>> Jul 8, 2012
In 2010, approximately 13 percent of the world’s population was hungry—and by hungry, I don’t mean, “I can’t wait for dinner, I’m starving!” No, these 925 million people across the world were without food and may not have had a meal for several days. At the same time, over 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, globally. While not wasting food in your home probably won’t help to feed a hungry family across the globe tonight, a little perspective certainly gets the point across. Awareness and efforts to stop food waste can help to conserve our resources and improve our environment. One big step toward a less wasteful future is to teach our children to not waste food. When people are raised a certain way, they generally maintain those practices for the rest of their lives and pass the same habits to their children. Your efforts with your children could help to conserve food and waste for generations to come.
If you tell your child they can’t do something, they generally don’t understand why. They end up thinking you’re just being mean because you can be. Take the time to explain to your children the value of food. Tell them about the families who go to bed with nothing to eat. Explain to them that wasting our food is harmful to the environment. Not only does food waste go to the landfill, but the excess packaging is tossed as well. Giving your child a reason for your actions will go a long way toward earning their cooperation.
Children are often picky eaters. If you son or daughter absolutely hates green beans, don’t expect that to change. Serve them an alternate vegetable that they will eat instead. Don’t expect a miracle. Some compromise will need to be made. When filling their plate, serve small portions. If they want seconds, that’s fine, but smaller portions will cut down on leftovers at the end of a meal.
Yep, You Too
Lead by example. Your children can be hard to convince sometimes; however, explaining the reasoning behind your decision and holding yourself to the same standards will earn points towards full cooperation. Children will always follow your example, especially when you don’t want them to.
No matter how hard you try, there will be leftovers. Whether there’s a hunk of meatloaf on your plate that you simply can’t finish or an entire bowl of pasta that no one touched, waste is waste. Teach your children the importance of storing and reusing leftovers. Try having leftovers for dinner, one night a week.
Your family’s efforts might not make a very large dent in the big picture. However, teaching your children the value of food and the consequences of waste will help ensure a better future. Several generations down the road, your descendants will know the importance of limiting their waste and protecting the environment. Think of the impact if even a small percentage of the population changed the waste habits of their future generations.
Kristy Edison writes about savings and environmental responsibility at www.homeownersinsurance.org.