Half a liter of strawberries, folded on the far shelf of the refrigerator and forgotten there. Half a melon bought for a smoothie is in the box. Your branded lasagna, prepared to be carried to work later. Half of all this will go to the trash. If weekly cleaning of the refrigerator brings sadness and disappointment, consider the following. A family of four can spend on food for the year more than 2000 dollars. This amount includes almost 55 liters of milk, 150 eggs, 70 kilograms of meat and poultry, and about 110 kilograms of fresh produce.
In addition to the extra burden on the budget, all this is harmful for the environment. Take into account the water and energy needed for food production, fuel for its transportation. But you can easily stop the flow of food from the refrigerator to the trash. It is enough just to buy only what you really eat and enjoy it before the products deteriorate.
Plan your purchases
The first rule of easy and effective nutrition planning: recognize yourself. Remember how much dinner was worth in the last three weeks. How many nights did you have dinner at home? Do you like to divide a large pot of soup into several receptions, or are leftovers suitable only for a light snack? Can anything stop you from ordering pizza on a Friday night? There are no wrong answers. Planning will help you choose a grocery store that matches your eating style.
Pexels Also planning should not be strict or complicated. You can take a notepad on a magnet, which is attached to the refrigerator. If you want, you can use any of the planning sites like Plan to Eat. Watch the upcoming week and mark all evenings when you are not dining at home. Then mark another evening when you finish the rest, take a takeaway or replace dinner with kefir. For the remaining evenings, write down recipes or, to make it easier, protein, vegetables, rice, pasta.
A short list gives flexibility (what is today a chicken or a hamburger?) Without the risk of buying more or less than necessary. Do not want to choose vegetables before going to the grocery? Then just write the greens, later decide on the go. Once you get to the week that really works, put your list in a folder and return to it in a month or two. Most of us can not change the cycle of food intake from six to eight weeks, without bothering. Or even without noticing it.
The main enemy of meat, milk and other products is heat, so the longer you can store food, the better. Start shopping from the middle of the store, where the usual shelves are located, so that chilled and frozen products do not linger in your basket for a long time. Harold McGee, author of The Key to Good Cooking, generally suggests keeping a refrigerator in the car and putting meat, seafood and milk in it while you are driving home. You can also ask for perishable foods, such as fish and seafood, to be packaged in thermal bags.
Pixabay If you do not have room for a car refrigerator, McGee offers to pack frozen and cold foods together. At home, check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer (should be around + 5 ° C and -20 ° C, respectively). Feel the ice cream as a test: if it is soft, then your freezer is too warm.
Store food as it should
Knowing how and where to store products will help extend their shelf life. For example, milk and eggs should not be placed on the door of the refrigerator, since there the temperature may fluctuate. For maximum freshness, peeled nuts and whole grain flour should be cooled. A wide shallow vase for fruit will save them from damage and rotting. Bananas, apples, pears and avocados should remain outside until they are ripe, and then you need to transfer them to the refrigerator to keep the taste for up to three days.
Make visual reminders
In order to prevent the refrigerator from turning into a graveyard where celery or meat delicacies die, Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wastes, offers to print a large photo that you like and paste it from the inside onto the back of the refrigerator. If part of the photo is not visible, it means that the refrigerator is full. When you buy new products, use store tricks and put old products ahead. They will be clearer, and you are more likely to use them.
And finally, when the food begins to expire, Bloom takes them to a special “take it” shelf. “I used to try to remember what to eat in the near future,” he says. "Now I just look at that shelf."
Fight a fridge full of plates of non-eaten food on a weekly evening of eating leftovers. Or immediately put the excess in lunch containers. But do not think that the surplus should remain "as is." Frittata, risotto and fried potatoes are all an easy and tasty way to enjoy half the sweet pepper or broccoli from the previous recipe.
PinterestChef Tamar Adler, author of Eternal Meal, always plans for one food to easily go to the next. “I grind and prepare most of the products as soon as I return from the market,” she says. A pound of potatoes, fried on Sunday, become a side dish on Monday. Then potato cubes mixed with sauce - for a cold salad on Tuesday. And finally, as a cream soup - for the environment. “It's like semi-finished products,” says Adler. Only much tastier.