War on Food Waste

War on Food Waste

Do you worry about wasting food in your house? Do you stick with the same foods? Do you avoid trying new foods and recipes in case your kids do not like them and the food ends up in the bin? While it is good to be mindful of food waste, it is important that young children have chances to try a variety of foods. This helps them build their eating skills and confidence to be a more adventurous eater. For some children they need the chance to try a new food many times before they eat it. Here are some practical ideas to do this while limiting food waste:

When shopping

  • Have a rough meal plan for the week and make a shopping list. That way you buy only what you need.
  • For fresh produce like fruit and vegetables look for what is in season. Seasonal produce is often more affordable and may taste better.
  • Look for marked down specials particularly in the meat department.

When serving food

  • Offer enough food for everyone to eat. With a new food, offer a small amount on your child’s plate. They can always ask for more. Often too much of a new food can be off putting to a young child.
  • If the food is not eaten or some left untouched on the plate quickly put it away in the refrigerator. You can then offer it again later.
  • Family style dinners where children help themselves are a good idea. That way a child has the chance to see and try a food. The food that is not served up can be put away for another time.

Using up leftovers at home

  • If you cook too much you might be able to freeze what is leftover to have as a spare meal or snack for another time.
  • Write a list on the refrigerator of what you have in the freezer so you can see what is in there.  Cross out meals as you use them and add more.
  • Use up leftovers like vegetables, cooked pasta and rice in dishes like fried rice, pasta bakes, quiches, soups, pasta sauces, salads and casseroles.

When eating away from home

  • Children may be more likely to try food when their playmates eat it. Childcare or friends’ houses are excellent places to start. Ask them not to cater for your child’s particular likes and dislikes. You may be surprised at what they will eat.
  • Always pack an icepack in your out and about food bag. This way food keeps safe. You can eat it when you get home.

It often ends up more expensive to cater for your child’s own requests in the long term. Your aim is for the whole family eat the food offered. Seeing you enjoying a variety of foods can give your child the confidence to try them too.

It is your job as the parent to decide what you offer, and it is your child’s job to choose what and how much they eat. All children are different and some children take years to become more adventurous with their eating. Your role as a parent or carer is the support them through this and to help them develop a love of different types of food. For more ideas on how and what to feed your child check out healthy kids website