Imagine this scene… There is food in the refrigerator that needs to be cooked, but you are too busy. The one night that you can make time, you look in the refrigerator and the pieces don't quite add up to a meal so you order take-out. When the weekend comes around and you actually have time to cook a big dinner, your lettuce is wilted, the sweet potatoes have gone soft, the greens aren't green, the garlic sprouted... You have been thinking about starting a compost bin, but you haven't yet, so it all goes into the garbage and you start again.
Does this sound familiar (or is it just me)? But then some weeks are the opposite:
On Sunday you make a grocery list and shop. When you get home from shopping you take some time to prep your vegetables so that they are ready to be quickly thrown together for lunch or dinner. You make a big pot of something that can be used throughout the week (chili, stew, beans and rice or a whole chicken) and put that away, even freezing some for those rushed evenings when something unexpected comes up. You cook Sunday supper. You’ve planned your dinners for the week and pack lunches at night, and everyone gets fed and nothing grows green fur in your crisper drawer.
How is all this planning ahead and stocking up making your kitchen (and you) more sustainable?
- You plan ahead and don’t waste any food.
- You buy items in bulk, saving money and packaging.
- You go to the farmers market and buy local, in-season vegetables that are cheaper (because the farmer has them in abundance), have little or no pesticides (because of the farmer’s growing practices) and you support your local economy.
Planning out your week feels really good - for your health, your pocketbook, your planet, your farmer - and it tastes amazing!
How can you make it happen every week? Easy!
- Pick a weekly day/time to sit with a few cookbooks or your favorite recipe blogs (like our Real Food Right Now series)
- Write out meals for every night of the week and note when you can use the leftovers or make a double batch (use a meal planning app or print a meal planner like this one from KrisCarr.com)
- Make a list for your shopping trip (always check out what you already have on hand, and keep a list on the fridge to add to during the week – find a cute one and print it out. Like this grocery list from Palmettos & Pigtails. It makes planning more fun!)
- Be sure to have staples on hand – rice, pasta, nuts, beans, spices (check your stock and add items to your shopping list periodically)
- Shop at your favorite markets – farmers’ markets, a grocery store with good deals, your local coop
- Prepare/clean ingredients ahead of time
- Cook/freeze dinners nightly
- Pack up left overs for lunches
- Keep the most perishable foods visible – consider moving older items to the top shelf