The Learning Starts Now: Preventing Waste in Back-to-School Lunches
Summer has ended and schools have opened their doors to eager students (and parents!). It’s time to trade in the zoom classroom and at-home lunches, for a full blown in-person school experience that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s probably been a while since you thought about packing a lunch bag, so let us help you get started! There are a multitude of ways that you can make your child’s lunch fun, yummy yet nutritious, and environmentally friendly.
The average American family throws out approximately 300 pounds of food a year, which equates to about $2,200. The easiest, yet most overlooked, method to help reduce this waste is meal planning. Planning out what food you need for the week before making your grocery store run can help you avoid any impulse purchases or overestimating quantity (which saves money!). If meal planning sounds time consuming and difficult to manage, there are apps available, such as MealBoard, that help you stay organized and on top of your schedule.
Bento lunch boxes are another method found to be useful for preventing waste. Their design provides separate sections that can be specified for a certain type of food. Having different sections makes the food not only look more appealing, but last longer and taste better. No kid wants to eat a sandwich that is squished against their fruit. Therefore, keeping them separate and fresh will likely encourage them to eat both! So many companies have taken on the bento- style of lunch boxes and added their own spin on them. One of the more popular brands is Bentgo, a lightweight, portable, stylish choice also safe for the environment. A key selling point—using ONE Bentgo consistently can keep 540 plastic sandwich bags out of our landfills each year!
In addition to our individual efforts, it is important to recognize the amazing work schools are doing to prevent waste and reduce hunger. Several schools in LA county have incorporated a Share Table Program where students can offer up their unopened food or drinks that they choose not to consume. This allows other students to add additional items to their lunch or snack, eliminating extra food waste. The act of sharing alone demonstrates how unwanted food does not have to be wasted. What may be undesirable for one child can be a treat for another.
Following these simple yet effective tips can make drastic improvement in not only your community, but your personal life as well! Additionally, if you know of a local school that would like to donate their overages, we will gladly pick up and redistribute those milks, apple slices and other unserved items and deliver to grateful after school centers and others who can ensure nothing goes to waste. Food Finders is here to help!
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
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