If you're a parent who has even slightly studied the eating habits of kids, you'll know the answer to this one already.

According to The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, most students end up wasting a lot of food at school. During a recent study, they explained, "The single-most common material generated by schools was food waste—23.9% of the total waste generated."

Students Eat Lunch In The School Cafeteria
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I was actually pretty shocked at some other conclusions that they reached. This study added, " [...] this means Minnesota K-12 public schools generate an estimated 483,520 pounds of waste per day." That's A LOT of waste! However, that number isn't exclusive to food waste - though food waste is included.

Six schools representing urban and suburban areas took part in this study.

The question then becomes, will we ever change this? It's a fact that most kids are pretty picky eaters. I'm including myself here too! I'm STILL a picky eater!

Does it concern you that your child might be wasting so much food? If it does, try these recommended conversation starters to examine the wasting. It would be a good time to get some of these answers before they head back to school.

Elementary School:

  • Do you usually eat all of your lunch?  If not, what are the reasons why?
  • When you buy lunch at school, why do you think you have to take certain items?
  • Can you think of a way to reduce the amount of food wasted in schools?

Middle School:

  • Where does your trash go?
  • What is composting and what are its benefits?
  • What do “Best By” dates mean? Have you ever eaten anything after it is past that date? (And lived to tell the tale!)

High School:

  • If the average food item has to travel 1500 miles, what are some of the benefits of growing your own food?  Who has grown some of your own food or bought items at the farmers market?  What did you learn?  Were there any surprises?  How did the quality and cost compare to food bought in a grocery store?

  • Why do you think so much food is wasted in America?

  • Why is it important not to waste food? Consider ethics, environment, economy etc."

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