Feeding the Temple: Thinking Ahead, Part 2
If you love to eat, and we do, there must be food in the fridge and pantry from which we gather the ingredients…so let’s go shopping!
- During the week keep a paper and pen, or an erase board, close at hand in the kitchen to jot down frequently used items that require refilling
- When an idea comes to mind for a dinner menu, jot that down, too, so that you can pick up ingredients that fit that bill of fare
- Before leaving the house, have the five or six meals for the week broken down into necessary ingredients that must be added to the staples you have on hand
- Always take a list with you when you shop, even when you intend to meander through the aisles to avoid that “oops!” when you return home
- If you’re a woman, NEVER place your purse in the cart. Carry with you, for shopping, a small purse that holds the credit cards, coupons, store membership card and list that has a shoulder strap that can go over your head and one shoulder. It should be lightweight so as to avoid a resulting pain in the neck!
- If there is a sale on certain foods, consider adding those to the cart for prepping and freezing or as add-on ingredients to the planned meals
- Place frozen and refrigerated items in the cart last to retain the cold as long as possible
- If you’re doing the sacking, be sure to place all cold items together and, if you’re not the sacker, be sure the one who is, does so
- Don’t forget healthy snacks in the produce section for those after-dinner food attacks, or packing for lunch, and for any hands that reach into the fridge or search the counter, for a tasty, quick fix (baby carrots, celery, grapes, grape or cherry tomatoes, tangerines, fruits like apples and pears)
- Consider prewashed, packaged produce and check weight and cost, since sometimes the additional cost for them doing the work is a worthy expenditure when compared to your time, including carrots of any kind…they come in finger size, slices and shredded (saves the mess of peeling and then slicing and shredding…a big timesaver at low cost; cabbage, already shredded that can be used for salads, slaw or soups and one-dish meals; cleaned and packaged spinach, mixed salad greens and kale in plastic boxes (a longer lasting choice than bagged); mushrooms, prewashed and sliced; organic Romaine hearts that will save oodles of mess because all the messy outer leaves are removed (how to make ready will follow); and although costly, but a real timesaver when necessary, chopped onion and bell pepper, mixed or separate, in a plastic container
Hint: When buying onions, choose the flattest onions you can find…they are sweeter
- Alert: Mixing greens, such as, mixed salad greens and/or spinach or kale with Romaine will provide you a healthier salad. Head lettuce affords little to no vitamins. Bagged, prewashed lettuce has a “plastic” taste and should only be used in emergencies. Flush with cold water in a colander, dry with paper towel and refrigerate, covered with wet paper towel, until mixing with other salad stuff.
- Alert: When buying prepacked cabbage slaw, or kale salad, try to find this product without the dressing included, because of the exceedingly higher cost for something you can easily mix yourself (recipes will be in subsequent articles) and exceedingly high calorie and fat counts!
- Alert: Always check expiration dates and thrust your hand into the back of the shelf to make sure that you’re choosing the latest possible date, so that the produce doesn’t expire before you have an opportunity to use it all. Most expiration dates leave a few days for use afterward (how to use that produce before it spoils will be covered in future articles). You’ll be surprised at what you can partially cook and freeze for a quick “throw together” meal at a later date. If the contents spoil before the expiration date, return it! The reputable store will happily refund your money!
We are now ready to run up and down the aisles and pick up goodies for pantry stocking and those foods necessary to prepare the dinners, and lunches, on our week’s menus. There are a few important tips regarding the canned, boxed and wrapped items that we’ll talk about here.
Then, in our next get together, we’ll take our goodies home scheduling enough time, after returning home, to spend cleaning and setting up the produce for storage in the refrigerator. So much can be accomplished before the veggies are put into the fridge or the cans and boxes are lined up in the pantry. Then, when you’re ready to literally throw dinner together, the ingredients are already prepped.
- Stick with your list, but don’t be so rigid that you miss a good sale item that you know you can use in the next few months
- Be aware that a product on the endcap is a gotcha that the store is prompting you to buy. Make sure it’s a good buy.
- The stores move products around, requiring that you see things from a different point of view, and buy something you hadn’t intended to buy
- Always check the price per ounce. So often the price per ounce is lower on the smaller package, because you’re expecting the price to be higher on the smaller size, with a lower price reflected on the large, “economy” size.
- Take the time to read labels! The fat and calorie content are important to your health. However, be sure you read the “serving size,” as well. If a can of soup has 4 grams of fat (right there you have 36 calories) and 200 calories per serving, and there are 2.5 servings in the can, the total is 90 fat calories, 10 grams of fat, and a total of 500 calories. You’ve never shared that can with anyone else, so, really! 2.5 servings? It makes sense to take the extra time to read the label. There may be another product that will suit you as well, without the high fat and calorie count.
- Remember to check the store brand items. Sometimes they are even better than the name brands and usually cost less. At least they are worth a try so that you’re a well-informed shopper.
Now, let’s check out and go home!