5 Ways To Teach Kids About Food Waste
How many of us remember sitting at the dining table and listening to our mother’s pleading to get us to eat our vegetables? She’d point to a plate with wasted food on it and say, “There are starving children all over the world….” Actually it was my Aunt Heather who was most often heard saying that, but you get my point!
Actually, her words were true then and certainly apply today. However, as effective as that plea may be, there are other ways parents can use to help their children understand the importance of the food economy. Some suggestions to prevent the waste of food may include:
Talk About Food Budget
Teach your children early on the economics of family income, as it affects regular food needs and costs. Help them to understand the limits of your food budget and how much you can afford to spend when you go shopping. When they’re old enough to understand and appreciate, take them to the grocery store with you. Let them participate in choosing the food, making practical selections based on price, family needs, budget limits, nutrition, and other factors.
Let Them Take Active Roles
Let your older children participate in menu planning, cooking and serving family meals. Their duties will also include helping in dishwashing and other cleaning chores. In some families, allowances are based on the amount of participation each child offers to help in household duties.
Teach Older Children To Be Savy
Teach your children the value of buying retail as well as in bulk and preparing meals to be frozen in serving portions and used later. The children should acquire the skills involved in extending food economy by preparing and serving attractive leftovers.
When parents are serving meals, particularly for younger children, it is economical to dole out small portions. Give them seconds if they ask for them. Praise and reward those small children who eat all the food on their plates.
Serve healthy and tasty desserts in small individual containers or as small helpings of raw or preserved fruit. For snacks between meals, get the children into the habit of eating raw fruit. If possible, stay away from the expensive, over-salted, over-sugared or over-priced commercial snacks.
Volunteer As A Family
If you want to give your children some very practical experience in food economy, accompany them as volunteers to programs, such as Second Harvest. Check with local charities that offer surplus food to needy families.
Start early to help your children appreciate the value of food, and how wasting it has many negative effects on your family and others.