As parents, we must raise our children to be responsible citizens who are aware of their surroundings. It has become important to sensitize them about compassion and wielding their privilege responsibly. One of the foremost values for kids to learn is reducing food wastage.
According to the FAO and seconded by the UNEP, almost 1/3rd of the world’s food is wasted- either by expiration, discarding, or through natural causes like short shelf life. Hoarding tendencies cause food to spoil and hence, it is wasted. This happens while the poor half of the world lives in utter penury and is starved for food.
Therefore, it is really important to teach kids the values of reducing food wastage. And so, Podium School brings top tips for parents to impart these important values to their children. Check them out now!
Super tips to Reduce Food Wastage
Limit Snacking before Dinner
Kids have a habit of eating between meals or having mid-time snacks, though these snacks are important as
- Kids are active throughout the day. As a result, they need more food which can supply them with the required energy.
- At a growing age, children need more nutrition to support body and muscle development.
But more important is eating these snacks mindfully and sensibly under supervision, in a portion-controlled and healthy way. Without these, children tend to eat more and can negatively impact their dinners, ending up eating less and wasting food.
Pack Lunch Smartly
Keep an eye on the quantity of leftovers. Talk to your child about how leftovers can be utilized to make a whole new snack. If a child can’t have a full portion then size it accordingly. You may add a small portion of another snack in case your child still feels hungry.
Reduce Portion Size
Encourage kids to take less food on first serving and if they are hungry after finishing what they had taken, they can have a second helping. If they are too young to serve themselves, serve them small portions. As a result they would spill less and eat more.
Discourage kids from overloading their plates. This healthy habit can help them judge their actual portion size and hence, reduce wastage of food. Parents must check if their child is overeating or not. Make a ground rule of eating enough, but not going overboard with it.
Plan Before Outing
If you have to go out for dinner or get-togethers, make sure that you give your kids a light snack. Or skip the snack altogether so that they may enjoy their meal fully rather than wasting what’s on their plate. At buffets, remind kids to take only what they can eat and not all they can eat.
Teach Kids the Importance of Food
In today’s commercial world, kids don’t have a good understanding of where the food comes from and how much effort is put into producing every morsel, how scarce is the reasonable quality of food and how poor people are deprived of it.
Parents should take children to the farm to tell them about farming and arrange a farm visit. You may also help them plant a vegetable or a herb, and ask them to take care of it or start with a compost bin.
Be a Role Model
It is very easy for kids to follow us rather than follow our instructions. It all starts with parents being good role models for their kids to emulate. Therefore, if you desire that your kid isn’t throwing half of their food into the bin, you must start with yourself.
Observe your habits and rectify them wherever necessary. Kids are more observant than you think. They see and look up to every small habit of yours. Therefore it is wise to keep a check on yourself regarding reducing food wastage.
By simply making a list with weekly meals will help us reduce food waste. We can decide the quantity before cooking referring to the planned meals of the day.
It can also help us to incorporate our child’s preferences for the various dishes accordingly, spacing nutritious meal options and not-so-healthy meals. With this, you kill two birds with one stone- your kids end up with a diverse palate and you save up on all the hassles which come with cooking immediately.
Smart Grocery Shopping
If you have a plan, make that shopping list and shop for the right quantity. The shopping list should be based on how many meals you will eat at home. If you buy not more than what you expect to use, you won’t waste food and use it within the shelf-life duration.
Love your Leftovers
If your child is full before finishing their meal, store the leftovers properly to snack on them later. Leftovers can also be used in the next meal. Refrigerate them covered or in air-tight boxes so that they are fresh the second time you use them. It is a real budget saver.
Make Food Interesting and Fun to Eat
Parents can add an extra flavor to the leftover making it interesting and giving it a new look. Try making them visually appealing. You can make one or two more light dishes with it making kids enjoy various tastes and textures.
A little inspiration and understanding of the importance of food habits can go a long way. Children should be inspired to share their food with peers or others in need in case they feel that food is too much to finish.
If you can’t reduce the wasted food, encourage kids to compost the leftovers rather than throwing away.
Sharing is Caring
Love and food are meant for sharing and not for wasting. Parents must inspire their children by donating food, in case some is left after big parties or family functions. A lot of NGOs and websites pick the food from your place and distribute it to the needy. A few examples are Donateinkind, nofoodwaste, etc.
Therefore, Podium School encourages parents to impart the aforementioned lessons which come with food. Food is an important source- and those who have enough access to it are lucky enough. But privilege doesn’t give us the license to waste it. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘There’s enough for everyone’s need, but not for anyone’s greed.’
No matter how much you crave to eat at those ‘all-you-can-have’ buffets, it is notorious to waste copious amounts of food which can easily fill a hungry stomach. Also, eating judiciously is also an important part of table etiquette, which kids should learn. Feel free to learn more about table manners in this article.
Finally, we bid adieu with a teeny-tiny nugget of wisdom. Don’t forget to check in with us for daily updates on Parenting advice and more on the Podium Blog.
Bon Appetit! But watch out if your food is going in the bin instead of your tummy.