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Reducing Your Child's Food Waste

By Donna Stark

For me, one of the most frustrating aspects of being a parent is the amount of food that my children waste. Inevitably, toward the end of every meal, I find them pushing their food from one side of the plate to the other, or smashing their meal to pieces until it is no longer recognizable. There are also days when they come home from school with half of their lunches still in their bag with each item having a single bite taken out of it. Although the amount left behind on their plates or in their lunch bags usually varies, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that their waste of food happens more often than not. I would also like to add that I am not that terrible of a cook, and I know it's not just me, because they do it in restaurants too.

Non-Food Reasons

Are you struggling with what seems to be a picky eater as well? Join the club! There are plenty of parents out there that are going through the exact same thing, trying to figure out what they can do to change the situation. Sometimes, it doesn't even have anything to do with food itself. There are several other reasons why your child may be throwing food away or coming home with lunchboxes half-full. Take a look.

  • Lunch is served when the child isn't hungry
  • Lunch periods are too short and don't give enough time to eat
  • Recess is after lunch and your child is more excited to play than to eat
  • Peer pressure may keep your child from trying new things

These are all valid reasons and if they are occurring, it wouldn't hurt to have a discussion with both your child and those responsible for your child's care while at school.

When Food is the Culprit

Your picky eater may be picky because of the actual food that is placed in front of them. Here are some ways to combat that in and out of the home.

  • Take a look at the options given and be sure that your child likes what is being offered
  • Encourage your child to try new foods as well as old foods in new ways
  • Make trying new foods a family activity
  • Serve meals family-style so that everyone can select exactly what they want in the portion size they will eat
  • Offer pieces of fruit as opposed to the whole thing; kids usually end up eating more if the item is cut
  • Teach your child the benefits of great nutrition
  • Be a good example for your child; most children like to copy their parents
  • Split meals when eating at restaurants or have the server box up half of the meal before it's even brought out

Ending Food Waste

With a little perseverance, you should be able to get your child's eating behaviors to match your expectations and see a significant reduction in their food waste. And hopefully, soon after that, you can unsubscribe to the Picky-Eater Club's newsletter.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Franklin, Tenn.

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