I know eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for maintaining a healthy diet, so I usually bring a salad for lunch. Sometimes though, I’d wait till the last minute to prepare my vegetables and find myself standing in front of the refrigerator saying “ugh, I don’t want to deal with these right now!” But I don’t want to waste food either. Some vegetables and fruits go bad after only a couple of days and throwing away anything I didn’t use is a waste of money.
I have two suggestions for saving money on produce. The first is look for smaller packages of fresh fruits and vegetables so there’s a better chance you’ll be able to use it all before it goes bad. My second suggestion is chop your fruits and vegetables ahead of time.
I have a bowl that comes with a gel pack to keep food cold while traveling, but I wasn’t really using it to transport food. Instead I thought of another use for my bowl: storing my chopped vegetables. It’s divided into compartments like this Tupperware® one, so I can chop up a week’s worth of vegetables like cucumbers, onions, carrots and red and green peppers and store each in its own section. When I was ready to make my salad, all I had to do was take a little bit from each place and I was done! So now, I chop up all the fruits and vegetables I need for the week on Saturday or Sunday and store them in a plastic container.
Chopping my vegetables before hand saves time in the morning, and saves money since I’m more likely to use them before they go bad. I also find it can be therapeutic. It takes my mind off of other things—I’m so focused on what I’m doing (and making sure I don’t cut myself!) that I don’t have time to worry about anything else. My husband also helps me cut up vegetables, too which is great.
It’s not just fresh vegetables I prepare and store ahead of time. I also portion out tuna and baked chicken or steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. In many cases, cooked food I don’t use right away can be frozen and thawed out later.
It’s nice to know procrastinating led to something so useful.