During a time of social distancing, it’s important that we limit our time spent in the grocery store. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests families buy enough food for a week or two at a time. If you’re like our family, that can prove challenging. We went from a family that cooked three to four meals a week, and honestly - ate out the rest of the week (thank you - two full-time jobs and Grad school! 😬) to eating 21 meals a week at home!
Within the first week of social distancing, my husband and I quickly realized we were going to have to get organized to avoid food waste. It’s taken us a week or two to master no food waste and buying enough food for two weeks, but we’ve finally managed to prove it’s possible. How do I add this skill to my LinkedIn? - Project management, right?! 😉 Here are five tips for two weeks worth of social distancing meals with no food waste and no running out of food!!
Before you conquer your big trip out, plan your meals. You figure you will need enough supplies for 42 meals and if you have kids, 28 snacks.
Take a few minutes and plan your meals. Check out my easy printable meal planner here.
Keep your breakfast and lunches simple. Think childhood favorites - cereal, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, yogurt & granola, bagels, etc.
We like to plan three simple meals for both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, we rotate between yogurt, peanut butter toast, and cereal. For lunch, we rotate between sandwiches (lunch meat days 1-3 and peanut butter days 4-14), grilled veggie quesadillas, and leftovers from dinner.
The best way to avoid food waste is to avoid spoilage as long as possible. The trick to this - your freezer!
Ration. When you return with your two weeks of supplies. Put what you need for the next 3-4 days in the fridge. Then the rest goes in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze that extra gallon of milk and two loaves of bread!
Next, be sure to properly store your fruits and vegetables. If you wash your produce immediately (which I highly recommend), be sure your produce is fully dry before placing them in the fridge to avoid spoilage.
Prep: Go ahead and cut your onions, peppers, green beans, etc. Place what you need in the fridge. The rest can go into freezer safe bags and into the freezer.
Lastly, divide your meats into meal-size portions. Anything for meals later in the week and week two can go into the freezer.
Check your meal plan each day and see what ingredients you need to pull out of the freezer to cook tomorrow’s meal. It can thaw in the fridge.
I love leftovers! So much that I often cook a meal knowing I will have them. I call them “plannedovers.” Plannedovers mean I have an easy lunch that I just need to heat up.
BONUS: You can always transform leftovers into a yummy new creation. Two of my favorites are grilled chicken and steak night. See my two blogs on how you can transform these yummy dinners into whole new meals: chicken salad and steak omelets.
Staying home for every meal does not have to be boring. Pick a new recipe that you’ve always wanted to try for dinner one night. If you have kids, let each of them pick a meal to cook for the family. Embrace the time at home. After all, some of the best memories come from the kitchen. Does your family like cajun food? Try my yummy Jambalaya recipe.
Do you have a yummy family favorite recipe? Share your family’s creation with CreateMyCookbook’s Family Recipe Group!
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