Have you had days, where you tend to buy vegetables only to throw them out after a couple of weeks? Or buying too much and then not knowing how to use all of it?
Welcome to yet another weekly blog post. This time the focus is on Healthy Culinary tips.
“Getting the most out of your vegetable basket is important to make sure all those healthy nutrients are being used to nourish your body.”
The concept of buying produce in bulk was something I was not familiar with before coming to the US. Till date my mom would prefer going twice a week to the local vegetable vendor and picking up what she needs and how much she needs. The logic is pretty simple- its fresh, has a shelf life and tends to go bad if we don't use on time. In the past there have been quite a few incidents, where I will end up throwing a carrot or a cucumber away , simply because they outlived their life, until the nutritionist in me started feeling frustrated not being able to walk the talk! Not only #foodwaste but also the #nutrient waste that comes with it, made me realize that I had to be much more cognizant about all the #veggies that I get and making sure it got used up in creative and flavorful ways. I needed to come up with a system to make the most of the fresh produce I got. Sharing here are some of the strategies, that have helped me. I invite you to read and hope these tried and tested ideas , spark your curiosity and help you maximize the goodness of veggies in your #diet! Here are 5 tips to get the most out of your veggies:
1. Plan ahead...
Fresh veggies often tend to start wilting and loose their freshness after about a week. Planning ahead, helps in getting only how much is needed and reduces your food waste. Making a list is helpful, with exactly how many meals you would eat at home and how many meals would include a veggie. For e.g. - two salads for 2 lunches this week, carrot sticks for snacks. Have a running list of staples that you use almost every day, those are mostly needed more in quantity. For eg- Onions, potatoes, tomatoes, ginner, garlic to name a few.
2. Check before you go
Check in your refrigerator before buying more, often times we end up buying more of the same thing, or simply forget to take a peek in our refrigerator before heading out for groceries! Result - more of the same and we are stuck figuring out what to do with them!
3. Prep and store
Once you get your produce, wash, trim, dice and prep them so it cuts down on cooking time. Plus you are less likely to feel lazy when its time to cook and more likely to use up the prepped veggies.
4. Get Creative
Using your vegetables in different creative recipe, makes them much more exciting. For e.g.
Salad greens go well as sautés, in omelets, in wraps and sandwiches.
Grilled veggies are versatile and can be used in wraps, on salads and in sandwiches and tossed with pilafs and grains.
Want to use up lots of veggies all at once- sauté, puree and add seasoning to make soup, pasta sauces, gravies or pizza sauce. They freeze well too!
Herbs like cilantro, mint, parsley- can be pureed with lime juice and salt and frozen in small containers. They do great as spreads and dips.
5. Save your family favorites and keep one meal to try new recipes
Tried a new vegetable recipe and the family loved it? Save it! That way not only do you grow your menu ideas, you have less waste too. You buy only what you need! Want to try a new variety of a veggie- plan and keep a day for trying something new, that way you are not over purchasing and those greens are put to some good use. If space and time permits, starting a compost bin is a great way to recycle those scraps and wilted veggies. How amazing is that! Every single part of a vegetable nurtures not only our body but also our environment. Conservation at its best!