Nude Food is a fantastic opportunity to educate children about how their actions can impact the environment and their health. Focussing on the positive message of ‘nude food = a healthy body + a healthy planet’, we want our students at BUPS to be empowered to choose healthy, rubbish free food for their lunches and snacks..
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Schools nation-wide are embracing the nude food revolution and encouraging children to bring a rubbish free lunch to school. For the uninitiated, ‘nude food’ is food that comes to school without disposable packaging – extra plastic bags, paper bags, wrappings, plastic water bottles or cling wraps. Australia is the second highest producer of waste per person in the western world! Unfortunately school lunches are contributing to this, with the average lunch-toting child generating around 30 kg of litter a year. You can do your bit to reduce this by packing a school lunch without including any extra packaging or juice packs.
So what else is so good about packing a ‘nude’ lunch every day? Let’s take a look.
Improve Your Child’s Nutrition:
Research shows that an amazing 43% of Australian primary school children aren’t getting the daily recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. The 2013 National Dietary Guidelines states that 60% of Australian adults and 25% of children are overweight or obese. It’s not hard to imagine the figures if this trend continues. It really has never been more important that we provide the education our children need so they understand what makes up a balanced, nutritious diet for their future health if we are to combat this growing obesity epidemic, and all its associated health risks. With a third of their daily diet being consumed at school, the food in their lunch box needs to provide optimal nutrition, laying the foundation for a life time of good eating and good health.
Creating waste free lunch days reduces the consumption of packaged, processed foods and increases the intake of fresh, whole foods. Compared to fresh foods, pre-packaged food often contains more kilojoules, fat, salt and sugar. Foods to particularly be avoided include chips, sweet biscuits, muesli bars and breakfast bars along with processed meats such as salami, ham, pressed chicken and Strasbourg. Avoiding those quick, pre-packaged snacks not only reduces waste at school but ensures better nutrition for your child.
In Australia we create around 1 million tonnes of waste every year. This would fill a line of garbage trucks from Melbourne to London and halfway back! A WasteNet survey conducted by the Gould League in 1996 it was found that schools on average produce 33 tonnes of waste per year. We can have a significant impact on landfill by simply avoiding the use of cling wrap, juice boxes, plastic water bottles and all unnecessary packaging.
Although many children now have a reusable drink bottle, plastic water bottles make up part of the waste from schools. In Australia every year around 1 billion plastic water bottles a year are thrown away, while only 30% are recycled – that means 700 million plastic water bottles end up in landfill or floating in the ocean annually. It takes around 700 years for them to decompose and they have been shown to leach BPA’s into the water being drunk. Eek! Always, always pack a reusable drink bottle – keep your child hydrated, support our environment and avoid exposure to those plastic nasties.
Did you know that a school with a population of 500 students will dispose of approximately 11,000 paper bags every year from the canteen or tuckshop? These paper bags come from trees and to put this in perspective, it takes one 15 year old tree to produce 700 brown paper bags! The majority of these paper bags are made from trees growing in diminishing forests, not tree farms or recycled paper. Why not get children to bring their lunch boxes to the tuckshop, or have sandwich and snack wraps available for them to purchase to use and re-use.
Avoiding prepackaged foods and buying foods in bulk can save time and money. Even better, a home-made carrot and apple muffin/frittata/muesli slice will have a much greater nutrient value AND you can control the amount of sugar used, avoiding preservatives and additives completely. By making your own lunchbox goodies, you can then purchase the raw ingredients in bulk too – like 5kg of flour in a calico sack instead of 1kg in plastic or paper packaging. Think about this for supermarket items too – Instead of buying a 6 pack of yoghurts, purchase a 500 gram or 1 kilo and just make up individual, leak proof containers for lunch.
There are plenty of other items you can buy in bulk too – cheese (no nasty cheese slices), dried fruit, flour, sugar etc. Keeping larger quantities of food at home can also help you reduce those all too frequent visits to your supermarket/market/health food shop. Have a look around for suppliers that sell food in bulk. There are a growing number that allow you to bring along your own containers so you can avoid packaging all together.
So why not look at your lunch boxes again?
Make a conscious decision to only include foods that leave no packaging at the end of the day. Pop the sandwich or bread roll into a named lunchbox and use small containers for any snack foods and of course, pack a reusable drink bottle. The only thing left at the end of the day should be an apple core, crusts or other left over food remnants – all good fodder for the compost to enrich our soils.