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How To Eat Healthy On A Budget - Try These Food Storage Tips

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How To Eat Healthy On A Budget - Try These Food Storage Tips

The difference in these berries?  It was how they were stored!

These are four strawberries from the same package at the grocery, and this is after 10 days in the refrigerator!

Not long ago, food storage was a term primarily used by 'preppers.' Not so now. With ongoing increases in food prices and a focus on healthy eating, it's little wonder that food is consuming a larger chunk of the family budget. Adding a hectic daily schedule to this mix can make healthy eating on a budget seem like a pipe dream. The solution? Rethink how you are storing your food and keeping it fresh.

What are some of our best food storage tips?

The right 'tools' are everything - every home should be well stocked with quality, BPA free kitchen storage containers. Look for durable, multipurpose containers that can be used for storing, freezing, food preparation and possibly even as a to-go container. If you enjoy a particular food, such as fresh herbs or salad, consider purchasing a container designed specifically for storing that food and keeping it fresh longer. Need an example? Just look at the strawberries in the image above. All of these berries were from the same container and were roughly the same size when purchased from the grocery. The strawberries on the top though were stored for ten days in the refrigerator in a berry bag, and were quite firm and delicious when eaten. The two below were simply stored in a glass compote next to the 'test' berries in the produce bag. You can clearly see the difference the produce storage bag made. In addition to produce storage bags, examples of specialty food storage containers can include:

  • Banana bags for keeping bananas fresh
  • Pasta containers - perfect for open boxes of pasta
  • Fresh herb storage containers
  • Meat and deli containers
  • Flour containers - particularly useful if you can freeze the container and contents
  • Sugar containers, especially airtight containers for storing brown sugar
  • Cereal containers
  • Lettuce containers

Look for containers that make it easy to organize and maximize the use of your kitchen and pantry storage space. Why? It makes it easier to find what you're looking for. Here are some tips for selecting containers:

  • Stackable - think 'up' in your cabinets. Make use of the vertical space by using stackable containers.
  • Use clear containers or label them so you know what's in the container without opening it.
  • Have a range of sizes - super small containers are perfect for storing small amounts of food and can double as a to-go container, while bigger ones can be used for larger quantities of food or organizing foods like seasonings.

Become familiar with the 'shelf life' of foods you eat and have a reputable resource you can refer to for this information, such as WHfoods.org. Periodically check the 'best by' and 'use by' dates on food stored in your home. 

Have a plan for where and how to store foods to maintain their optimal freshness. Most 'shelf stable' foods like pasta, sugar, cereal and beans store best in a cool and dry location. Other foods, such as some produce, should only be stored in the refrigerator. While this can sound daunting, try these simple tips - develop a list of the foods you frequently purchase, focus on those first then gradually add more foods as your comfort level increases.

Find ways to use leftovers or extend the storage life and freshness of foods. Need some ideas?

  • Flour, berries and some other fresh produce can be frozen.
  • Leftover fresh herbs can be dried for later use.
  • Some foods can be morphed into useful household products; lemon halves can be used to create effective green cleaners and eggshells to create a natural soil booster for house and garden plants.

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