Spring Clean Home Cooking
Written by Palmer Nowak
There is one thing that we absolutely need to do every day: eat. For many of us, this can be overwhelming to manage. Here are a few ways you can reset your approach and start the spring season on a fresh note.
Understand Your Grocery Bill
Happiness in your home kitchen starts at the grocery store. Harness the power you have as a consumer and take control of what’s in your grocery basket.
Understanding where your hard-earned dollars are going is empowering. When you are aware of much you spend on each item, you are less likely to waste that ingredient and you will ultimately make more mindful purchases.
Take a look at what you spent on groceries last week and ask yourself if that’s what you want to continue. Choose a maximum amount you are willing to spend on food in total in a week. Include takeout and groceries in the total. Next, plan for how you are going to stay within that limit, and I guarantee you will approach grocery shopping and home cooking in a whole new way.
How I do it:
At the beginning of the week, I review my calendar and decide how many meals I am going to make at home. This routine helps keep my life on track and reduces my stress level. I typically plan for five dinners, two to three breakfast recipes and two to three lunch options. I let what’s already in my fridge guide my decision making. To narrow it down further, I get in tune with what my body is craving, and what’s appropriate for the weather. Then I head to the grocery store with a complete list and get started.
Invest in High-Quality Produce
Cheap produce does not equal long-term saving. When the quality of the produce that you select is high, it lasts longer in your fridge and yields more delicious results. You will find that you waste less produce and feel more in control of your fridge.
Since you are spending more on the produce, you will feel extra motivation to use it up.
You will feel more inspired while shopping since the produce looks, feels and smells better.
Additional money-saving tips:
Stock up on items such as canned goods, condiments, eggs, milk and cheese at discount grocers. These are items that are universal across grocery store chains but guaranteed to be the lowest price at a discount grocer.
Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season – they are cheaper, typically local and more delicious.
Decide What is a Top Priority for You
Make the decision for yourself about what is important to you. For example, if saving time is top priority for you, buy pre-cut items confidently and understand you are paying a cost for that service. If saving money is a top priority for you, take the time to chop, slice and dice them yourself. With that, you will save money and refine your knife skills.
Read Recipes Before You Start
I cannot stress enough how important it is to read the instructions completely before you start cooking any recipe. Reading the ingredient list is not enough. No matter your skill level, it is essential you understand the process before you can achieve the final result.