The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the house, but, at times, it is the most neglected when it comes to organization. If you have found a new love for cooking over the past few years and are preparing meals more at home, or maybe want to start cooking, it is important to take a closer look at the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Below are strategies to organizing your kitchen to help make cooking easier, healthier and reduce food waste.
- Clean out expired products – Restock the pantry wisely with foods you plan to use in the near future.
- Wash and prepare fruits and vegetables – While unpacking your groceries, wash and prepare fruits and vegetables for the week. You and other family members are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they are ready-to-eat. Place the produce in clear bowls at eye level and on the front of the shelf for easy access.
- First in, first out – To help minimize food waste, place similar items on the shelf based on the time at which you bought them. The items you bought first need to be used first. This reduces products being thrown away due to expiration dates or soiling.
- Always keep frozen fruit, vegetables and protein on-hand – These are great staples to accompany any meal, especially in a pinch or at the last minute.
- Label and date – Frozen food can get buried and forgotten in the freezer. Label all food that you freeze, especially proteins, to know when they should be thrown out if not used by a certain date. A good rule of thumb to follow: frozen, uncooked meats should be used or discarded within 4 to 12 months.
- Containers are key – Use baskets or reusable grocery bags to help group and organize the food in your freezer.
- Out of sight, out of mind – If pantry snacks seem to be more tempting these days, then place them up on the top shelf or in opaque containers. Strategic placement of these tempting items will help you avoid seeing them and impulsively eating them, all in an attempt to keep you on track through your wellness journey.
- Group foods and spices – Use containers to group pantry goods and spices by those that tend to be used for cooking or baking together. This grouping allows ease when trying to find items and know when it is time to restock.
Try one or all of these tips in your home! Tackle one area at a time as to not overwhelm yourself. Overall, these tips are some of the helpful things that can be done to make your kitchen life easier, more efficient and healthier!