Learning and Development Specialist Natalie Papini shares some strategies to keep in mind as we freshen up our fridge in preparation for spring.
Spring is coming, and with it: spring cleaning. Below are a few things to keep in mind when tossing out food as well as strategies to reorganize your refrigerator in a way that simplifies your life and helps you live a healthy lifestyle.
Buying in Bulk
People who buy in bulk tend to eat half of the food they purchased in the first week. Not only does buying in bulk influence portion control, but according to the American Chemistry Council, the average American household throws out $640 of food each year. For an American family of four, the average value of discarded produce is around $1,600 annually.
Be particular about which items you purchase in bulk. Start purchasing nutritious options in bulk (such as vegetables) to ensure your precious refrigerator space is filled with healthy options and repackage the items you purchase into pre-portioned snack bags to keep your snacks on track.
Americans tend to throw away 16% of the food they purchase, so do a quick scan of your cart before checkout and pick out a few perishable items you don’t need.
Finally, consider donating the food you’re throwing away. Around 42 million Americans live in food-insecure households. Your food donation helps those in need and simultaneously creates refrigerator space: a win-win.
The way you store food can influence your eating patterns. What’s at eye level in your refrigerator? Consider placing nutrient dense foods (example: green vegetables, berries, lean proteins) at eye level to increase the likelihood you select those options come snack time. Relocate the less nutrient dense items (example: sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, condiments) in a drawer that is out of plain sight and store them in opaque containers. Out of sight, out of mind.
Be mindful of what needs to be stored in your refrigerator and what can be stored elsewhere. Identify if any vegetables can go without refrigeration and conveniently place them in plain sight on a counter. This can free up space in your fridge and ensure your most nutritional options are visible and easy to grab when hunger arises.
We live in the ‘social media era’ and there’s undue pressure on food to be pretty. Just because your food doesn’t look quite right, doesn’t mean it is rotten.
Embrace ugly food. You’ve probably heard the age-old adage that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The same thing can be said for your food.
Don’t let a few dents in your bell pepper keep you from getting your vitamin A on! Rather than throwing out the asparagus that is “too white” or “not green enough,” cook it into a recipe or donate it to your local food pantry. Call ahead to your local pantry to determine what foods are accepted as well as if they can accept foods that require refrigeration.
So, what are you waiting for? Scan your fridge and create a plan of action. Get out your Profile Grocery Guide and make a list for your next trip to the supermarket. Last but not least, be mindful of what you’re throwing away: that rusted lettuce or bruised bunch of bananas could feed someone in need and at Profile, we’re all about changing lives one relationship at a time!
Want more nutritional guidance and healthy life hacks? Meet with a Profile Coach to learn more about our science-backed, doctor-approved weight loss program.