As I mentioned on my Love post: I love cooking. Part of cooking is making sure that the food in the fridge does not go bad. However, sometimes life keeps us busy, and we forget that small container of pasta in the back the fridge, or the tomatoes that we bought two weeks ago—I know that I have been guilty of it.
However, I have developed a system that keeps me from throwing away food, and monitor my family’s food consumption. I am not always faithful to it (especially during stressful or busy seasons); however, when I do it diligently I don’t run into the issue of overstocking my fridge.
Here it is:
1. Figure out your family’s eating habits. My husband loves to eat fruits and likes to buy a lot; however, I have to constantly remind him that we have fruit on the fridge
- Do your family members go to the fridge and prepare food without notice (if so, what do they like to make)? Or do you have to prepare food for them?
- Do they like a lot of perishable foods (like string cheese or fruit)? If so, do they take the time to open the fridge and look for it? Or do you need to pack it for them?
Tracking your family’s eating habits can help you write out your grocery list, it can point out what items you need to buy more of, and it can also help you remind your family members (like my husband) to eat certain items before they go bad.
2. Take inventory once a week of all of the items that are on your fridge—before you go to the grocery store. While you are taking inventory, move all of the items that are in danger of going bad soon and move them to the same area in your fridge (in my case, it is the second shelf down on the right), I call this the “Danger zone” . Make sure your family eats those items first. Remember that certain food’s shelf life can be extended significantly by simply cooking them (when in doubt look online)
3.Make a meal plan for the week after you take inventory—make sure you use the items from the “danger zone” first. The internet is a wonderful thing, when I discovered that I had a bunch of green tomatoes and onions that needed to be eaten ASAP, I just googled “green tomato and onion recipes” and found different ways to cook those two items.
4.If possible, only go to the grocery store once a week and stick to your shopping list. After you take inventory of your fridge and make a meal plan, make a list for the grocery store (stick to it) and only go once. Not only will you be saving time and money, but it will teach you to be creative. It is very easy to not plan your weekly meals correctly—in my case my husband eats more than what I estimated or we get a surprise guest. Allowing myself to go grocery store once, forces me to look into my fridge and my pantry to come up with creative dishes that can feed us for the one or two days we ran short on food.
5.Keep constant communication. On my fridge I have attached a menu board that tells my husband what the meal plan is for the week. It is also there to write down what food items we are out of, or what perishable items need to be eaten first.
Thank you for reading. Leave a comment below if you have any tips to share that help you keep your fridge items away from the “danger zone”