Do you struggle to keep your favorite healthy foods fresh? Many of the best foods for your diet do not contain preservatives so they spoil quickly. But if you use smart shopping and storage tips, you can minimize the waste, keep your meals nutritious, and keep your wallet happy.
Healthy Food Storage Tips
It's helpful to have a few handy storage supplies available to keep your food in good shape. I like to keep a digital scale, heavy duty storage bags, and small resealable containers on hand. That way you can store foods in the serving size you are most likely to use. Then freeze the rest (in single serving containers) so you can thaw only the amount you plan to use.
Berries. Do not rinse berries when you bring them home from the grocery store. Keep the fruit dry as long as possible. Getting berries (especially raspberries) wet can introduce mold. Try to use your berries within 3-5 days of purchase, or put them in the freezer to use in smoothies, on top of yogurt, or in whole grain muffins or pancakes.
Eggs. Store eggs in the refrigerator (set at 40 degrees or less). You can usually store eggs for about three weeks from the date of purchase. I also like to hard boil a few eggs so they are ready to grab when I need a quick snack. Eggs can be frozen for up to one year if they are removed from the shell, beaten and sealed in air-tight containers.
Chicken breast. Buy chicken breast in bulk to save money. You can also buy breasts with the skin on and remove it yourself to save a few extra pennies. Be aware, however, that some bulk chicken breasts are frozen in a sodium solution and may contain extra salt. Chicken must be refrigerated and used within a few days of purchase. If you have more chicken than you'll use in that amount of time, cut the chicken into 3-4 ounce servings (use your digital scale) and wrap each individually in parchment paper. Then put the packets into a larger storage container and freeze. Got leftover cooked chicken? Shred it and pack into single serving baggies. Then freeze the poultry to use in soups, salads, or other recipes.
Avocado. Store ripe, uncut avocados in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To ripen an avocado place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for 2-3 days. Some people use the oven method to ripen an avocado in minutes, but I find that it changes the texture of the fruit. To keep your avocado fresher, store the pit with the unused portion and sprinkle a little bit of lemon or lime juice.
Spinach/Kale/Greens. Everyone has their own method for storing greens. I like to wash mine immediately when I get home from the grocery store, then I store them in a clean crisper drawer in the refrigerator that has been lined with a paper towel. I also prefer to buy greens in the plastic shell boxes (I find that they stay fresh longer). It has been my experience that greens in the bag spoil faster. And did you know that you can freeze spinach? Either cooked or raw, spinach does well in the freezer.
Yogurt. When you store yogurt at home, keep it refrigerated and tightly sealed. Yogurt can be frozen, but it may separate and have a different texture when it is thawed. For that reason, I only buy yogurt in single serving containers because resealing the foil-top containers doesn't work very well. It's also smart to check the expiration date on container before you buy. Often the oldest product is at the front of the dairy shelf.
Bananas. If you like a sweeter softer banana then keep them on your kitchen counter and allow them to ripen. You can speed the ripening process by putting them in a paper bag with an apple overnight. To slow down the ripening process, keep your bananas in the refrigerator. Bananas can also be frozen. If you plan to use them in smoothies, you can peel bananas, cut them in half, flash freeze them and then keep them in a resealable container.If you freeze them with the peels on, thaw them at room temperature. You can put them in the microwave for 5 seconds, but it will change the texture of the banana.
Got a food storage tip? Leave me a comment or post your tip on the weight loss forum. I'd love to hear from you!