Win lunch box wars & reduce waste

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Does your child often bring their lunch box home filled with uneaten fruit, half munched sandwiches and unopened yogurt pottles?

If so then you’re only getting half the story – because the other half can probably be found in the rubbish bin at school!

Food waste is an issue in many schools. A number of Kiwi schools have done food waste audits to see how much avoidable food waste their students are throwing away, says website lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz

In one NZ primary school, the children from one class threw away 3.7kg of edible food a day – that’s 18kg a week. For a group of 20-30 pupils, the team here at Freshkeeper reckon that’s way too much lunch waste.

Meet Luca. He’s 7. He likes soccer, watching cartoons on Netflix and playing pranks on his younger sister. He also likes to make his own packed lunch for school (when he’s in the mood, of course). Luca is very aware that he shouldn’t waste food – something his parents reinforce. ‘If I bring half a sandwich or an apple home then I usually have to eat it for dinner,’ says Luca. ‘My teacher tells us not to waste food too.’

‘So if I pack the stuff that I like, then I want to eat it all.’’

Luca’s lunch box faves

  • Crispbread sandwich with butter and Nutella
  • Baby cucumber
  • Handful of grapes
  • Kiwifruit – whole, cut into quarters
  • Peach
  • Slices of salami
  • Wedge of cheese
  • Little milky thing – Yakult, yogurt, etc

His mum Lotte makes it easy for him to assemble his lunch the night before. Here are her tips.

Luca’s mum on Luca’s lunchbox

  • Involve: I always let Luca make his lunch if he wants to. And I help him find whatever he thinks he’d like to put in there.
  • Choices: I make sure there’s a variety of fruit on the counter to choose from, and I keep snack-sized vegetables like baby cucumbers in the fridge along with cold cut meats and soft cheese.
  • Make it fun: Even a kiwifruit can be fun to eat when it’s cut into four as it can then be eaten like orange quarters.
  • Flexible: Everything in moderation. Treats are fine if there are plenty of healthy foods to balance it out.
  • Think snack: Luca’s high energy and always running around! He likes to graze so he has a bento-box style lunch box to make it easier.
  • Use Freshkeeper: I always have a Freshkeeper sachet in the fruit bowl, another in the fridge vegetable bin. They keep everything fresher for longer – Luca’s more likely to want to put a crisp apple in his lunch box – and actually eat it –  than a floury one!
by June-Ann Russell

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