Top 10 Plant-Based Kitchen Tips for 2020
Many of us will begin the New Year with a few new resolutions. However, good intentions often get lost if we don’t know how to implement them. Eating healthier definitely requires a level of commitment and knowledge in the kitchen. If you have the right understanding and strategies, you will know exactly what goes into your food, and if you’re the head cook in your house, you can impact the health of others. Below are some tips and strategies, and if you need some extra help, check out my cookbooks (PlantPure Nation and PlantPure Kitchen)
1. Clean your refrigerator weekly
Make sure to do this before you do your weekly grocery shopping. This is also the perfect time to discard outdated food, organize your space, and make room for new groceries. It also allows you to see what produce you already have that needs to be used within the next several days.
2. Make a meal plan
Take 10-15 minutes to plan your meals each week. Factor in busy days when you know you’ll need an easy dish. Plan to use the food already in your refrigerator so nothing is wasted. If you have children, be sure to include them in this step. This helps them feel more involved and encourages them to try new foods.
3. Choose a few recipes that you can cook in larger quantities
Casseroles, soups, and veggie burgers can be doubled easily. This will leave leftovers for lunches. Most recipes also freeze well and can be used later, when you don’t have time to cook.
4. Head to the grocery store with a list
After you’ve created your menu for the week, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need. Don’t forget the small items like soy sauce or lemon juice. Try not to shop when you’re hungry or you may end up with items you didn’t intend to buy!
5. Wash and pre-cut produce
Although this isn’t necessary, washing and pre-cutting produce can make a big difference during a busy week. Some fresh produce doesn’t hold up well when it’s washed and cut ahead of time, but most do: sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, green beans, leeks, and zucchini.
6. Have plenty of storage containers
This lets you store and freeze as needed. Don’t forget to date and label your frozen items.
7. Prep before cooking
Before starting a recipe, get out every ingredient and cooking tool you will need. This way, you don’t need to take multiple trips to the refrigerator and pantry while cooking. Have a large bowl available to discard produce waste during preparation: this saves multiple trips to the trash can.
8. Make a meal kit
On days when you have little time to prepare a meal, it’s wonderful to know that you have ingredients and spices waiting for you, ready to be cooked and enjoyed. You can do this by putting all the ingredients for a recipe in a gallon-size zip-top bag or large storage container, with the spices in smaller bags or containers inside the larger on. Label the outside of each bag or container according to the recipe. Then, when you walk through the door on busy days, the most consuming part of meal prep will already be done.
9. Keep a running list
Keep a whiteboard handy or an app on your smartphone to note ingredients you’ve run out of. Snap a picture with your phone for an easy list that never gets lost at the store.
10. Enjoy the experience
Listen to music or podcasts, watch a cooking show, or chat with family while preparing meals. Snack on veggies and dip while you prep. Relax and have fun!