We need to address food waste problem, and a good place to start is taking steps to teach our children to conserve food. Many businesses don’t realise the huge role they can play in encouraging less-wasteful habits in their communities. Some ways you could teach your own students, children or community members to help:
* Involve your entire family or class in a six-week project during which they’re challenged to reduce family food waste by 25 per cent. Encourage them to suggest their own ideas for making that happen, establishing a reward for those who achieve their goal — maybe a trip to a favourite restaurant or recreation destination.
* Involve children in planning a week’s worth of family meals, explaining the process of choosing entrees, side dishes and desserts, shopping and paying for ingredients, preparing food and storing leftovers. That helps them understand the money, time, transportation and effort involved so they’re less likely to take it for granted.
* Be mindful about not overloading children’s plates unless they ask for large portions. Similarly, don’t pack items in their daily lunches you know they won’t eat; instead aim for healthy foods they’ll actually consume, and coach them to bring home uneaten items. Note: They may take more ownership if they pack their own lunches.
* When children can’t eat their entire meals at home or in restaurants, save the leftovers in airtight containers for them to eat the next time they get hungry.
We’re engaged in several habits that lead to expensive, unsustainable and environmentally harmful food waste. But the future can be brighter if we begin now to teach our children how to do a better job using our food resources in their daily lives.