The Value of Food
Ah, the dreaded “lunchbox dump.” And I’m not talking about those super cute dump truck lunch boxes at Target. I mean the massive disappointment of emptying a seemingly UNTOUCHED lunch tray directly into the garbage after a long day of work. Frustrating, isn’t it?
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 30-40 percent of food is wasted in America. A 2016 study at Ohio State University found that a majority of Americans believe food waste is a problem but find it difficult to reduce their own waste. Clearly people don’t get greens for the garbage, purchase peaches to pitch ’em, or collect cabbage to compost.
With ever-changing preferences and small stomachs, kids unwittingly contribute to the cycle of waste. Teaching your children to value food at a young age will lead to better habits. Allowing your kids to control their lunch is a great place to start.
u*do*lunch empowers kids to
— PLAN a week of meals with consideration to leftovers and produce in the fridge.
— PURCHASE using our free downloadable grocery list. This is a great opportunity to start a conversation about price, value, and seasonal items.
— PREPARE lunch. If they pick and prep the food, they will be more likely to eat it. This is also a great opportunity to talk about portion size.
— PACK appropriate portions.
Ask your kids to bring home their leftovers so you can monitor and discuss waste. This process will not only give kids the tools they need to value food but also help you save money.
For this week’s Walk the Walk, start a conversation with your children about food waste.
• Why do you think a third of the food supply is wasted in America?
• Would you be willing to eat “imperfect” produce to reduce your waste?
• Do you have other ideas about how we can reduce food waste as a family?
Write down the results of your brainstorm, and as a family commit to one idea for the month of October, be it planning your meals or starting to compost. As always, encourage them to Walk the Walk — one step at a time.
Until Next Time,