On average, food waste in the UK is costing households £470 a year, increasing to a staggering £700 for a larger family.
With young children’s unpredictable appetite, it’s far from unusual to end up with unfinished food, and I know that my son went through stages where the idea of eating yesterday’s reheated pasta filled him with horror. To him it was ‘old’ and therefore not edible. Eek.
Of course, we got through that stage and the kids are now really keen helpers in the kitchen, even coming up with ways we can use up leftove veg or the last of the roast chicken.
When the equivalent of a whole fridge full of food (or more!) is at stake, a few simple changes in lifestyle could be just be what is needed to save money and reduce food waste in your home.
Here are are some ideas to help encourage your children to get involved in reducing food waste:
- Stale bread might not be any good for sandwiched, but you can use it up by transforming it into a wonderful dessert; bread and butter pudding.
- Clear out the fridge and freezer by using last night’s chicken, potatoes and vegetables in a simple but very effective pie. All you need to make fresh is pastry and a bit of sauce – easy!
- Use your frozen leftovers in a soup. This is a big favourite for me as not only are we reducing waste, we’re also getting lots of vitamins into the family’s diet. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash are particularly great in soups, and if you add your favourite beans or meat for protein, it could turn into something that could last a good week dependant on ingredients.
- Rescue veggies that are past their best. Ok, potatoes that are looking a bit tired aren’t great for jackets, and if you don’t want to use them in tonight’s dinner, you know they’ll start going green. When they are almost on the turn, try roasting them, making chips or mash, and then freezing them ready to reheat when needed.
- Get them involved in the cooking process. This is one I couldn’t advocate more strongly – if children help decide on meals, help chop, grate or peel and even help serve up (where safe to do so) they’ll have better understanding and ownership of their food, which really seems to lead to healthier eating habits.
- Eat with your child. Leading by example is a powerful thing. Show your enjoyment of clever leftover-based meals to help build their confidence to try it.