Meal Planning Tip: Store Properly and Eat Mindfully

Many people are on a mission to eat healthier and eating healthier usually entails eating more fruits and veggies. Eating more fresh produce is a great goal but what happens when you can’t eat it fast enough and the money you spent on it goes in the dumpster along with the mold growing on it?

I am guilty of having to throw away what was perfectly good produce because of improper storing techniques. Since I do not like throwing away money I have had to admit that “you know maybe I am doing something wrong here.” This way of thinking opened my mind to learning more about a topic I took for granted as common knowledge and is allowing me to get the most bang for my buck.

If you find that at the end of every week you are throwing away some bananas, some moldy berries, overly ripe avocados, soggy lettuce or bell peppers then check out this meal planning tip and let’s save our wallets and home from waste and fill our bellies with our healthy and beautiful produce.

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When you properly store your produce you will be more inclined to reach for it when in snack mode. Who wants to eat bad produce? Looking at old produce is one fire sure way to make me lose my appetite for healthful food and leave me reaching for the brownie. Store properly and eat mindfully.

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The Power of Ethylene

If your produce goes bad after only a couple of days, chances are you are storing high releasing ethylene produce with ethylene sensitive produce. Ethylene gas is a ripening agent that will inevitably speed the decaying process of other produce. This is not always a bad thing! You can actually use ethylene to your advantage: to ripen a peach or avocado, place it in  bag with a ripened banana.

These fruits are high in ethylene and should be stored in the fridge:

Apples:
•Apricots
•Canteloupe
•Figs
•Honeydew

The fruits are high in ethylene and should NOT be stored in the fridge:

Avocados: if you need it to ripen quickly, place in a bag with a ripe banana and allow magic to happen.
•Bananas: generally keep away from other produce unless you want it to ripen quickly.
•Nectarines
•Peaches
•Pears
•Plums
•Tomatoes: store in a cool dry place in order for them to continue to ripen. Once finished, place in the fridge but bring back to room temperature before you intend to use.

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These are sensitive to ethylene:

Bananas: have a high ethylene content and should be stored separately. If they ripen before you can eat them all, freeze them and use for vegan ice cream or smoothies.
•Broccoli
•Brussels sprouts
•Cabbage
•Carrots
•Cauliflower
•Cucumbers
•Eggplant
•Lettuce and other leafy greens
•Parsley
•Peas
•Peppers
•Squash
•Sweet potatoes
•Watermelon

Thanks to the Vegetarian Times for these nifty lists!

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The Importance of Timing

No matter how well you store your produce, some fruits and veggies just have a shorter fresh lifespan than others. In order to eat the freshest you can, eat the produce with a shorter fresh lifespan first.

I found this list really helpful as well (if your shopping day is Saturday or Sunday).

Fastest to Slowest Spoilers: What to Eat First

You can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with just a single weekly trip to the supermarket, with proper storage and a little planning. The key is eating the more perishable produce early on. Use this guide, right——created with the help of Marita Cantwell, PhD, postharvest specialist at the University of California, Davis——based on a Sunday shopping trip. The timing suggestions are for ready-to-eat produce, so allow extra days for ripening if you’re buying, say, green bananas or not-quite-ripe pears. And remember, looks count. Appearance— —is the best clue to whether fruits and veggies are fresh to begin with.

Eat the first three days after grocery shopping:

• Artichokes
• Asparagus
• Avocados
• Bananas
• Basil
• Broccoli
• Cherries
• Corn
• Dill
• Green beans
• Mushrooms
• Mustard greens
• Strawberries
• Watercress

Eat within six days of grocery shopping:

• Arugula
• Cucumbers
• Eggplant
• Grapes
• Lettuce
• Lime
• Mesclun
• Pineapple
• Zucchini

Can eat a week after grocery shopping:

• Apricots
• Bell peppers
• Blueberries
• Brussels sprouts
• Cauliflower
• Grapefruit
• Leeks
• Lemons
• Mint
• Oranges
• Oregano
• Parsley
• Peaches
• Pears
• Plums
• Spinach
• Tomatoes
• Watermelon

Longer shelf life items:

• Apples
• Beets
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Celery
• Garlic
• Onions: do not store next to potatoes, they will spoil faster
• Potatoes: do not store next to onions, they will spoil faster
• Winter squash

I hope this guide helps you as much as it has me. Do you have any other tips for storing produce? Share in the comment section below!

Love, Life, Health, Happiness and a Full belly,

Sonni K.

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