I don’t intend this to be a ‘Back in my day….’ whinge about how things were never like this when I was wee nipper, but I would like to take a stroll down memory lane for a moment.
When I was growing up, the only food and snack options in the house consisted of the groceries purchased during our once a week trip to the supermarket and the homemade goods made with them. There were no packs of tiny biscuits, no fruit sticks, no muesli bars, basically no appetising-little-individually-wrapped items that all add up to a pile of rubbish in the back of the car.
Lunch was packed from home everyday (except on birthdays), dinner was never, ever takeaway. Now it wasn’t a case of my parents being really strict, it’s just that at the time the nearest takeaway was a half hour drive and therefore was never really considered ‘fast food’.
You would assume that as a kid this philosophy stunk, but that wasn’t the case as most of the other kids had exactly the same things in their lunchbox. I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Plus, we did still have treats, it’s just that they were homemade biscuits, or cake, or slice, rather than pre-packaged goods.
What I am finding now as an adult is that I have more appreciation for home cooked food. Give me my Mum’s homemade cake over a cafe bought muffin anytime.
I really want to pass these homemade values onto my kids but I feel things have changed so much since my parent’s time, everything is that little bit quicker, there is always that little bit more to do. That’s not to say that they weren’t busy people themselves but it’s fair to say that the cry of the current generation is ‘I just don’t have enough time!’
As a result, my hand reaches instead for the packet of muesli bars, or the snack bags of biscuits, or the worst culprit – snack bags of yoghurt that contain precisely two mouthfuls of yoghurt – how did I get sucked into them??
But the main driver that is pushing me to make this change isn’t wanting my kids to have, or not have, what I had, it’s more an issue of the unnecessary rubbish resulting from these additional layers of excess packaging. According to the Ethical Consumer Guide, Australia consumes over 3.4 million tonnes of packaging every year – that’s about 165kg per person and only 48% of it is recycled.
Take the yoghurt for example, each shopping trip I end up buying two of these as a ‘well done for not pushing mummy to the brink of insanity….yet’ treat. That’s at least 104 empty bags of yoghurt that will end up in landfill when we could just as easily have yoghurt in a bowl at home, which I can then wash and reuse. I may have to work on my sales pitch but I’m sure the kids will come round. Right?
So in addition to my 2013 New Years Resolution of reducing my food footprint, I’m also adding:
- Reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging in my supermarket trolley
- Look for other options like buying in bulk and freezing portions – this also has the added benefit of being more cost effective
- Make the time to bake more homemade goods and freeze them
What quick, easy and well-loved snacks do you have in your home?
Happy New Year!