7 Ways to Minimize Food Waste with Kids

7 Ways to Minimize Food Waste with Kids

Photo by Elina Fairytale

7 Ways to Minimize Food Waste with Kids

I know how challenging it can be to make sure that all the food we buy gets used before it goes bad. With little ones in the house, it can be even more difficult to avoid wasting food. But, through a little effort and creativity, you’ll find that there are many ways to minimize food waste and get the kids involved in the process.

So, here are 7 of my favorite ways to minimize food waste with kids:

1. Plan meals and snacks

One of the most effective ways to reduce food waste is by planning meals and snacks ahead of time. This helps to ensure that you only buy the food you need and that it gets used up before it goes bad. Sit down with your kids and plan out meals and snacks for the week, taking into account what you already have on hand. This is also a great chance to give your kids ownership over the food they eat each week!

2. Shop smart!

Heading into the grocery store with a shopping list that matches your meal plan can help reduce food waste by ensuring that you only buy what you need. Avoid buying perishable items in bulk unless you know you will use the food before it goes bad. You can also try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season as they tend to be fresher and have a longer shelf life!

3. Use up leftovers

Leftovers are a great way to reduce food waste. Encourage your kids to help you find creative ways to use up leftovers, such as making a stir-fry or soup. My kids love using leftover chicken and veggies to make a loaded quesadilla! Don’t forget that you can also always freeze leftovers for later use.

4. Store food properly

Storing food properly can help to extend its shelf life. Teach your kids how to store food in the refrigerator and freezer, and encourage them to help you with meal prep. For instance, older kids can help cut up vegetables and store them in airtight containers and little ones can help unload fresh groceries into the fridge!

5. Compost food scraps

Composting is a great way to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Teach your kids how to compost food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds. You can also buy a compost bin and let your kids decorate it. To learn more, check out our intro guide to composting!

6. Donate excess food

If you have excess food that you know you won't be able to use, consider donating it to a local food bank or shelter. This helps the food go to people in need rather than going to waste. Involve your kids in the donation process by letting them help choose which food items to donate!

7. Practice portion control

Our quickly growing kids often let their eyes be bigger than their stomachs! Teach your kids about portion control by serving them smaller portions and encouraging them to ask for seconds if they are still hungry. Not only does this help reduce food waste, but it can also make your children more mindful eaters who listen to their bodies' hunger cues!

Ultimately, teaching children about the importance of reducing food waste can help instill lifelong habits that can benefit both the environment and our wallets. Minimizing food waste is a responsibility that we all share, so why not start teaching our kids about it from an early age?

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