Before you start meal prepping or even thinking about meal prepping this week I challenge you to have a closer look at your fridge/freezer/pantry/cupboards.
If you’re like me, you might find some month-old lemon you planned on using to make something delicious. Perhaps a half-eaten container of cottage cheese with a little fur. Yum! Or perhaps you’ll find some raisins that use to be grapes. Cleaning out your fridge once a month is a great way to make sure you’re minimizing waste, purging unnecessary and expired items and saving you from buying something you already have!
Your challenge this week is to:
Clean out your fridge:
Throw out anything expired or moldy in your fridge. That means go and read the expiration dates of every sauce in your fridge. Anyone have any ketchup circa 2015, I bet one of you does haha! Check all your condiments, dressings, drinks, dairy products and produce drawers. Make a list of things you should repurchase due to expiration dates. Then wipe everything down! You can take inventory of what you’ve got if you think it’ll be helpful (I prefer to skip this one and do and only inventory my freezer and pantry.
Take inventory of your freezer:
Next, have a look in your freezer. Remember when you thought you needed 48 Eggo waffles from Costco…2 years ago. I do. Toss any meat that’s older than a year or has freezer burn. There is absolutely nothing worse that wasting food, but unless you can see what you’ve got in there, it’ll probably keep happening. Make a list of all the food you’ve got in your freezer and need to use: frozen fruit, veggies, meat, treats, meals, etc. Download your inventory sheets in the link above.
What’s in your pantry and cupboards?
What’s hiding in your pantry and cupboards? Dust? Perfectly good food just waiting to be used? I try to clean my pantry out 3 times a year. The experience always leaves me both pleasantly surprised and horrified with what I find. Turns out I bought 3 srirachas while still having a bottle in the fridge. I also found 2 brand new jars of peanut butter hiding behind the great wall of canned beans. Once again, take a look at expiration dates. If it’s expired toss it. If it hasn’t expired but you don’t think you’ll ever use it, fill a bag to bring to the food bank or donation box at your grocery store. Take inventory of the foods, canned goods you have waiting to be used.
Have a look at your inventory list. What’s one thing you can make using 1 or 2 of the items from your list. Could you possibly make an entire meal? Frozen meat, pasta/rice or quinoa from the pantry, maybe some fresh or frozen vegetables? Next time you go grocery shopping double check your inventory. You might not need to buy 1 or more ingredients. Don’t forget to update your inventory list as you use things.
Food storage times: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html
Let me know if you find anything interesting this challenge!