Telling our children how to be more sustainable is not the easiest thing. We have to remember that it’s the smallest steps that lead to the biggest impacts, so when we’re trying to make sure that our children are eating well and understanding the importance of ethically sourced foods, there’s a lot that we have to unravel. What are some of the things that we need to teach our children and ensure we set the right examples while we’re at it?
Purchasing From Sustainable Providers
The best place to begin is by ensuring that our children are consuming foods that are ethically sourced. There’s a big difference between sustainably and unsustainably caught fish, especially when it comes to nutrients. The great thing is that there is a wide variety of providers out there that can help. FFT specialises in shellfish that is caught sustainably off the Cornish coast and can be a big part of your family dinners.
Reducing Food Waste
This is vital, especially for the sake of the planet. Ensuring that your children don’t waste food is a battle that starts as soon as they are old enough to eat for themselves. As the typical British family can waste over £800 of food every year, it’s important for our children to understand the importance of eating the foods they are given.
Sometimes our children just don’t like foods, and it’s at these times we’ve got to make sure that our children are at least trying them before they decide they don’t like them. Ensuring that you don’t waste food in this respect can be about making sure the food they don’t like can be separately portioned up, and potentially donated, or ensuring that you cook the right portions.
It’s not just about our children deciding they don’t like certain foods because we can easily purchase too much. Sometimes we overbuy, and we don’t have the time to prepare the meals because they’ve gone past their “best by” dates. While it is important to get into the habit of not treating the “use by” date as gospel, there are things that we can all do, such as planning our meals better and ensuring we decide for ourselves if an item of food has really gone off. For example, if your bananas or avocados look too squidgy to consume, you could blend these into a smoothie or mash them on toast. It’s vital that we be creative!
Helping Our Children Get Involved in the Kitchen
Sometimes our children will swallow their food and not even look up from their plates. If you want your children to be more understanding of how the food has landed on their plates, you can get them into the kitchen and start cooking. Taking them around the supermarket and helping them to choose more sustainable foods that go towards a meal they will make ensures they think more about being nutritious, healthy, and balanced.
Teaching Your Children About the Bees and Butterflies
It is something we don’t all necessarily understand, but it’s critical to maintaining a sustainable supply of food. If you have a local honey farm near you, you could start to show your children the importance of pollination in terms of growing food, and how we can all support the ecosystem by planting flowers that butterflies and bees need.
Growing Your Own Food
If you really want to get your children engaged in being more sustainable, it’s about helping them to understand what they can actually create through limited resources. We are all guilty of not giving a second thought as to where our food has come from because we just purchased it off the supermarket shelves.
If you really want to start becoming more understanding of your personal impact on the world based on your food choices, starting your own food garden can make a massive difference. Your food garden can take a long time to come to fruition, which is why if you wanted your children to get to grips with what being ethically and sustainable consists of, understanding the sheer volume of work that goes into creating something like a courgette can give your children far more insight into the process.
Giving your children a pet project, such as growing a potato, is going to hit the message home because when your child sees that potato land on their plate after many months, it can make them far more understanding of what it takes to be more sustainable, but also helps them focus on the quality of food rather than the quantities.
It can be difficult to get our children into being more sustainable, but this is why their food could be the best entryway.