If we want to combat household waste, we need to get the younger generation involved. Lecturing children about wastefulness is much less effective at making good habits fun and easy. Here are a few handy tips for getting your kids to join the fight against food waste.
1. Teach kids about food
Teaching children about where their food comes from is the single best route to raising food savvy kids. Take them to your local butchers and greengrocer (or even a nearby farm), so they can see the effort that goes into producing food. Start a kitchen garden and get them growing simple things such as Alfalfa sprouts. The act of watching a seed turn into something edible is a powerful lesson in how precious food is. Get them involved in cooking when you can. It can be a fun activity and helps them get them invested in the meal. You might even find they start nagging you to finish everything on your plate!
2. Combat fussy eating
If your child seems to dislike something new every week try some tricks to combat fussy eating. Giving everyone in the household three ingredients to dislike helps you avoid serving things that will be discarded and encourages children to be selective about what they avoid. When all else fails, distraction is key. Have fun with how you plate meals to get children to eat everything up. Try making a forest scene with broccoli, or a smiley face with cherry tomatoes and runner beans.
3. Start with smaller portions
We tend to load kids plates up, only for the majority of their meal to get tossed away. Start by giving them small portions, since you can always serve them more when they’re finished. It also means you can easily store their leftovers, meaning less time spent making child-friendly meals.
4. Plan and batch cook meals
Be smart about your weekly meal plans. Yesterday’s pasta can become today’s mac and cheese, while batch cooked dishes like bean salad and fruit crumble store well in the fridge and mean you have healthy meals on hand for days. If you’ve gone overboard you don’t have to eat that lasagna all week: freeze it in portions to avoid springing for takeout next time the fridge is bare.
5. Pack smart lunchboxes
Keep an eye on what is getting left in your kid’s lunch boxes and adjust accordingly. Use reusable containers for food and drinks to cut down on waste and plastics and make leftovers into lunches. If they keep coming back with half-eaten fruit, try cutting it up to make it easier to consume. Studies have shown that being offered sliced apples made children up to 61% more likely to eat them!