Storage & Cooking

Back to School – Tips on How to Avoid School Lunchbox Food Waste

The shoes are polished, the new jumper bought and the books neatly stacked – it’s back to school time! And, a very exciting year for all the young people in our lives, back in the classroom surrounded by friends for the year ahead.

Back to school means the lunch boxes are out and the fridge is stocked. We all want our kids to enjoy a healthy and filling lunch while at school. Preventing food waste will help you save money and make sure your children are eating well and staying nourished and alert.

Here are some helpful and easy tips to ensure lunches don’t end up being thrown in the bin!

Our top tips for back to school:

Planning is key:

  • Plan the food you’ll be packing in advance – this is key to healthy lunches for the week. Just a little time getting organised at the weekends will see you ‘lunch ready’ for the week ahead.
  • Think about the lunches you’ll prepare, and how many of a particular item you need to buy – if it’s a favorite yogurt or a type of fruit, buy just the right amount where possible.
  • Consider the portion sizes and plan your shopping list appropriately.
  • For foods with a long shelf life, you can also buy in bulk and portion out exactly the right amount for your child. For example, individual rice cakes or biscuits might be more suitable than mini packets, or a handful of raisins may be eaten in full, rather than a pre-packaged box. Buying in bulk can often be cheaper too.

 

Get the kids involved:

  • Getting kids involved in making their lunches means they are more likely to eat what they have helped prepare.
  • For younger kids, you can give them different lunch options to choose from, while your teens could add their own lunch food list to the main shopping list.

 

Keep track of what is eaten (and not eaten!):

  • Keeping track of uneaten or half-eaten lunches is a great way to find out about your kid’s lunch preferences, and if they are tired of certain foods.
  • At the end of each week ask your kids what food they don’t like as much or if there is something new they would like to try. This will help you make a list of lunch options for the following week, and make sure they’re staying healthy and nourished!
  • Also, ask whether there was too much of something if it comes back half-eaten. You may be able to simply reduce portion sizes.

 

Make the most of leftovers:

  • Using dinner leftovers for lunch the next day can make a tasty alternative to a sandwich, and help you save money!
  • Meal leftovers such as pasta, noodles, tortillas, etc are just as good when eaten at room temperature while other leftovers like stews can be kept warm in thermal containers. Investing in a simple thermal container can mean a delicious and wholesome meal for your kids in school!

 

Adapt lunches to the school routine:

  • Adapting lunches to school routine ensures your child has time to eat their food during breaks, to play, and prevent the carefully prepared food from going in the bin! Think about how much time they have to eat and consider the portion that works. Small-sized or pre-cut fruit takes less time to eat and cut back on waste.

 

Following these simple steps will help your child eat a full lunch and save you money – always a bonus, particularly at this time of the year! As we start a new, exciting term, now is the time to build in these habits and save time and money across 2021 and 2022!

 

Let us know on social media how you get on, and follow us while you’re there for more simple, helpful tips and tricks to avoid food waste.

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