#4. Learn Their Preferences
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 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.
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You can find more tips on preventing food waste with your children here, and on stopfoodwaste.ie