Diet & Nutrition

Passing on environmentally-sound food choices

One of the main reasons people are concerned about the welfare of the environment is to leave the world in good shape for future generations.
But what can we teach our children to help them care for the environment?
Interestingly, our food choices play a big part in caring for the environment and are something we can share with our children. The four key ways we can make food choices to help the environment are:
Eat more fruit and veg
Research shows that almost one third of the greenhouse gases are produced from agriculture, in particular the farming of animals. The most sustainable food choices are plant foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes that require less water and less land clearing. Sending children to school with already cut fruit or sandwiches in a reusable container instead of plastic wrap can make a huge difference to the amount of plastic in landfill.
Grow a veggie garden
Transportation of food is another contributor to the environmental footprint. So, if your food only has to travel from the backyard to the kitchen, it's helping reduce the energy and fuel use. Growing food also teaches children about responsibility, food sources and the big bonus is they are more likely to eat the food they have helped to cultivate.
Investing in a compost bin will ensure that any food waste in the house is broken down organically. There are even compost bins available that are suitable for units or small balconies. The benefit of composting goes beyond waste management, it can provide food for worms, produce fertiliser for the veggie garden — all of which help children appreciate and connect the cyclic relationship between food and the earth. And if you can, encourage the school to invest in a compost bin. This way, children will be able to compost any scraps from their lunchbox at school.
Re-use or recycle everything
Children love being creative, they turn cardboard boxes into caves and egg cartons into fancy hats. Save clean boxes, tubes or cartons for children's art and craft. Not only does this encourage recycling, it gives them plenty of free material to be creative. For all other excess packaging — encourage your children to use the recycle bin.
The great thing about these tips is that they aren't just good habits to help our environment, they're also general common sense practices that will hold us all in good stead.

Your say: Do you think about the environment when making decisions about food? Share with us below.

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