Inside: 5 Practical tips to reduce food waste with kids, since kids don’t always finish their nourishing food, which can easily be reused for other foods.
So we all know kids have a very largely varied appetite, plus the growth spurts! So we never exactly know how much they’ll eat.
They’re just always hungry and always asking for snacks; but a lot of times they don’t finish their foods either, especially if that’s fresh and healthy food.
In-fact food waste is a problem especially with fresh foods, since they’re in varied sizes, not as desirable to kids as sweet cookies, so they don’t overeat them.
BUT fresh food is also expensive, which is why most of us deter from offering it to our kids, and food waste of fresh and nourishing food is such a bummer.
I mean, if you count the wasted fresh fruits and vegetables, it makes them super expensive, hence most people feel they can’t afford fresh fruit snacks for this family.
However, this does not have to be true. We can use all those fresh foods to their last nourishing bite, and make our pockets happy!
5 Practical tips to RE-USE leftover food with kids
Here are some simple solutions to reducing food waste with kids, so that we can get them to eat healthier, without feeling like we’re wasting a lot of money.
1. Freeze that fruit
Fruits are the most common snacks kids like to eat. But they often can’t finish that entire apple or banana but they always insist on getting the whole fruit for themselves. So simple solution is – freeze that leftover fruit for later, and use it in smoothies or oatmeal or make popsicles.
I always have a container of frozen bananas, sliced apples, blueberries, strawberries in the freezer, and they are all leftovers from my little ones.
A small tip – When you pop fruits in the freezer, make sure to keep them all prepped, means – banana peels removed, apple seeds removed, berry leaves removed. Frozen fruit is difficult to prep, and you’ll end up not doing it.
Now the bigger question, how do I use it? — We put them ours in smoothies and oatmeals. I like to cook fruit over the stove after making oatmeal and put that fruit compote on oatmeal, with some peanut butter. You can also cook that fruit in the microwave if you make quick oatmeals.
Call me crazy but, I’ve used leftover tomatoes and carrots to cook with too! (Hey, those little cherry tomatoes are too damn, expensive to be dumped out.)
I literally have a plate in my fridge with leftover food, to cook with or freeze.
But you see, we don’t have packaged snacks in our house at all.
Related Read: Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables
2. Pack School Lunches strategically
Most schools and pre-schools encourage kids to dump out the unfinished food into the trash. While it’s great that kids are taught to clean up after themselves, this is not the best place to use that strategy.
Dumping unwanted food is wrong and many levels; not only is that food perfectly good to eat, but it also leads a child to make an unhealthy connection with food. While I can go on and on for why it’s wrong, let’s just focus on practical tips on how to reduce food waste in schools.
Practical tips to reduce food waste in school lunches
- Pack lunched in 2 smaller proportions – A friend of mine gave me this tip; she packs her daughter’s lunches in 2 small boxes, exact same lunch. And has asked the teachers to assist her daughter with the second box after she finishes the first one.
- Teach your child to bring back the leftover food home; I know a lot of people whose kids eat leftover food for a snack at home. (Especially if you like to send bento boxes, with a variety of food options, we all know not everything gets eaten.
- Use ice packs in lunch boxes. This helps in getting food home safely.
Related Read: Healthy Lifestyle Shopping Guide
3. Get in the habit of slicing the snacks for kids
Sliced foods are easier for kids to eat, and I suppose more appealing too. As an added benefit, leftover sliced apple is much easier to be frozen or be kept in the fridge for later, than an unsliced apple.
A study at Cornell University proved that slicing fruits increases the chances of your child to eat them.
It was not easy to get my older one to like fruit in the beginning, so I got him this kids kitchen knife set. And it was a game changer; since he cut the fruits and veggies himself – he ate them.
And this technique was even more game changer for my daughter. While she liked fruits but never took time to slow down and actually sit down to eat them. So, when she was introduced to these fruit and veggie prep kitchen tools, she actually took time to sit down at one spot, and chop them up and eat them.
This is the kid’s kitchen knife set we use for my little ones to help chop the fruit since they were 18-20 months old. It’s really one of the best kitchen investments yet.
Related Read – How to Stir the “Desire to Explore” in your kids?
4. Make bread crumbs out of those bread crust
Do you remove crust from the bread for you kids sandwiches? If you do, have a freezer zip bag in the freezer for bread crust or the top and end slice of a loaf of bread. And when it feels like you have enough leftover bread to fill a baking sheet, just bake that bread, and crush it onto bread crumbs.
Small tip: Take off the bread crumbs before making the sandwich, or they get peanut butter-y ends.
5. Use the peel for flavouring water
Yes, it sounds bizarre at first, I was weirded out too. But after I started doing it, I kicked my back for not doing it sooner. It makes water so much more desirable to drink (for kids too).
A lot of food’s peels can be used to flavour water. I use – cucumber peels, Apple peels, Lemon peels, orange peels, fresh mint so many more foods which are technically waste to flavour water.
Just remember to wash the fruit or vegetable before peeling it and put it in water.
So, here were your 5 practical tips on how to reduce food waste, by reusing leftover perfectly nourishing food. These are the tips I use in my house multiple times a day, so I’m confident they are all easy and simple ways to reduce food waste, save money!