Are You Throwing Veggies and Money Down the Drain?

Last fall, I went apple picking and beet pulling. Such a fun day! In my excitement though, I bought A LOT of apples and beets. 

During the ensuing apple sauce making and beet roasting production, I started thinking about how I often hear from people that they don't buy many fruits and veggies because they end up going bad before they can eat them. They feel like they're tossing food and money down the garbage disposal. 

Since I'm always looking for ways I can help people eat more fruits and veggies, here are 5 tips to help you increase your fruit and veggie consumption and decrease your food and money waste.

1. Beware of the crisper.

Though nice and spacious, your fridge's crisper a.k.a the drawer of death is often where fruits and vegetables go to die. Be honest, how often have you opened up your crisper, pushed something aside and found a petrified orange or carrots? If you do keep something in the crisper, try to keep it consistent so you know what's in there. For instance, I tend to keep lemons, limes and apples in mine. 

2. Use glass storage containers. 

We typically reach for what we see and what's easy. If you see a healthy snack through clear, glass containers, you're more likely to reach for it. I try to have red and green peppers cut up in a clear container so they're ready for snacking. Clear containers also help us avoid that archaeological dig that can take place when a container gets pushed to the back of the fridge.

3. De-clutter your fridge.

Once a week, ideally when you're putting in new groceries, take 60 seconds to look around the fridge and see if anything needs to be tossed. Seriously, you'll be surprised what you can do in 60 seconds.

4. Lengthen the shelf life. 

Some things live longer out of the fridge and some things live longer in the fridge. 

  • Bananas like it outside of the fridge. They'll brown in the fridge so leave them out on the counter. If they end up ripening before you can eat them, put them in the freezer and use them for smoothies or banana bread.
  • Avocados and tomatoes keep ripening if left out of the fridge. If they are ripen and you just can't eat them before they go bad, just pop 'em in the fridge and they'll stop ripening. 
  • Do you have some veggies that are about to go bad and there's no way you can eat them all? Just cut them up, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them. Then, they'll last longer in the fridge. You can them to use them on salads, in an omelette, in a tortilla with the above avocado or as a nice side dish that's ready to roll. You can even freeze them. 
  • If your pre-washed greens sometimes get soggy and mushy before you eat them, try placing a paper towel on top of the greens in the container so that any moisture that may accumulate on inside of the lid or bag is on the paper towel not your greens. 
  • Consider buying frozen fruits and veggies. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen so they are often more nutritious than fresh. And, they last a long time!

 5. Spending money sometimes saves us money.

Sometimes, we may try to save money by buying vegetables that need to be prepped, washed and cut. But, often we just don't have the time when we're rushing to get dinner on the table, we end up wasting money and tossing the fruit or veggies down the drain. This is when it's time to spend a little extra and buy the pre-washed or pre-cut veggies. 

One final note, be sure to think through your week before you hit the grocery store. Are you dining in or out more that week? Adjust your buying accordingly.

That's it for today! If you're looking for some veggies to roast, try some beets!