The following guiding principles and considerations are designed to ensure food handlers are able to contribute to program sustainability by practicing effective waste management. Being aware of food spoilage principles, understanding sensory appeal issues, managing deliveries and keeping clear records will allow for increased efficiencies in this area.
Consider incorporating some of these creative strategies into program delivery at your school and be on the lookout for others. Many will be helpful in reducing waste while providing learning opportunities for participants.
- Provide accurate school enrollment numbers to the Program Coordinator prior to program start. This will help to prevent overage. Communicate enrollment changes in a timely manner.
- Pre-sliced items, such as the carrot sticks and pineapple chunks, may spoil faster than whole items, resulting in waste from time to time. If offering more than one item per week, consider serving pre-sliced items first to decrease waste.
- If produce is delivered to the school in poor quality, communicate these issues immediately with the Program Coordinator, so that they can be promptly resolved with delivery personnel and suppliers (i.e., if a product arrives frozen, there may be an issue with temperature control during transport).
- Consider using leftover produce in preparation of other foods (i.e., broccoli in salads, tomatoes in salsa, soup, pasta sauce).
- Place leftover produce, such as cucumbers and apples, in baskets or bins around the school for students to pick up throughout the day.
- Consider sending leftover produce home with students or staff.
- Fill out Waste Tracking Forms weekly and send to the program coordinator to communicate produce wastage and comments about the program (i.e., student response, parent feedback, etc.)
- Consider keeping lower-fat dips on hand to serve with vegetables (an appropriate serving size is about one tablespoon). • Ensure school food handlers are aware of serving sizes for proper portioning.
- Ensure school has adequate supplies on hand to properly store and distribute produce (i.e., Fridge, serving bowls & covers, tongs, knives, cutting boards and portioning containers such as cups, bags, etc.)
- Consider implementing a school composting program.
Additional Tips to Enhance Program Delivery
- Avoid serving poor quality produce, which may result in a negative experience and affect a child’s willingness to try that item in the future.
- Include nutrition education whenever possible, especially during the service of fresh vegetables and fruit, and even on days when the program is not offered.
- Children are more likely to eat two halves or four quarter pieces than one whole piece. If time and facilities allow, consider slicing whole items for an enticing snack.
- Children are more likely to eat a disliked vegetable or fruit when they see one of their friends or family members eating it. Be a positive role model!
- It may take two, three or even 10 tries before a child gets used to the taste of a new item. Don’t give up if the child does not like it immediately.
- Children are more likely to try something when they have been involved in preparation. Consider involving students in program delivery to pique interest and excitement and to create learning opportunities.
Questions or Comments?
Deliveries, Waste Tracking, Shortage/Overage:
Rachel Globensky, NFVP Program Coordinator (807) 625-8322 NFVP@tbhdhu.com.