Keeping Food Fresh and Your Budget in Check
The average household in Australia spends about $44 per week in restaurants. With an average weekly food budget of around $300 for a family, that’s 15% of the entire budget being consumed away from home. As a busy Mum you do your best to keep your family healthy and your family budget balanced day in and day out. By eating in more often than eating out, you can accomplish that goal. But life is hectic! Between soccer games and teacher conferences and overtime in the office meals are sometimes grabbed on the go and the food you intended to prepare at home is left to spoil. With a few simple changes, you can keep your family healthy and save money in the process!
Check Your Fridge
Your refrigerator is your first line of defense in food freshness. Obviously fresh fruits and veggies taste better than wilty ones but this is really a matter of safety and keeping your family safe is your top priority. In order to keep food safe, your fridge should maintain a temperature between 0℃- 4℃ degrees and your freezer -18℃. If either falls below that level the safety of your food is compromised.
Reduce Food Waste
It’s the end of the week and you cringe to find bunches of limp broccoli and a leaky container of berries in your produce drawer that can no longer be fed to your family. In order to reduce food waste and stop throwing money in the bin with the spoiled fruit you simply have to cook, freeze, or blend them up.
Cook it Up
As you approach the end of your grocery cycle you may notice you overbought in the veggie department. Before those green beans turn from okay to unsafe, steam them while you are cooking dinner or prepping lunches, even if you don’t intend to eat them right away. Cooked food can safely last in your fridge for up to 4 days and if you don’t eat it by then, you can toss it in the freezer for further preservation.
Freeze It For Freshness
Did you know that many foods can be safely preserved in your freezer for up to one full year? Talk about prolonging the life of your food! Many fresh fruits and veggies freeze well with little or no preparation such as tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and kale. Others fare better when cooked or packed in sugar.
Smoothies and Stocks
Your blender is your new best friend when it comes to food preservation. Raspberries, strawberries, greens, and bananas that are close to expiration and therefore unappealing to eat on their own are still perfectly safe and delicious when blended up in a smoothie. Mix fruits and veggies with water, juice, tea, milk, or another base of your choice and enjoy a convenient and healthy meal you and your brood can take anywhere.
Making stock is an easy way to get more out of the food in your fridge. If your family enjoys roasted chicken, the entire carcass can be simmered in purified water overnight without adding a single thing. Strain the bones in the morning and voila! You have a batch of healthy and delicious chicken stock to add to grains, soups, and greens. Freeze in ice trays and freezer bags to give yourself access to a little or a lot when needed.
Veggie trimmings from celery, carrots, onions, peppers, and more can be prepared in the same way, though you may want to add some salt and pepper to taste. You’ll never have to buy another carton of premade stock again!.