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How to Cut Food Stress

POPSUGAR / paid for by / FoodSaver®

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

You spend time and money on what you love to eat at the grocery store. We partnered with FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System for this post so you can get the most out of your fresh foods.

One of my favorite places is my local grocery store. I know which aisles to wander for good deals and when the meat counter has the best fresh cuts. By the time I leave, my cart is usually filled with more items than I needed, but my foodie shopping glee overrules my inner smarts. A week in, my fridge is still packed with items, and produce is lounging limply on my kitchen counter. Just looking at it all makes me feel sad. Instead of getting overwhelmed, check out these tips for keeping yourself in food-stress check.

  1. Buy in bulk: Buying your favorite foods in bulk saves you money and means less trips to the grocery store. Once you get home, portion out proteins and store properly for optimum freshness. Using a product like FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System saves your food up to five times longer than regular zip-top plastic bags.
  2. Store your items right: After you get all those groceries home, double-check that you're storing items in the right spot. Use clear FoodSaver® bags in the fridge or freezer or open bowls on your kitchen counter so you always know what you have.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

  1. Use EVERYTHING: The next time you're chopping veggies for making stir-fry or just sautéing a side, toss the ends of vegetables, even onion skins, in a pot and simmer with salt and fresh herbs to make vegetable stock. This works with fresh chicken or meat trimmings too. Cool and store in the freezer. This way you have a never-ending supply of stocks to reach for.
  2. Make stale bread new again: I love bread. I buy it and then I instantly feel guilty and eat a few slices slathered in butter, and then the delicate French baguette dries into what could be used as a hammer. Instead of throwing away dry or old bread, toss in your blender and pulse into breadcrumbs. You can even add dried herbs or garlic salt for a touch of flavor.
  3. Keep note of what you throw away: If you find yourself tossing the same things, maybe it's time to stop buying that item. And if you're scraping leftovers into the garbage every night, be smart and cut back on what you're cooking or learn how to get creative with leftovers.
  4. Look into composting: I'm lucky to live in an area where we have green cans provided by the city for gathering compost, which cuts back on what goes in the landfill. Look into if your community has a compost option or start composting on your own for a greener garden.
  5. Use your slow cooker: Sunday is Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker night at my house, and it's often a combination of leftovers that get tossed into the vessel and turned into a savory soup, stew, or unique sauce for pasta. It's a fun and creative way to clean out your fridge with surprisingly delicious results. Mix together steamed vegetables, leftover chicken breasts, and frozen stock from your fridge!
  6. Jam it: Learn how to make pickles or homemade jams, which gives slightly limp fruits and veggies a second life. You can also make apple butter, which is one of my favorite things to simmer on a Fall afternoon.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

  1. Freeze the right way: The FoodSaver® System removes air and moisture, preventing icky freezer burn. Blanch, cool, and then freeze fresh vegetables; you can also freeze fresh fruits and greens too. It's a smart way to store your produce — and save money.
  2. Donate: You've been looking at that same can of chickpeas in the back of your pantry for what seems like longer than you've been watching Game of Thrones, which means it's time to check the expiration date. If it's still good, start a bag of items to donate to your local food pantry, and toss anything that's not safe. You'll open up space while getting rid of food clutter.
  3. Cook once, eat twice: Buying a whole chicken is more economical than a butchered bird, so roast it whole for dinner tonight, and then use the leftovers later in the week for delicious meals. The same goes for big cuts of meat, like flank steaks or pork loin.

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne