Ana Amengual, dietitian and nutritionist at the Julia Farré center is the author of the blog “Biografía de un plato“, and the book “Organize your kitchen.”. Ordering our diet begins by planning our purchase and organizing where and how we store our food.
These days that we are at home is an excellent time to pay attention to something that, perhaps, until now it had gone unnoticed. It is not worth just taking care of what we eat but also, the entire ritual before, during and after.
Hereunder, Ana outlines the basic guidelines to follow out during these days:
FOOD DURING CONFINEMENT: SHOPPING AND ORGANIZATION.
How are you doing?
There is no doubt we are living a strange situation, where we can live
moments of uncertainty and moments of high and low.
However, this is a challenge from which we can pull a lot from ourselves.
Push to the limit to know each other better and taking this opportunity to do introspection and finish the little things that have been due for a long time.
Now is the time…
— To take care of ourselves and work.
— Plan meals and shopping (just buy the essentials to not go out as often).
— Cook (make recipes and practice Batchcooking).
— Organize, clean and disinfect (the fridge, pantry, freezer, storage cabinets, drawers …).
My goal in this blog is to give you the necessary tools to plan the shopping as well as organizing your shopping once you are home.
1. ORDER AND CLASSIFY WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE.
Before planning a menu or shopping list, take an inventory of everything
you have at home, both in the pantry and in the fridge and freezer.
Remove everything that at the back of the shelves and drawers, throw away the food that has expired (which is different than the preferred consumption date) and thoroughly clean the empty spaces.
How to clean the pantry and fridge?
— Remove the muck that is easily visible and peelable from the shelves with a clean kitchen paper.
— Using a scouring pad, soap and water, scrub all surfaces thoroughly to remove the most stubborn dirt.
— With a damp cloth, remove and rinse all the remaining soap and dirt.
— Disinfect. For the refrigerator, there are specific products marked as suitable to use in refrigerators. Disinfectants help us reduce the load of viruses and bacteria. We simply have to apply them and let them act for the recommended time as per the package directions. Then, we must remove it.
Dry the surfaces with a clean cloth or kitchen paper.
Once the inventory list is made, classify all your products by food groups, such as flours, cereals, vegetables, cans of fish and seafood, breakfasts, etc … This will help you group them in a way that will make your life easier when trying to find a product.
Adjust the space (drawers, shelves, boxes, cans …) for each food group
based on the volume of the products you have for each one of them.
2. PLAN A WEEKLY MENU
During this time, we have to learn to plan with the products we have and do not buy more than what we really need.
What can help you know what you really need to plan a weekly menu? You can plan a weekly menu only by food groups or by specifying the cooking style.
If you live with partners, children or friends, I’d recommend you either plan the menu all together or share it to ensure everyone is happy with it.
Here is an example of a two-day menu by food group vs by courses:
3. MAKE A SHOPPING LIST.
Once you have your weekly menu, make the shopping list with everything you need.
Cross out all the products you have programmed to use, so you are aware of what products you still have in your pantry.
If you used to go to several stores to buy specific products in each one, now is not the time to do that. You will go to the supermarket or store closest to your home to buy what you need; this is not the time to go into a gourmet mode.
We have to accept that the situation is what it is, and we must learn to take advantage of what we have at hand. The idea of rearranging the products in the pantry, fridge, etc., is also an excellent guideline to help us organize our shopping list, so we don’t go around the supermarket back and forth.
Take advantage of everything you have to buy in each hall to make the most of the time and avoid excessive displacement.
Start by shopping products that do not need to be kept in the fridge, such as cereals, pasta, or preserves. Then proceed with fridge products such as yogurts or cold meats and end with the frozen ones.
This way you will avoid spoiling your food.
Before leaving home to shop:
— Wash your hands thoroughly.
— If you have long hair or it may bother your face, look with your hair up to avoid it bothering you, so you do not touch your face.
— You should carry reusable bags that you can later disinfect at home (large and small containers to buy fruits, vegetables, cereals in bulk, etc.)
— Don’t forget your shopping list!
— Before entering the store, put on gloves (if you have one) or at the entrance of the store you should be offered gloves to put on.
— Avoid touching your face during shopping, until you get home to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
4. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET HOME?
Let’s see step by step what we can do to decontaminate the shopping.
Keep in mind that we will store the products in the opposite way we bought them. It begins by storing the frozen ones, then the refrigerated and finally those that will be stored in the pantry or other areas.
— Put the shopping and your shoes on the entrance floor, wash your hands (remember, soaping them for 20 seconds) and if you have gloves at home put them on.
— Fill the kitchen sink with hot water and add soap. If you want you can add a little bleach (1-2 tablespoons), to kill the coronavirus, you don’t need bleach. Rubbing well with soap is enough.
— Put all the products that are sealed inside the sink with the soap: glass preserves, containers, bricks, bags, etc. Rub them well with your hands underwater and then dry them with a clean cloth.
— All thick-skinned fruits and vegetables (zucchini, tangerine, cucumber, etc.) can be washed with soap and water.
— To disinfect leafy vegetables or fruits or other more sensitive vegetables, you can soak them with food bleach or standard bleach, for about 10-15 minutes. Then remove the bleach with a good jet of water and keep them tightly closed in the fridge (in bags, bottle caps …) so that they do not become contaminated.
— Discard all the containers that can be substituted for reusable canisters or glass containers, so you discard the original box that has been exposed on the supermarket shelves.
— When you are done cleaning and disinfecting the floors and surfaces where the shopping has been, do the washing of the bags you have used (it is recommended to wash them at 60 degrees). Finish by washing your hands thoroughly once again.
We hope this article has helped you. Any questions or information you need you can contact her directly on her profile @biografiadeunplato.