I am a woman of routines. I love turning on the auto pilot to accomplish household tasks leaving me with time to daydream. Since I go grocery shopping every Thursday at Costco, on Wednesdays I spend a little time to make my menu for the week and prep my fridge for fresh fruits and vegetables. Friends always ask me how I am able to buy the bulk size produce for a family of four without it going bad before we finish it. This is how I do it.
1) Freeze Fruit
Each week I see if there are any fruit that is hitting its capacity on ripeness, berries past perfection, bananas that are too freckly, leftover cut up peaches from a snack a few days ago. I take all of these and lay them on a cookie sheet to pop into the freezer. I quickly cut off strawberry tops, take out pits or peel off banana peels. I put on the timer for an hour and when it beeps, I take the frozen fruit and shake it into a freezer Ziploc bag. Why don’t I just put them in the Ziploc to begin with? If I put them on the cookie sheet first, it keeps the fruit from freezing together into a huge ball. This way, each piece of fruit is frozen on its own. I label the bag and use for smoothies. I rarely need to buy frozen fruit as I always have enough on hand.
2) Make Juice
As you might be able to tell, Wednesday is the healthiest day of my week. I will also use any fruits or veggies to make a large pitcher of juice. I have had a
for two years now and love it. Wilted spinach or kale, apple cores, sorry looking cucumbers, lemons or limes with little pep all get put into the juicer, usually with a thumb of ginger because I like my juice spicy. My kids love juice day and I know my body is thankful for it too.
3) Stir Fry
Wednesday night is always stir fry night. I do this to make sure I am constantly using vegetables in our diet and to keep our veggies rotation fresh. Wednesday nights I pull out all my vegetables that would work for the meal and any leftover meat. Sometimes it’s just a single chicken breast or steak from a meal earlier in the week. Sometimes it’s a ½ lb of ground beef I can brown and throw in. Sometimes, I have no protein but no one complains. I make some rice and usually mix up my own sauce with some mixture of peanut butter, hoisin, soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar. Sure I could buy a bottle of premade teriyaki sauce or peanut sauce but the whole point is to use up the stuff lying around the fridge. If I’m really tired or lacking creativity, I just use soy sauce and no one cries.
4) Trade with Friends
Last year at school pick up, I discovered that another family at our school shops weekly at Costco. They don’t do their shopping on Thursdays but Mondays which is PERFECT. We decided to combine forces. Now each week after our shopping trip, we make a small bag of produce for each other. We call it our own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We share a little from each bag of veggies and fruit we buy and bring it to school pick up. This freshens up our produce stock during the week but also gets both our families to try new things. I admit I get a little thrill each week when I get a text from the other family saying “Look for me at pick up…I have a CSA bag for you!” I love that it’s not just about keeping my family healthy but that food brings people together. I love sharing this tradition with our CSA family.
Even if you do just one of these steps you will be able to get so much more out of your grocery budget and have a healthier diet too!