7 Practical Tips to Help Reduce School Lunchbox Waste

Michelle

July 29, 2021

Practical tips to avoid school lunch food waste

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Are you tired of throwing out school lunches that seem to miraculously make their way home uneaten…? We all want our kids to enjoy a healthy and filling lunch while at school, and these practical tips to avoid school lunchbox waste will ensure food doesn’t end up thrown in the bin!

Tips to Avoid School Lunchbox Waste

#1. Plan Ahead

Planning food ahead is key to healthy lunches for the week. Just a little time getting organised at the weekends will see you ‘lunch ready’ for the week ahead.

#2. Get the Right Lunch Box

compartments in lunch box to avoid school lunch food waste

For younger children, a lunch box with compartments is best. That way you can put a small amount of their favourite foods into each compartment for them to enjoy and they won’t be overwhelmed when they open their lunch box.

Even for older children and teens, having a space for a sandwich, crackers or pasta and another for fruit or vegetables or a dressing is a good way of letting them see what they have quickly and enabling them to choose what to have at each break.

#3. Get the Kids Involved

Getting kids involved in making their lunches means they are more likely to eat what they have helped prepare. For younger kids, you can give them different lunch options to choose from, while your teens could add their own lunch food favourites to the main shopping list.

You could even set aside space in the cupboard or fridge where you have several lunch box fillers ready to go, and the kids choose one for each day.

When it comes to waste, get them involved too. If they are aware of the waste they are producing by not eating what they have in their lunchbox it can help change those habits.

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Reduce food waste for children using these top tips from stopfoodwaste.ie.

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stop food waste lunch box food waste for children

#4. Learn Their Preferences

Lunch Box tips to avoid school lunch food waste

Keeping track of uneaten or half-eaten lunches is a way to find out about your kid’s lunch preferences and if they are tiring of certain foods. We have all been in a situation where they couldn’t get enough of a certain food one week and the very next they won’t eat it for you!

At the end of each week ask your kids what food they don’t like as much or if there is something new they would like to try – this will help you make a list of lunch options for the following week.

#5. Leftovers Are a Tasty Alternative

Using dinner leftovers for lunch the next day can make a tasty alternative to a sandwich. Meal leftovers such as pasta, noodles, tortillas etc are just as good when eaten at room temperature while other leftovers e.g. stews can be kept warm in thermal containers.

Be sure to cool down any leftovers before storing them in the fridge overnight and, if you are re-heating, make sure everything is piping hot before you place them in a thermal container.

#6. Make Lunches Fun

Make lunches fun to help avoid school lunch food waste

Make a face using fruit and veg, use cookie cutters to create shapes, or add a clip to turn a bag of fruit into a butterfly – make it fun and your child is more likely to eat everything, and avoid school lunch food waste.

Don’t forget to add a little note or joke for your child in their lunchbox, even one day a week. It will make them smile and they may be more eager to look inside and eat what is there!

#7. Make it Quick and Easy to Eat

Often when questioned about why they didn’t eat their lunch, my girls would say they didn’t have time! Getting out to play with their friends is often a higher priority than eating their school lunch.

Adapting lunches to school routines will ensure your child has time to eat their food during breaks, and to play with their friends which will help reduce food wasted. For example, small sized or pre-cut fruit takes less time to eat, sandwiches cut up are easy to eat on the go and can help cut back on waste.

These tips have been brought to you in association with:

stop food waste

You can find more tips on preventing food waste with your children here,  and on stopfoodwaste.ie

7 Practical Tips to Help Reduce School Lunchbox Waste - Mykidstime

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Published On: July 29th, 2021 / Categories: Food and Recipes, School / Last Updated: August 31st, 2021 / Tags: , , /

About the Author: Michelle

Michelle is a Mum to 2 girls and co-founded Mykidstime.

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