Our food habits are important because it have can have a big impact on our health and on the environment. We have outlined 11 food habits that are environmentally friendly:
1. GROW YOUR OWN
Helping children grow their own herbs, vegetables and fruits does not have to be time consuming or difficult. Start with crops that go from seed to food fairly quickly and are easy to plant like carrots, radishes and lettuce.
Benefits of encouraging children to grow their own:
- encourages children to eat the food they grow
- teaches responsibility and patience
- provides learning opportunities (e.g. seasons, weather)
2. SHOP LOCALLY & SEASONALLY
In the UK, more than half of our food now comes from abroad. The further our food travels, the greater the carbon footprint.
By shopping locally with children, we are modelling food habits that protect our planet.
Eating foods that are in season shows love to planet Earth because when food has to come from a long way to be made available out-of season, it has a greater carbon footprint. Plus.... local and seasonal foods are fresher and more nutritious.
Little Genius Club's monthly kits are based on a seasonal Fruit or Vegetable of the month. Find out more here
Benefits of engaging children in shopping locally:
- a fun and exciting way for children to learn about the sensory properties of fresh food at the farmers’ market, farm shop, butchers, cheesemongers
3. START A COMPOST
Composting is a natural way of turning food waste into fertiliser that can be used in growing crops.
Benefits of involving children in starting a compost:
- encourages children to put the planet first which develops empathy
- teaches children to reduce waste
- harnesses children's natural curiosity by providing a way of nurturing their environmental awareness.
4. EAT MORE FRUIT & VEGETABLES
Diets higher in fruit and vegetables have lower carbon, water and ecological footprints than meat or fish based diets. Aiming to eat more fruits and vegetables as a family, provides the opportunity to be creative with food. e.g. Weekly challenges like Meatless Mondays, creative recipes like Watermelon pizza
Benefits to encouraging children to eat more fruit & vegetables:
- encourages creativity with food
- provides an opportunity to learn about the different sensory properties of fruit and vegetables
Little Genius Club's monthly kits include one sweet recipe based on the fruit of the month, one savoury recipe based on the vegetable of the month and one sweet recipe based on the vegetable of the month to help children explore the versatility of fruits and vegetables.
5. BUY ORGANIC PRODUCE
Choosing organic food produce is an ethical food habit because artificial chemical fertilisers and chemicals that harm planet Earth are are not allowed to be used.
Benefits to teaching children about organic produce:
- teaches children to make informed food choices
- provides an opportunity for children to research organic food suppliers
6. REUSE RECYCLABLES
Recycling saves natural resources as it reduces the need to grow, harvest or extract materials from planet Earth.
Benefits to teaching children to recycle:
- teaches children about making responsible choices
- helps to refrain the idea of 'rubbish' to a 'resource' that can be repurpose
- provides an opportunity to teach children about ecosystems
- teaches children that recycling can be fun and rewarding.
Little Genius Club's monthly kits include educational activities which makes use of empty bottles and cartons to get children accustomed to repurposing recyclable materials in a fun and educational way
7. STORE LEFT-OVER INGREDIENTS
We have all been there; juiced too many lemons, only needed part of a can of tuna or made much more dinner than the family eats. Storing leftover ingredients reduces food waste and saves money.
Benefits of teaching children to store left-over ingredients:
- provides an opportunity to teach children about safe food storage (including temperatures, use by dates)
- teaches children organisational skills
- teaches children portion control
8. USE ECO-FRIENDLY SHOPPING BAGS
Plastic bags take a long time to decompose; between 15 to 1,000 years! This means they have a lasting effect on planet Earth. Canvas and jute bags show love to the planet because they are biodegradable, which means they decompose thus avoiding pollution.
Benefits of teaching children to use eco-friendly materials:
- provides an opportunity to show creativity when designing their eco-friendly shopping bags will planet friendly like vegetable based paints and food dyes.
9. MAKE SHOPPING LISTS & MAKE A MEAL PLANNER
In the UK, a whopping 71% of us throw away impulsive food buys. Making a shopping list based on a meal planner cuts reduces the risk of impulsive buys. Having a meal planner also saves on fuel costs from multiple shopping trips.
Benefits of teaching children to make shopping lists and make a meal planner:
- develops maths skills through budgeting
- fosters good organisational skills
- creates the opportunity for healthy meal planning
Little Genius Club's monthly kits include shopping lists for each recipe which promote budgeting skills, provides information about storing ingredients, give top tips and outlines nutritional facts about the fruit and vegetable of the month.
10. EAT THE SKIN
The skin of fruit and vegetables of many fruit and vegetables are edible and nutritious. Some uses include; fruit peels and citrus zest for boosting flavour in dishes, smoothies made from celery leaves and strawberry tops, pesto made from carrot tops.
Benefits of teaching children to make eat the skin of fruit and vegetables:
- encourages children to think creatively about food and develop innovate ways to use the fruit and vegetable from root to stem.
11. COOKING FROM SCRATCH
Cooking from scratch is a fun and delicious way to show love to planet Earth. This is because when cooking from scratch, you can control where ingredients come from. A home kitchen uses less energy than a commercial kitchen which has less impact on the environment
Benefits of teaching children to cook from scratch:
- develops skills for life
- fosters food choice and healthy eating
- develops creativity and critical thinking skills
Little Genius Club advocates for children to learn to cook from scratch. We stand on our strong belief that the kitchen lends itself to being an environment where children can learn not only cooking skills, but fundamental life skills that will make them future-proof
We run regular online and in-person cooking class. see more here