Food Waste Warriors – Program Overview

Food Waste Warriors is The Cookbook Project’s early childhood education program. This program has been tailored for a younger audience in grades K – 2, which corresponds to ages 5 – 8. Overall, this program focuses on giving young people a safe and supportive space for tasting new foods, with a goal of increasing their diet diversity.

The curriculum really grew out of the observation that as schools started incorporating more healthy foods on their menus, students at school were eating even less as they threw away the new unfamiliar fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Diet diversity is an important measure of health, since the more types of foods we eat, the more likely it is that we are getting all of the nutrients we need for a healthy life. Food Waste Warriors focuses on basic nutrition and food tasting and the importance of reducing food waste, while giving a younger audience a playful look at where foods come from.

Learning Objectives

Through the Food Waste Warriors program, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Understand why meals are served at schools.
  • Define major food groups (carbs, proteins, fruits, veggies, fats/oils, sugars) and which lunch menu items contain each group.
  • Describe how food energizes our bodies and minds and why eating healthy portions at lunch is essential to health and learning.
  • Learn about the environmental and health impact of food waste.
  • Identify strategies to reduce food waste at school and at home.
  • Connect familiar foods with unfamiliar foods that are served at school.
  • Describe the importance of a well-balanced diet to the success of key cultural informants (athletes, actors, musicians, professionals etc.).
  • Describe the role of seasoning and spices in foods locally and globally.
  • Describe how different food cultures prioritize different types of tastes.

Session Structure

Component Time Summary
Power Up 3 minutes Opening activity or interactive question and answer / discussion. After day one, this will generally tie back in to the previous call to action activity.
Introduction 3 minutes Teacher will set the stage for the content with a question, example, or introduction.
Content 6 minutes Main content or activity for the session.
Call to action 3 minutes Specific and measurable action items for students to ‘take home’ and report back on at the next session.

Session Content

 Sessions  Content
1 Lunch Heroes Learn about why school lunch is important.
2 Roots of Food Learn about where food comes from and how it is grown.
3 Power Plates Learn about how different types of food groups meet different energy needs.
4 Rainbow Fruits and Vegetables Learn about colorful foods and why it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
5 Great Grains Learn about the difference between whole and processed grains.
6 Power Protein Learn about different types of plant and animal-based proteins and the importance of protein in a healthy diet.
7 Taste Town Learn about the seasonings, sweeteners, and fats.
8 Midway Content Review Review all concepts from first half of training through the ‘Fuel Up’ midway assessment.
9 Food Advisors Evaluate the energy needs of a person based on their lifestyle and activities by using celebrities, athletes, world leaders and professionals as examples.
10 Global Lunch Use knowledge and skills about food groups to identify different components of lunch plates from different cultures.
11 Food Culture Recipes Use knowledge of balanced meals and food groups to share a favorite family/food culture recipe.
12 Label Literacy Learn how to read labels on packaged foods, understand the benefits of eating unpackaged foods, and apply their knowledge of food groups to this activity.
13 Healthy Snacks Rank snacks in terms of their relative health, using their new label skills.
14 Food Waste Warriors Part 1 Learn about what happens to food that is not eaten.
15 Food Waste Warriors Part 2 Understand how their food waste can impact the bigger problem of food waste, and how they can be part of the solution. They will also sign the Food Waste Warriors pledge.
16 Final Pledge Graduate from the program and become certified Food Waste Warriors.