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Mom shares clever tips to stop burning cash on wasted food in school lunches: ‘No matter how little they are’

“This is awesome.”

“This is awesome."

Photo Credit: TikTok

As if parenting isn’t already difficult enough, insert the daily dread of packing school lunches. Between likes, dislikes, allergies, and intolerances, making mindful choices for growing humans has become a tall order.   

Alas, do not fret — one dedicated food waste educator has some clever solutions. 

The scoop

Dismayed by the leftovers in her kid’s lunchbox, mom extraordinaire and TikToker Chef Alison (@itschefalison) shared three simple tips to stop wasting money and food on school lunches.

@itschefalison Number 3 is my favorite one! One big consideration is missing. Can you guess what it is? Ill make a part two from good guesses! #kidslunchbox #schoollunch #wastedfood #nofoodwaste #elementaryschool #backtoschool2023 ♬ original sound – Chef Alison | No Food Waste

“No. 1: Have a conversation with your kids about what they want to see in their school lunches, no matter how little they are. Invite them to the process,” she encouraged.  

She recommended using “sneaky snacks,” which are packaged snacks with a longer shelf life. This gives kids the extra snack option if they need more energy to get through the day, and if they don’t eat it, no big deal.  

Lastly, Chef Alison promoted a very hakuna-matata mentality in realizing, as a parent, what you do and don’t have control over. While what happens at school may be outside of your jurisdiction, you can manage what happens at home.

How it’s helping

It takes the stress and time out of preparing lunches when kids participate in the decision-making. Expectations become transparent, it helps to build a healthy mindset around food, and everyone is happy. 

More importantly, it’s saving money, and there’s less food in the trash. American households toss out an average of $1,500 worth of food every year. As of 2020, there were over 128 million households in the United States. That’s a massive amount of food when you add up what isn’t wasted, contributing to global heating in landfills, which is why little changes really do help.

These hacks can open the door for further discussion with your kids. “Talk to them about food waste and the climate and how we can protect our communities,” Chef Alison said. 

What’s everyone saying? 

The video has over 500 likes, and people were grateful for the pointers.

“This is awesome,” one person posted.

Another user offered an alternate solution, saying, “I get them to finish [their lunch] when they get home, it’s their afternoon snack.”

“Great tips! About 3rd grade we had our kids shopping (with us) & packing their own lunches. They liked the freedom & we liked not having to do it!” another user commented. Chef Alison responded, “I also find that they enjoy freedom in doing real tasks!”.

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