Hi! I’m Jenna. Welcome to The Spark Wellness Newsletter. I’m a holistic mental wellness coach. I operate at the intersection of mental health, self-care, nutrition and REAL LIFE.
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- Strategies for managing stress and overwhelm
- Evidence-based research and recommendations you can use to take care of your mental wellness
- Recipes and insights that can help you use good mood foods to boost your energy – the best antidote to stress!
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8 Ways to Keep Track of the Food in Your Fridge
Do you ever lose food in the back of the fridge? Do you ever end up buying multiple containers of the same thing because you can't find the ones you have? Have you had to deal with mouldy leftovers because you forget they were there?
I can relate - and I'm guessing you can too. I was at a meeting this week when this came up in the conversation. Everyone had experiences to share - and some good strategies. With the rising cost of food, I know reducing wasted food and cutting spending on groceries is a priority for lots of families, so I've gathered some of my favourite strategies to share. I'll focus on leftovers and fresh produce because these seem to be the biggest challenges.
Use Clear Containers for Food Storage
When you can see what's in a container, it's less likely to get forgotten. Put leftovers in clear containers, or use clear lids so you can quickly assess what's in the fridge. It'll be easier to grab something for lunch, to use leftovers to supplement your next meal or to gather all the containers for a leftover buffet.
Putting chopped vegetables with dip or salad in a clear container will let you see the bright colours and make it an appealing choice when you're grazing in the fridge. Try making salads in a jar with clear containers for a quick, summery lunch. You can download a salad in jar ebook (plus more recipes) from the free Spark Wellness Recipe Library.
Get a roll of freezer tape and use it to label leftovers and containers you put in the freezer. Add the date, so you know how long it has been in the fridge. Freezer tape works best because it won't come off in the fridge or freezer.
Keep a felt pen close by and label condiments when you open them. This can help you figure out if they are still good to use when you clean out the fridge.
Keep Track of Leftovers
Use a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge to keep track of leftovers. You can also use it for your meal plan. When you have leftovers, write down what needs to be eaten and when you plan to eat it. When it's gone, erase it or cross it off.
You can also list the foods you've bought that need to be eaten by might get forgotten. List the vegetables you've bought so you know what's there when you're cooking.
Take Time to Meal Prep
If you are too tired to make a salad with dinner or too tired to even cook dinner, take some time when you have more energy for meal preparation.
If you take an hour once a week to wash and chop vegetables, you can quickly add them to your meals, make a salad or grab them for a quick snack. This saves you time and energy when you're making lunch in the morning before work or school, or at dinner time when you're already tired.
Remove the Crisper Drawers
This is a controversial idea because crisper drawers in your fridge maintain the temperature and humidity for vegetable storage. But, if you find yours are usually full of forgotten fruit and vegetables that are now rotten, take out the drawers. Try clear, produce storage bins instead, so you don't lose track of what's inside.
Keep What You Want to Use at Eye Level
If you want to eat more vegetables, keep them at eye level. If you want your kids to take fruit for a snack, keep it at eye level. You are most likely to choose what's right in front of you when you're looking in the fridge, hoping to find inspiration. Make it easy to follow your goals, by putting what you want to be eating in the front, at eye level. This also works in the pantry cupboard and on the counter. You'll usually choose what's easiest to reach.
Repurpose the Crisper Drawers
Another great suggestion, which I heard from someone else, is to use the crisper drawers to store condiments. You know you'll go looking if you need salad dressing or ketchup, so put them in the drawers and out of sight. This will clear out space for putting the leftovers or fruits and vegetables at eye level where you can see them.
Clean Out Your Fridge
Make sure you clean out your fridge periodically, even if that means facing the mouldy leftovers in the back. Wipe up any sticky drips, throw out the empty condiment containers and generally tidy it up.
When you've finished, group items by type (all the salad dressings together) or by function. If all the toppings for hamburgers are together, you won't need to search the whole fridge when you need them. You can also keep all the ingredients you need for making lunch together or all the kids' snacks on one shelf.
Keeping the fridge clean and organized will make it less scary to go looking inside.
What are your strategies for keeping track of food in your fridge? Email me you great ideas for managing your fridge organization.
Take care and be well,
Jenna Kelland (she/her), PhD (Adult Education)
Holistic Mental Wellness Coach
P.S. I have a few spots available for 1-1 coaching clients. Working with me individually will give us the flexibility to focus on your goals and create a customized plan. Reply to this message if you want to find out more about working together.
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