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With less dining out and more at-home meals taking place, your kitchen may be working overtime and busting at the seams with groceries.
According to BMO Equity Research, grocery sales in the United States grew 83 percent for the 2 weeks ending March 22.
“An organized kitchen makes it easier to cook solo and bring your family to cook together. When all family members know where the tools are, the preparation is easy to accomplish and share responsibilities. An organized kitchen helps you feel more comfortable preparing your meals for you and your family,” Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer, told Healthline.
Here are 6 simple tips to help you get your kitchen optimally organized:
A lot goes into preparing three meals a day, so come up with a plan and be as consistent as possible, Delap said.
“Write up your menu to be sure you have all the ingredients and plan for each meal. Get organized for your online grocery shopping to cut down on trips. You can order 7 days at a time for most fresh produce. Plan a ‘cafeteria style’ leftovers meal once a week. It cuts down on preparation and uses up leftovers,” she said.
Devin Alexander, celebrity chef and NY Times bestselling author, agreed. She suggested buying ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes.
Each week, Alexander said she buys a couple of her favorite lean proteins, such as chicken breast, lean ground turkey, frozen wild salmon or cod, and plenty of vegetables, including fresh kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
“[These] are going to last a lot longer than most leafy greens like spinach and arugula,” Alexander told Healthline.
Once you add some healthy grains to your list like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and corn tortillas, she said it’s easy to morph them into meals using pantry staples, such as beans, olives, olive oil, vinegar, salsas, and spice blends.
“For instance, I’d make Lean and Loaded nachos one night. Then a brown rice bowl with the chicken the next,” she said.
When you bring your groceries home from the store and before you start cooking, wash your hands and place your groceries on a clean surface near the sink. Delap suggested dividing your cleaning products into categories: daily or weekly use and backup storage.
“Daily or weekly use are easily accessed under a sink in the kitchen. Back up storage locations include the laundry room, an auxiliary closet, or a tall shelf just inside the garage door to the house,” she said.
For the best ways to clean your countertops and other surfaces in the home during the pandemic, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After the countertop is clean, Delap said to wipe down the exterior of product cartons, and wash fruits and vegetables. Then wipe down your countertops after putting away your groceries.
When Alexander gets home from the store, she said she first removes all the twist-ties from herbs and washes and dries them thoroughly to prolong their life.
“I cut up a few days’ worth of fruit and veggies so I can quickly grab them to snack on or put in salads,” she said.
During meal prep, Delap said to make sure you have some fun throughout the process, especially if you’re involving kids.
“There are meals focusing on a country, i.e., Italian or Mexican, which include not only the food of the country, [but] learning about the country itself, dressing up for the meal in that country’s attire, and learning the language of that country. I have seen a family luau, a fancy restaurant dinner where the parents are the wait staff, and family picnics for dinner,” she said.
Even the best cooks and those who cook often have expired canned goods and other foods in their pantry, Delap said.
Set aside some time to take everything out of the pantry and toss expired goods. Then sort the non-expired foods into categories that make sense to you.
“Think personal grocery store. Group items together that are snacks, canned goods (fruits, soups, meats, vegetables), condiments, beverages, baking, and breakfast,” she said.
Next, arrange your pantry by use with more frequently used items stored at eye level, such as the center of the pantry, which offers easy access.
“Work up for more adult-related foods and down for kid access items,” Delap said.
Each time you add something to the pantry, Alexander said to make it a habit to put it behind other items, not at the front of the cabinet or pantry.
“Especially when you don’t use something extremely frequently. As you empty your grocery bags, rotate those beans or that sauce so that the one that has been there longer (likely expiring more quickly) is brought to the front,” she said.
Placing items in baskets and clear bins and grouping them for uniformity can help keep them from going to the wayside. And labeling your finished pantry can help keep it from getting messy again.
“It makes it easy to know where to put the groceries and keep your pantry maintained,” Delap said.
With lots of groceries going in and out of the refrigerator, the following tips can keep things efficient:
Start by going through all of your cabinets and getting rid of duplicates of tools and appliances and those that are broken.
Then, Delap said to move on to the following:
It can also help to create kitchen zones. For example:
While cleanup is never the best part of a meal, Delap said creating a kitchen cleanup music playlist can inspire motivation.
“Ask your Alexa to play high-energy music and make it more fun,” she said.
And as you load the dishwasher more often, the following tips can help keep it running smoothly, according to Samsung:
Article Source: https://www.healthline.com