survived multiple machine washes and have come out with a little more fading but this was to be expected and it hasn’t gotten much worse. I’m beyond impressed!

If you’re looking to transition to a zero waste lifestyle whilst raising kids then you’ll love the ease and versatility that Fluf’s products provide. Have you got any zero waste school tips? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, and if you want to keep up to date with my delicious recipes and new blog posts then sign up for my newsletter (and I’ll love you forever – shhh!).

fluf-organic-cotton-reusable-lunch-bag-review-and-nut-free-energy-bar-recipe-5

Nut-Free Energy Bars (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Raw Vegan)

With schools being nut-free it’s hard to provide healthy energy-boosting snacks for your kids. I’ve come up with the perfect solution – a chewy nut-free energy bar that’s packed with coconut, seeds, dried fruits, and raw chocolate, making it super tasty and a fun texture to eat too. On the plus side, you’ll also save yourself plenty of money by making them in bulk and you’ll be able to bag a few of them to take to work for yourself too. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the constraints of this recipe – if your kids don’t like tropical fruits you can sub for dried berries or banana and the lime juice can be switched up for lemon juice too. If you don’t have time to dip these in chocolate then don’t worry about it because these are delicious on their own anyway.

These Nut-Free Energy Bars are packed with healthy fats from seeds, carbohydrate rich fruit, and raw chocolate (because chocolate) making it the ultimate school-friendly snack.

Your kids will get a nice balance of nutrition from these due to the seeds – think protein, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6. You can fully omit the coconut sugar and although I’ve given the option for agave nectar I would personally stay clear if your kids will be eating these daily. I don’t feel like much sugar is even needed but I do know that some kids might be used to sweeter tasting foods which is why I’ve given a little range for you to have a play around with.

Nut-Free Energy Bars (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Raw Vegan)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 16-32
Ingredients
For the bars:

  • 100g dried pineapple
  • 100g dried mango
  • 200g desiccated coconut
  • ¼ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflowers, flax, sesame)
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp to ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp coconut sugar/maple syrup/raw honey/agave nectar
  • Juice ½ - 1 lime
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric (for colour)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the raw chocolate:

  • 100g cacao paste
  • 100g cacao butter
  • 2-4 tbsp agave nectar/coconut sugar/maple syrup/raw honey
Instructions
  1. Combine your dried pineapple and mango into a bowl and pour over freshly boiled water, you want enough to cover the fruit completely. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Add your coconut, seeds, water, sweetener, lime juice, turmeric, and sea salt into a large mixing bowl then using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon mix together until fully combined.
  3. Drain your dried fruit - it should feel plump and soft to the touch. Add to a food processor and blend on high until you reach a lumpy paste-like consistency. Add the paste to your coconut mixture and fold together until fully incorporated.
  4. Spread the mixture out onto a lined dehydrator tray (I use a silicone mat) using damp hands then use an offset spatula to spread it evenly until it is roughly ¼"-1/2" thick. Using your spatula neaten up the side until you create a nice rectangle. Take a sharp knife and slice carefully into equal sized squares or rectangles (or both!). If using an oven please refer to the notes at the end of this recipe.
  5. Place into your dehydrator at 50°C/115°F for 8 hours. Remove the tray from the dehydrator and place another tray on top of the bars with the mesh side facing them. Quickly flip over onto the mesh then return to the dehydrator for another 4-15 hours depending upon the texture you're wanting. The less amount of time your bars are in the chewier they will be. The longer the crispier. I personally like them to be crispy on the outer edges and chewy on the inside which can be achieved with a further 7 hours on the 2nd dehydration. Remove the bars and cut once again to separate.
  6. Melt your raw chocolate ingredients over a bain-marie/double boiler and leave the chocolate to cool to room temperature so that it is thick enough to enrobe the bars. Pour the chocolate into a jar with an opening big enough to fit the bars into. Half or fully dip each one until coated then place on a silicone or parchment lined baking tray. Place into the freezer for 5 minutes to set then remove and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Notes
If using an oven to dehydrate your bars you will want to leave the oven on its lowest setting and leave the door slightly ajar. It's best to make these either overnight or start them early in the morning but please take note that your oven will be out of action for the day! When spreading the mixture you can spread it onto a baking tray which has been lined with either a silicone mat or non-stick parchment paper. When it comes to flipping the bars you may want to do this onto a 2nd lined tray.

If you're only half dipping your bars or drizzling them with chocolate then halve the ingredients when making your raw chocolate.

Please note that this recipe makes 16 large rectangular bars or 32 medium sized squares!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: