While I don’t love the vaguely defined term “clean eating”, I do love a clean kitchen. Many of you may find that after stocking up for a pandemic, you may have items leftover that you didn’t use.
A recent consumer survey completed by the International Food Information Council showed that people are more concerns about the environment and food waste.
“One in four are paying more attention to the amount of food wasted from meals when eating at home, while 19% are paying more attention to the type of packaging used in products they’re buying, and 17% are doing the same when it comes to the amount of packaging used in products they purchase.”
Unfortunately, the survey also showed a downturn in hand-washing and overall food safety practices. Not a good trend! Of the survey takers, 52% report washing their hands after going to the grocery store, down from 63% in April.Please wash your hands often, especially before you prepare food, and before you consume it. Click To Tweet
Clean and Reorganize
Now is a great time to reorganize your kitchen. Start with the refrigerator, and then move on to the pantry and cabinets. Finally, clean the whole room.
- Literally empty the refrigerator, one shelf at a time, then the doors (keep foods cold in a cooler with ice blocks while you clean). Wipe shelves down with a kitchen disinfectant spray, working from top to bottom, including doors.
- Sort the food you removed from the refrigerator, check dates, determine if it should go back in or not (or on another shelf). Continue this process until you’ve emptied everything out, checked, sorted, and put back.
- Move open items to the front. If there’s only a few tablespoons left in a jar, use them up in the next day or two, or figure out a way to work it into a recipe. Take note of any cheese or cream cheese that’s expiring and plan a meal around it before expiration.
Staying organized can help reduce food waste
Once you see what you have, and what you may donate, you can plan out a few meals with things that are ready to use.
- Use up leftover veggies. Do you have a leftover veggie tray or the bag of broccoli you never got around to cooking? Now is a great time to whip up a stir fry or make veggie soup. Leftover fresh herbs? Blend them into a herb pesto for pasta.
- Keep cut tomatoes, peppers, onion, or citrus in produce-keepers that keep them fresh longer.
- Have frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer? Chop it and make our salsa.
- If you have several cereal boxes open, consider using a container for cereal. These have air-tight lids that help keep cereal fresh longer, reducing waste.
- If you overbought canned goods or other pantry ingredients, consider donating them to your food bank or church. Make the donation now while the “best buy” date is still good.
Keep Counters Clear and Clean
Sanitizing isn’t just for flu season, it’s important to keep your kitchen and home safe all year. Once your refrigerator and cabinets are cleaned, wipe down everything. Use a multi-purpose kitchen disinfectant spray (or bleach wipes) on all counter tops and faucets, cabinet knobs/handles, and wipe down the outside of your cabinets with a damp cloth. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water, and clean things that are sticky or marked (microwave turntable, utensils, toaster oven ‘crumb catcher’, coffee carafe).
Don’t forget to wipe down all appliances, including the top of the refrigerator or microwave, and vacuum and mop the floor.
My Idea of Clean Eating
A clean kitchen keeps food safe, and so does proper hand-washing. Always remember to wash your hands frequently when handling and cooking food, and be sure your children do as well (it’s always a good idea to have your children wash their hands right after school).
Keep your kitchen sanitized and organized, and you’ll waste less food as well. A clean kitchen also helps prevent food borne illness. That’s my idea of clean eating!