Planning & Shopping
Do Your Homework - Reduce School Food Waste
Back to school means the return of school lunches. We all want to ensure that our children enjoy a healthy and filling lunch, plus, it’s important that school lunches don’t end up in the bin.
Here are some tips that will help you and your family develop a food waste fighting routine:
- Lunchtime is the best part of the school day as far as most kids are concerned but their focus is most likely on getting out to play. Find out how long their breaks are and how long they get to eat. This will help you plan.
- Most schools send home uneaten food so keep an eye on what is coming home in the lunch box and be ready to adapt. If leftovers are composted or binned in school, check in with the teacher every once in a while. They might spot where food is regularly wasted.
- Small-sized fruit like apples or easy-peel oranges are great for kids. Bigger fruits which need slicing can be preserved and prevented from browning with either lemon juice or by dipping in salt water. Using small airtight containers helps too.
- Prepare carrot sticks and put them in water in the fridge. This will help them stay fresh for longer.
- Did you know? You can butter frozen bread straight from the freezer and sandwich together your favourite fillings. The sandwich will be defrosted by lunch!
- Yoghurt can also be frozen to prolong its shelf life. Take it from the freezer in the morning and it will still be nice and cold at lunch.
- When you can, involve the children in making simple decisions about what should be in the lunchbox – give them two options and let them pick one. They may be more likely to eat the food if they feel like they’ve decided to have it.
- Try and get the kids involved in making their lunches. They’re much more likely to eat what they have helped prepare. For older children, you can make a list of lunch options which can be added to over time. They could even be given their own shopping list to fulfil on a weekly shopping trip.
- Reuse leftovers from dinner in the lunchbox. Leftover pasta can make a great alternative to a sandwich.
- After school, check out the lunchboxes before offering a snack. Any leftovers might get a second chance.
- Reusable bottles are best for drinks. They lead to less waste and it’s much cheaper.
- Lunchboxes protect food. With the right box and the right packing, there’s no need for cling film or tinfoil. Some boxes are divided into sections for different foods while another strategy is a larger box with smaller boxes to fit into it. Beeswax wraps can be reused.