Does Your Family Respect Food?

Does your family treat food with respect or do you find yourself and your family members wasting and throwing it away easily? If your refrigerator is stocked with food that is destined to fill your trash bin rather than the bellies of your family members, if your children toss out foods from their lunch boxes breezily without a second thought, if everything from leftover breads and vegetables to milk and fruits reach the bin, at times even without being opened, it’s time your family finds ways to control this waste and accord respect to food that it deserves.

Shop Smart. Do inventory. Take a look at your pantry/fridge to determine what you have and need. Make a grocery list, keep it handy to easily check off depleted items as you run out. Encourage your children to participate and make their own lists to help them understand how to stop food waste.

Plan menus. While planning menus, do a reality check of your family’s eating behaviour. If you are going to end up ordering take-out more than once a week, buy vegetables, fish, chicken or bread only as per your need to avoid them from rotting or going stale.

Use up roti/bread ends and crust. Some children are used to leaving bread or roti crust untouched or cutting it away. Encourage your kids to eat all parts of bread, rotis and pizzas.

Don’t discard fruits because they have a bruise. Bruised bananas and aples are most wasted. Let your family understand that just because a fruit or a vegetable has a bruise or two there is no reason to discard them. Simply cut the bruised part away and eat the rest.

Prevent wasted meat. If your kids are picky meat eaters, choose more tender meats like fish or chicken and slice them into small pieces, so they don’t waste it while serving themselves.

Use leftovers creatively. If you have fruits that are starting to turn, make smoothies for kids. Or if you have a lot of vegetables, make soups for your family. You could add leftover meats to soups or to sandwiches by making chicken salads, thinly slicing or shredding it. Shredded chicken can be added to salads, made into chicken curries, or used as stuffing. Involve your grownup children in thinking up creative ideas.

Don’t keep snacks displayed around your kitchen. When kids see them, they want to eat them. If they fill up on snacks, they might not finish their lunch or dinner. Instead, keep fruit and/or nuts in bowls on tables and fill your fridge with healthy snacks that won’t give them munchies.

Keep your food organised. The biggest reason a family wastes food is if the food is out of sight, it is out of mind and doesn’t end up getting eaten. Keep your pantry well-organised to help reduce waste.

Have at least one use-it-up meal every week. Instead of cooking a new meal, look around on the shelves and fridge for food that might otherwise get overlooked. Encourage children to be creative about how they want to mix and match the menu.

Avoid temptations. Buy-one-get-one-free offers encourage people to buy too much food, which mean perfectly edible food is thrown away. Help children inculcate the habit of buying only what is really necessary – and you lead by example.

The clean-your-plate issue. Make your children underatand that they can start with less food on the plate and always go back for it. Serve small portions to them because they are inconsistent eaters. While you can save it to reheat, it is much simpler to serve small portions and give multiple servings as needed.This way you can avoid the scene where they are full but you insist that they clean up the plate. Reducing portion sizes is an easy way to reduce food waste.

Split the dish. Encourage family members to split every dish so you don’t waste food. Many parents encourage their children to do that in the restaurants. This could be done at home as well.

Educate and encourage family members. Being aware of the issue of food waste can help make your family more attentive to wasting less. Be openely appreciative of children when they act responsibly towards food.

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