March is National Nutrition Month! Every March I like to assess our lifestyle and decide on one nutrition goal to focus on for my family. This year, that goal is going to be to eat all our fruits and veggies before they spoil! This is a great goal for several reasons:
- Less Waste!
- Save Money!
- It means we’d be eating more fruits and vegetables.!
The motivation for this goal, was finding this bag of spinach had gone bad while I wasn’t looking. I went to add to a salad, and it was too late. You know, slimy and mushy. Booooo.
So, here are my 5 strategies to accomplish this goal in March. No spoiling! No throwing away, and lot’s in our tummies.
- Check dates, and possibly under ripe items! The first step starts at the store. If purchasing anything in a bag, check the date stamped, and for heavens sake- get the one that has the latest date on it. Also, when buying fruits or veggies you will portion out for the week, like bananas, buy some that are ripe enough to eat right away, and others that won’t be ready for a few days.
- Store produce properly! If I could cut and paste this entire post I would, but basically, they have a list for items to store in the fridge like apples, apricots, and honeydew. Items to not store in the fridge like avocados, bananas, peaches, and tomatoes (oops.. I always put tomatoes in the fridge). Another thing to remember, is if you can avoid it, don’t wash or cut your produce if you want it to last longer. This is contrary to what we usually teach which is “have it washed and cut ready to eat”, but the idea here is, that it will actually last longer if you leave it as is.
- Plan out our meals for the days we will eat which foods. To be honest, we don’t have to do this with fruit. Fruit gets eaten before it goes bad, every single time. But veggies, they need to be planned into our week.
- Spot check our vegetables anytime I’m in the fridge. Even if I bought this spinach on Monday, and planned to eat it Wednesday, sometimes it will still turn bad before it is supposed to. Spot checking will tell us when spoiling is beginning, and then we can do a quick rearranging of our meal ideas and get to it right away.
- Last of course is to USE it or LOSE it! This sometimes means you have to get creative. If a food is on the verge of spoilage and no one will eat it within the day, I will do one of several alternatives:
**Juice it and freeze for later use in smoothies, broths, or homemade juice. This is some carrot juice I froze into a shaped mold. We used it in a carrot-vanilla-banana smoothie.
**Puree it and freeze. I often do this with squash, although I couldn’t find a post where I have.
**Just freeze it as is! Lay out your vegetables or fruit on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until the food freezes, independent of one another. After it’s mostly frozen, then dump into a freezer safe bag. This way, it won’t clump together.
So, that is the plan! The trash collector will not find any produce in our trash for the entire month of March!