By washing, chopping, and properly storing fruits and vegetables you will save time on meal preparation throughout the week.
Here are some helpful tips for simple prepping:
Prep the food you’ll need for the week as soon as you get home from the grocery store. It’s important that you prep your food as soon as you get home from the grocery store, this will enable you to maximize its freshness. Learn what things benefit from being washed in advanced. Berries for example, are best left unwashed until you are ready to use them. Water increases the likelihood they’ll start to mold.|
Use your meal plan as a guide when prepping for the week. Refer to your meal plan to help you identify meals and snacks that can be prepared ahead of time. For example, soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes keep well in the freezer. When storing food and meals in the freezer, make sure you use the right tools for storage. There are zip-seal bags that are made specifically to store food in the freezer. A better idea is to use Pyrex containers that are reusable and can go directly from freezer to oven. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the time to prepare full meals. Whether you chop veggies, divide snacks, or just rinse your fruit, any prepping work you do in advance will save you time throughout the week.
Use glass containers to easily identified stored food (mason jars work great). Another reason why glass containers are excellent storage tools is that they allow you to easily identify what’s stored inside. A great and inexpensive idea is to use mason jars; they work great for storing salads, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, etc. You can find these jars in various sizes, making it possible for you to adjust the size of the jar to the amount of food you want to store. Remember, portion control is a key factor to preventing food from going to waste.
Take advantage of your slow cooker to prepare meals ahead of time. The slow cooker is a kitchen tool that is commonly neglected. Many of us don’t realize how useful this tool can be, especially, on long days. Here’s how you can get more use out of your slow cooker. Use it on the days you do your grocery shopping and prepping. We all know that shopping and prepping can be time consuming, and really, who wants to spend more time preparing dinner on those long days? Make it easy on yourself and plan on having a slow cooked meal on those days. Here’s how you can prepare a slow cooked meal ahead of time. Gather all the ingredients you’ll need and place them in a zip-sealed bag. Imagine you’re preparing the actual recipe and include salt, spices, peeled vegetables, etc. Keep the bag in the refrigerator or freezer depending on when you’re planning on making it. On the day of, empty all of the ingredients from the bag into the slow cooker (add liquid if necessary) and start cooking.
Keep a running list of meals you have frozen. Keep a running list of food you have in your refrigerator and freezer. This is extremely useful because it will prevent you from forgetting delicious food in the freezer. And what’s wrong with that? Well first, freezing doesn’t kill food bacteria, it only slows it down. Second, the air from the freezer is very dry; therefore, after long periods of time the quality and flavor of the food will be affected primarily due to moisture loss.
Be the Change: Save the Food
What if I told you that you can reduce the amount of food wasted and save on groceries and garbage? Sound pretty good, right? We have the power to make real changes in our community by simply implementing food waste prevention strategies in our kitchens. Start today by taking the
Save the Food Pledge and encourage others to do the same!
Special thanks to the Natural Resources Defense Council, EPA, and West Coast Climate and Material Management Forum for statistics and resources.