Anyone else have typically think of spring cleaning when March rolls in?
Well, this March rolled in with much more cleaning than many of us might have expected with this COVID-19 pandemic.
Just like it’s important to periodically deep clean and purge unnecessary clutter around the house, it’s helpful to reevaluate your meal planning, shopping and food prepping routine too.
Especially in times like this where our shopping and cooking habits are likely impacted significantly with all the challenges we face during COVID-19.
Here are a few simple steps for spring cleaning your cooking routine as we head into this new season, whether you are working a lot and don’t have time to cook much or if you are stuck at home and find yourself using what is in your pantry.
Step 1: Take inventory of your pantry
It might sound scary, but now’s the time to venture into the depths of the pantry, fridge, and freezer to see exactly what you have, then strategize how to use it. Don’t forget to check for expiration dates as well. If needed, toss it! If it’s still good but you likely won’t use, donate it!
Save money as you work through shelf-stable items before purchasing too many duplicates and remember to re-stock those healthy staples that make fast weeknight meals, like this roasted vegetable quinoa bowl. Some of our family favorites are canned tomatoes, canned beans, coconut milk, vegetable broth and nutrient-rich whole grains like quinoa.
Step 2: Embrace seasonal produce
One simple way to get out of a cooking rut is to switch up your go-to fruits and vegetables based on the season.
Bonus: this also means fresher and less expensive finds!
Try our simple grilled vegetables like this one for a Tofu with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto for a simple spring side dish that will get rave reviews. We also love salads with seasonal fruits and vegetables like this one Strawberry Almond Chia Pudding - featuring strawberries as they are back in season in March.
If you don’t have access to a lot of fresh produce, consider looking into a Tower Garden! This aeroponic gardening system allows you to grow at least 20 different fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, and even micro-greens. That way when you need it, you can simply go from your Tower to Table. Great even if you don't have a lot of space, time, or have a "black thumb" like me.
Plus, Tower Gardens can be a great way to pass the time when you are at home (especially if you have kids at home). You can read more on how to pass the time with a Tower Garden here.
Step 3: Find a meal planning method that actually works.
Remember that meal planning is key to staying on track with healthy living goals so if your current setup isn’t working, it might be time to switch gears.
Make it a goal to find an approach that feels doable -- and more importantly, sustainable -- in the long term. If this is something you struggle with, you might consider outsourcing.
I recommend right now trying out my Pantry Power What to Eat Meal Plan to save time so you can focus on improving your culinary skills and enjoying home-cooked meals with those pantry staples instead of having to worry about the endless recipe searching.
Dedicating time to freshen up your cooking routine can produce results that last. A simple, well-planned menu and well-stocked pantry will reduce your stress in the kitchen and limit the need for takeout.
Set yourself up for success - which step will you tackle first?