Nutritionist, food writer, and broadcaster Fiona Hunter shares her top tips for giving your fridge a much-needed detox this January — and keeping it up!
1. Clear out the naughtiness.
It can be incredibly hard to stay on the straight and narrow when there are so many yummy Christmas treats still lurking in your fridge or freezer. As much as it may pain you, as the saying goes, "out of sight out of mind!" Begin tackling the temptation by ensuring you clear out anything that will set you off track. Try to use these Christmas leftovers to create some yummy recipes and save on food shopping until the leftovers have been used. Get creative!
2. A full fridge is a happy fridge.
Once you have cleared out all of the naughty things and anything that is past its use-by date, ensure that you restock your fridge with healthy ingredients and staple items that can be used as the basis for a satisfying meal. Items such as eggs and milk are an obvious must, but jars of lazy garlic and chilli can also be great items to have on hand in order to transform any meal into something tasty in a flash. Try using an ice-cube tray to freeze freshly chopped herbs in water, olive oil, or stock as the perfect seasoning without any of the wastage!
3. A shopper's worst enemy is an empty stomach.
A word of warning: If you are planning a weekly food shop, be sure to do it on a full stomach. Shopping while hungry can cause even the most disciplined dieter to give in to the sweet temptations of the confectionary aisle. Ensure that any hunger pangs are kept at bay by treating yourself to a pre-supermarket snack and watch in amazement as you and your trolley cruise right past the crisps and biscuits and straight to the glorious greens. Your waistline and purse will thank you.
4. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
When you have restocked your detoxed fridge, try to prep your lunches and evening meals for the week on a quiet Sunday evening. It is much easier than trying to prepare something from scratch after a long day at work and can help to ensure your leftovers are put to good use. This will make it a lot easier to budget for the week and ensure you are only spending on the essential products you need. It is also a great way to avoid the temptation to grab something convenient yet unhealthy when you may be hungry or tired, and can even save you some cash in the process!
5. Creat a match made in heaven.
Who knew strawberries and balsamic vinegar tasted so good together? There are lots of food combinations that you would never dream of pairing that complement each other really well. Some examples include apricot and mushroom, courgette and lime, mango and chilli, egg and coconut, and strawberries and cheese, to name just a few! Take a look at your fridge and see if there is anything you can pair to create a new tasty snack. Who said a fridge detox needed to be boring?
6. The bigger, the better!
If you're making things like a bolognese sauce or casserole, why not double the recipe and freeze half for another day? It is always handy to have a healthy, hearty meal on hand for those days when you can’t be bothered to spend long in the kitchen. Freezer bags can be a great way to divide up portions, and they are a great way to make a meal go further, saving both time and money.
7. Make yourself a soup-er meal.
Soup can be the perfect way to use lots of different leftovers and is a great warmer for chilly winter days — not to mention it is a cheap dish. To create a thicker, heartier soup try using a roux — add a scoop or two of mashed potatoes, strain a few cups of your soup, and blend it together before adding it back to your soup pot. Leave yourself enough to last the course of the week and freeze any remaining portions in single servings. You can then pop them out of the freezer whenever you need, defrosting in the fridge overnight and quickly heating in a microwave at work or at home.
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