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Happy New Year Dupers!
My adventures through ingredients and recipes will continue in this 2016, and I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to make my own list of good intentions.
If you’ve had your head fill of “10 rules to be happier” (like turn off the phone … and then turn on again after 2 nanoseconds) or “20 places to see in 2016” (and your bank account post sales is in red) or “7 tips to detox yourself after the holidays” (stomach has now picked up the pace and it is impossible to turn it back), how about being honest and start from some simple and proven ideas to lift, if not your whole life, at least the fate of your fridge?
Plan the shopping
Ok, you were late again in the office, you know that your refrigerator at home contains only gherkins expired in 2013, and have just enough time to go to the mall to grab a ready-to-use salad. What then will become a salad and something from the deli counter. And a chocolate bar. And maybe some ice cream too. Why don’t you make an appointment with the supermarket, just like you do with the beautician? For example, on Monday at 18.00 (on Monday, ’cause both beauticians and hairdressers are closed and you will not go in conflict of interest). Avoid overcrowded weekends and take advantage of the late hour to choose quietly the items you want to buy.
Make the list
Forget paper and pen. You only need a smartphone: use an application that manages the lists to take note of what you are missing at home, in real time, and check the list when the products end up in the cart. Are you drinking the coffee and you realize that sugar is going to end? Record it, immediately before reading the message that has just arrived on whatsapp. That’s why the Reminders app on your iPhone exist!
The art of the discount
We spend our time between codes, promotions, and black friday shopping online, but we snub the world’s oldest discount. Take your time browsing the handwheels or browse among the products in offer. Discounts will also allow you to vary your diet and not eat the same old things. If you are single, do not buy 10 cans of tomato sauce, because it is only 50%. Before you’ll end them they will return more affordable at least 5 more times! Same as for cookies. Do you love vegetable? Are you quite sure of being able to eat three heads of radicchio this week? There’s only one rule: be rational and ponderated. Many supermarket chains also offer the chance to choose the discount to be applied to certain products, directly from our smartphones. Suddenly, the “20 Places to See in 2016” will be a bit closer.
I say no to the tomatoes in January. And no to cabbage in August. For two reasons: they have no taste (so say hello-hello to vitamins and minerals) and cost more. Choose seasonal vegetables and, if not precisely zero kilometer, at least produced in your own country (although the mango which comes from Brazil by air is one of the best things in the world). And if you have enough reasons to feel ethical about it, think about the fact that very often you will find these products on offer, thanks to the skillful work of Mother Nature! In this regard, browse the Internet or go to find a book where all the seasonal fruits and veg are listed.
Write down foods and expiry dates
I was there the last time you fill the cart with vegetables and yogurt to “detox” and I was there even after 15 days, in front of your fridge, when the lactic acid bacteria had organized a party with an unrecognizable lettuce and carrots close to decomposition. Not to mention the rice cakes that are asking for political asylum in the neighbor’s house. And the eggs, how are there? Buy yourself a block of post it, note what is in your refrigerator, your freezer or your pantry with any expiry dates, and paste them down on display, so that when you see them in the morning, you will have all day to think about what to eat for dinner. If you are masochistic, you could also write down all the foods that you throw away, so as not to repeat the same mistake.
Vacuum and freezer
Ok, you have gone too far. Another time. It’s Thursday and a weekend so full of commitments that you are contemplating to change yourself in the car from one appointment to another is waiting for you. And the leek is watching. The bass also. Not to mention the half a salami remained from the last happy hour. Don’t you know that you can freeze or put vacuum lots of products? A vacuum machine costs less than a pair of shoes and let you divide food into portions (as cheeses, vegetables, fish, meats …) and freeze or store in the fridge for much longer. This will allow you to take advantage of one more offering, and to shop a little less frequently. Only caution: do not never freeze previously defrosted foods and make sure the power of your freezer, to ensure a perfect food preservation.
Plan your week food according to your commitments, and adjust shopping accordingly. This will allow you to eat in a more healthy and balanced way, ranging foods and indulging in some transgression even more. An example for your dinner? Start your week with a soup or a dish made only of fresh vegetables, will be easier to eat healthier after the weekend! Tuesday fish or meat, vegetables or eggs Wednesday, Thursday indulge a whim (burgers, carbonara, risotto, or a cake …) according to how well you deal with the weekend. Or, restart the tour.
Like the last time you bought that faux fur hat!
At this point, you should have in the fridge at least one ingredient from the season and some products in offer. Search on the internet how to combine them together in some tasty recipe and promise to replicate the experiment with new combinations at least once a week. If you really want to overdo, because you don’t promise yourself to taste a new food at least once a month? It’s still the season of the celeriac, for example!
If you put yourself in the way to prepare the pastry or lasagna, or a vegetable soup, doubled the doses, and freeze the amount you don’t eat at the moment (many recipe websites indicate the storage and freezing). You will have a good supply of healthy food, for when you have less time. The same goes for vegetables: do not keep half an onion to get depressed in the fridge. Pour a few tears more, but slice and pick it in a bag in the freezer. Ikea has beautiful containers from tiny to big, perfect for the purpose, which go from the freezer to the microwave, and colorful shopping bags with zipper.
Jolly advice: Read the labels!
I close this series of good intentions with a board by schoolteacher: learn to read labels. First, to keep an eye on the calories and the percentage of carbohydrates, protein and fat that you can hide behind the most innocent of the products (and there had already spoken here). Second, to read the ingredients and their origin. Always assume that if your grandmother does not understand half of what a product contains, it is likely that this product is not as healthy as it may seem. So, when in doubt, choose the product with the ingredients list more understandable. And, for good peace of palm oil enemies, I have to say I admit to conceive its use only in Malaysia and neighboring areas. In Italy, i.e., we have excellent butter and vegetable oils (olive, sunflower, …) for which, for the same calories, I would avoid the deforestation of distant and wonderful lands . Rather I would learn to make good pastry crust, or an apple pie. I would organize an afternoon with friends or with your boyfriend to put you with hands-on. With a little pectin (derived from quince) you can make excellent jams in a few minutes. Two pots of rosemary or basil in the kitchen are always nice to look at (and can be dried or freeze leaves and twigs, if your green thumb is not so!). We have also excellent cultivation, organic or controlled farms (and not always the price is higher!) And virtually every municipality is now served by fair trade groups. Keep calm. I continue however to buy cheese slices for toast and I also like fast food: I give myself these whims (and other), then you will have my full understanding if you do the same. The important thing is that you start to become more conscious eaters… at least until the good intentions last!