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Food waste and kids


Do you have a fussy eater that leaves plates of food untouched? Or are you sick of seeing lunch boxes come back from school full of food?

Bringing the kids along on the path to less waste can seem like a challenge but there are ways to make saving food, money and the environment kid-friendly.


Tips for Fussy Eaters

Getting your fussy eater involved in the food-making process can help them eat more of what you put in front of them. 

Involve them


kitchen kids
  • Even young children can help prepare food – washing, mixing, crumbing the schnitzel, kneading pizza dough, weighing and measuring ingredients.
  • Seek their advice on the flavours for your meals. Ask specific questions which require a thought and response “Can you please taste this and let me know if it needs more X”
  • When they're at the right age, teach kids how to be safe in the kitchen by using a knife or cooking on the stove-top safely. They feel so capable and grown up and because they helped make the meal, they feel compelled to eat it.
  • Give them lots of compliments on a meal they've helped prepare and watch their little faces beam with pride!
  • Ask the kids to choose what they would like for dinner. Sometimes it’s nice to have the decisions made for you. Or give everyone in the family an allocated night to choose what they want to eat (within reason). If they don’t eat someone else’s selection earlier in the week, then they forfeit their turn later in the week.

Serve it up

  • Continue to serve up vegies and foods that the kids apparently don’t like, just don’t offer it every night. Mix it up, persist and one day they will like them. In the meantime, you'll have lunch for tomorrow if they don't eat it!
  • Make it interesting and fun – kids love to eat with their hands, so try San Choi Bow, Fajitas, Tacos, Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls just to name a few. Or make a face on the plate using a range of foods and vegies.picnic
  • For older kids, ask them to describe why they don’t like something. It sometimes helps them to realise it is not a particular food but the combination or the way it is prepared they don't like. Don’t let one sweeping statement of "I don't like...!" dictate your meals.
  • Cook meals to please the whole family to widen the kids' palates and tweak slightly to adjust to individual tastes (maybe add chopped chilli to your plate only).
  • Have set times that the kitchen is open, breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It helps avoid you being in the kitchen all day but also stops the kids from grazing and snacking.
  • Offer variety - combine a range of vegies with meat, chicken or fish in an interesting, colourful and tasty meal.
  • Changing the environment helps create some fun and interest. Try a picnic on the back lawn or the local park or at the beach. Chicken Noodle Salad in takeaway noodle boxes is a great picnic dinner.
  • If your child wants pasta for every meal, agree on a compromise. Dedicate one night a week to pasta.


Thanks to Jodie Blight for recipe ideas and advice!

Summer Table by Jodie Blight



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Love your food

The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year.