Anyone else have spring cleaning on their mind when March rolls in? 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. Here are a few simple steps for spring cleaning your kitchen and cooking routine as we head into this new season.
Step 1: Cleaning out the kitchen.
As we move through this season, it’s important to take a look at your kitchen and start tossing any old items. Around the kitchen sink, toss and replace everyday cleaning items like sponges or scrubbers. On the countertops, clean any appliances, toaster, and dishrack. Onto the refrigerator and freezer, where it’s time to check for any old foods, expiration dates, and foods that may need t be used soon. Use the first in, first out method of bringing any of the old food from the back to the front so that they can be used before they get old. Making sure to scrub the shelves or any old spills or food particles. Next, take-a-look at your herbs and spices. Organize and combine any of the similar ones you have on hand and start to get rid of any that you have had for a long time and may need to be tossed. Clean and update curtains or blinds and kitchen towels. Depending on how much time you have, you may want to deep clean your kitchen on a weekend or break the cleaning tasks down into multiple weekends throughout the summer.
Step 2: Take inventory of your pantry.
It might sound scary, but now’s the time to venture into the depths of the pantry to see exactly what you have on hand and then strategize how to use it (or if needed, toss it!). Save money as you work through shelf-stable items before purchasing duplicates and remember to re-stock those healthy staples that make fast weeknight meals a breeze. Some of our favorites are canned tomatoes, vegetable broth and nutrient-rich whole grains like quinoa.
Step 3: 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. Seasonal produce is often more flavorful and more cost effective. Often, these are more environmentally friendly and reduce the carbon footprint as it was produced in an area closer to your home. Spring produce includes artichoke, asparagus, peas, strawberries, mangoes, and pineapple.
Step 4: Find a meal planning method that works.
Remember that meal planning is key to staying on track with healthy living goals so if your current setup is not 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.
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?
Resources from the episode:
Do not forget to grab your FREEBIE: Meal Planning made Easy.
Freebie\Final – Meal planning made EASY with recipes _ Tricia S. copy.pdf: