Children and food are often seen as a problem area. In many families meal times can be stressful and there is a lot of wasted food. Because this week is Zero Waste Week (5th to 9th September), which this year is focusing on reducing food waste, I want to share with you a few things we do to reduce food waste with kids, and keep meal times relaxed.
5 hassle free ways to reduce food waste with kids
Here’s a few things we do, which help us waste less food:
Baby led weaning – both Big F and Little S have started their adventure with food without purees. Making purees and spoon-feeding was something I dreaded in motherhood and I was very happy that I have come across Baby Led Weaning (BLW), which advocates feeding children finger foods and family meals from the start. It might sound a little crazy, but it is safe and works great. You can read more about baby led weaning in here.
Why am I mentioning it as a way of reducing food waste with kids? It may seem counter intuitive, as initially a lot of the food ends up on the floor, but in long term kids are less likely to be fussy and so less food is wasted. I also pick up the food from the floor, if we are at home.
If you don’t like the idea of picking up food from the floor and handing it back to the baby you can use a splash-mat under the highchair (like this one*), or if you want a plastic-free option, an extra large muslin cloth does an excellent job (we got some with hand-me-down clothes, but you can easily buy them*).
Now that we are in Bali I like feeding Little S on the floor, if it’s just the two of us eating. I just sit her down on a muslin, tie another muslin around her neck as a bib and put food in front of her. The benefits are that I don’t have to clean the high-chair or the floor. I just wash her face and hands, shake off bits of food into the sink and put both muslins into washing machine (or give them a quick rinse if they are not too dirty). She is fed and has a messy play session at the same time 🙂
Eat off the floor – I know picking up food from the floor and passing it to the baby is something not everyone agrees with, but I believe keeping kids too clean is actually harmful. They need to get used to some bacteria and certainly the ones at home. I would not pick up food in the restaurant, though I do in the park – I am not sure why.
Keep portion sizes small – Big F often wants me to put lots of food on his plate and it is sometimes hard to convince him that he won’t eat so much. I do persevere in explaining that if he cleans his plate he can get more. This really helps with reducing leftovers. I must say that if he has not eaten all he has on the plate I will often put it back into the pot to eat the next day.
Leftovers buy you time – I like to have some cooked food in the fridge. Even if it’s just a few potatoes or bits of carrot. It means I can give something to Little S to munch on while I am cooking dinner. It keeps her busy and buys me time. Leftoves are also handy for a no-cook lunch or picnic.
Less snacking – I find that if I am better organised and have meals ready at more or less same time my kids eat better. This is especially true when it comes to dinner. If we stayed longer in the park and kids are hungry, they end up snacking while I cook and don’t eat so much dinner once it’s actually ready.
Here’s a few of my tactics to reduce food waste with kids. What do you do to keep the food waste down? I would love to her from you, so do leave me a comment or get in touch on Twitter.
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