Hope everyone had a great start to their week and that we are all in for some warmer weather very soon! It was quite cold in our neck of the woods over the weekend and I heard that quite a few places actually saw some snow the past few days. I am definitely ready for some warmer summer weather - not to mention I'm still fighting to completely get over the spring cold I've had the past week and a half. One thing I like to make sure of when I'm feeling a bit under the weather is that my fridge is well stocked with healthy ingredients for all my meals and snacks (for more tips on what to eat when you're sick check out THIS previous blog post).
If you follow Whitty Nutrition on instagram you'll know that I love to shop at Costco for some of my bulk / staple ingredients including some of my essential fruits and veggies. The problem is that although buying in bulk can often save you money, it can also lead to more food waste if you don't know how to properly store your food which ultimate ends up costing you more money! I love to purchase fresh, nutritious ingredients for my kitchen but I also have to do so on a budget. I hate throwing food away, so I do my best to creatively use up leftovers and preventing food spoilage by properly storing my fresh produce. I wanted to share with you a few tips on how to make sure you're actually eating all that food you spend your hard earned money on, and one tool that I have found to be invaluable in my kitchen for preventing food waste!
The first thing you have to do is of course get groceries! Everyone is on a budget - some people have a small food budget while other's have a large one. Whatever your budget may be, try and stock up on items you use regularly when on sale and if you can buy in bulk most baking items and produce items will be cheaper. If you can't afford to shell out for the Costco membership or find it hard to take the hit that grocery shopping for large bulk items can cause, consider going in with a group of friends to purchase a membership and shopping together and then splitting the items up later so you all benefit from the savings but the bill becomes much more manageable. Check your flyers for sales at your local store and always, ALWAYS go prepared with a list and a general plan for what you're actually going to eat that week. Don't buy exotic, expensive ingredients if you know your week is busy and there is little chance you will actually get to using them before they go bad.
One habit I try to do consistently after a large grocery haul is to wash and cut up my fruits and veggies so that I have no excuse not to eat them. I don't always cut up everything since we all know cut fruits and veggies don't last quite as long, but I aim to have enough on hand for at least 4 - 5 days of lunches and snacking for my husband and I. Some fruits, like raspberries, go bad much faster after washing because of the added moisture, however I also find I'm much more likely to grab a handful here and there if I don't have to wash them first - do whatever works best for you!
The number one trick to making sure your produce lasts as long as possible, is to store it correctly. I particularly love this chart by Buzzfeed that gives you storage instructions and estimated lifespans on most common fruits and veggies. It wouldn't hurt to print this baby out and slap it on the refrigerator for the whole family to see!
An easy tool . . .
And now for my favorite tool of the trade! Vacuum Sealers! The one I currently own was a hand-me-down from my granny who found she didn't make much use of it, but boy do I love it! What is a vacuum sealer you may ask? Well it's basically a small kitchen appliance that is used to suck or 'vacuum' the air out of specialized plastic bags in order to prevent food spoilage. In case you didn't know, air exposure is one of the factors that causes food to spoil more quickly and can reduce the nutrient content of food since some vitamins and minerals are sensitive to oxygen. You can basically package anything into the sealer bags and they can be refrigerated, frozen, boiled, and even put in the dishwasher for repeated use! I suggest reusing the bags used to store fresh veggies but throwing away the ones used for raw meat in order to ensure safety.
This is the model I currently have and it's definitely user friendly. I have found this and other similar models online ranging in price from around $80.00 - $150.00. It can definitely make a unique gift for a wedding shower, birthday, or even an anniversary present - or am I the only one that gets excited about new kitchen tools/ appliances? Oh and don't worry about running out of the bags, you can easily order them online and I've even found them for around $35 for a large box at my local Costco!
This is generally how the storage bags come when you purchase them. I got these at my local Costco and it included 36 pre-cut bags as well as 5 rolls that you can cut to make any size bag you like. And trust me, the cost of the bags definitely pays off when you reuse the bags and also when you realize how much food waste you can eliminate from your home!
That's all for now folks! I hope you enjoyed some of these tips on making sure you actually EAT the food you purchase and some easy ways to help make your food last longer to prevent the problem of food waste. I believe that wasting food isn't only bad for our pocket books but also for our environment and our community. You can read more about the problem of food waste in this article.
Thanks again for reading! Your support means a lot! Have a happy, healthy week everyone :)