At CulinArt Group, we’re celebrating National Nutrition Month with Whole Grains all month long, while the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a focus of “Going Further with Food”, something we are proud to emphasize in our cafes all year long. So how do we take our food to the next level – make it last a little longer, enhance the flavor, and reduce the waste? We’re here with 5 tips and tricks to help you go further with food!
- Jazz up your meals with tons of color. Each color comes with its very own nutritional benefits! Rich in different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, bump up the flavor of your meals with more colors. Top oatmeal with fresh berries, spread avocado on sandwiches, mash cauliflower into mashed potatoes (yes white foods have their benefits too!), or top pizza with tons of veggies. Try to use the entire fruit or vegetable – root to stem cooking! Cook broccoli to add to salads, roast pumpkin seeds for a quick snack, blend carrot tops into pesto, and roast beet greens into chips.
- Create a grocery list and only buy what you need. Go to the supermarket with a plan! Grocery shopping should actually start at home…before you leave! Consider what you want to cook, assess what you have in the refrigerator and pantry, and then create a list of items to buy. This will help you stay on track and prevent buying foods you may not need or foods that will spoil before you use them. Only buy food that can be eaten or frozen within a few days.
- Use those leftovers! Time to get creative in the kitchen! Transform your leftovers into brand new meals. Leftover veggies? Add to soups and stews. Too much roasted chicken? Make into chicken salad or slice for sandwiches. Stale bread? Grind into breadcrumbs or bake into croutons. Extra rice? Add to homemade veggie burgers or make rice pudding. Try to use foods that will spoil more quickly to get the most out of your delicious dishes.
- Store food properly. Fruits and vegetables all ripen at different times and temperatures. Some fruits, like apples, naturally give off ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening of surrounding produce. Tomatoes and root vegetables should be left on the counter for optimal taste and freshness. Veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce should be stored in the fridge for crispness. When storing berries, remove any spoiled berries, because like apples, one bad berry can spoil the bunch. For proper storage, consider each fruit and vegetable individually for long lasting results.
- Keep up with food safety practices. Remember these four words to keep up with food safety – Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. Clean your hands, work surfaces, and produce before cooking. Separate raw and cooked food in your grocery cart and refrigerator. Also, use separate cutting boards for produce and meat. Cook and store foods at the appropriate temperature. Chill, freeze, and thaw foods properly. Follow these guidelines for safer cooking and eating.
Tell us: how are you helping to reduce food waste and going further with food?