Meet Vicky Fink, our guest blog author, and RCR’s Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator. She works closely with many of our study participants, especially those in our weight loss studies to help them develop lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits.

Maybe you find yourself cooking and eating at home more during the covid pandemic? Are you looking for ways to use some extra time you have at home?

Take this time at home to do some tasks that you ordinarily don’t have time for that can help organize your kitchen and make better use of the foods already stocked in it.

Now organizing the kitchen may not be the most glamorous job …. But if you start with one little task, that may help get you motivated.  Find just THIRTY minutes per day to do ONE task at a time.

Start by reviewing the spices you have in the house. Throw away any old spices, especially those you haven’t used in a long time or bought but never use. Put all doubles of spices together. Often people have more than one of something because they bought a new one when they could not find the old one.

Organize your herbs and spices by how you cook. Those used for cooking Italian specialties, Mexican dishes, etc. are all placed together or you can organize by holidays, those used for thanksgiving, those use for baking, etc. Or maybe you have a better way to organize that helps you know what you have and encourages you to use them. Organizing the spices may also spark your interest in cooking some recipes you haven’t tried in a while.

After you have organized your spices, you may feel energized and ready to tackle your food cupboard.

Try one cupboard at a time, don’t take out everything from every cupboard in the kitchen. Remember to break the tasks down to thirty-minute tasks.

Again, throw out any cans that look old, are damaged, or are expired. Most canned foods last 2-4 years. If you open a can and it smells or looks funny, do not use it. When in doubt throw it out!

Organize all the like or similar foods in the same place. Take notice of all the canned/dry goods you have and think of ways to use up food that is getting old.

 If you are wondering how to use the foods you have, google healthy recipes using ________ to give you some ideas.

This is also an opportunity to think about the foods you don’t have.  Maybe you realize that you are low on some basic ingredients for recipes like spices, sugar, flour, etc. 

When you’re done with the cupboards, try tackling the refrigerator or freezer. Again, you can do it one shelf at a time instead of trying to clean the entire refrigerator at once.  Reviewing and organizing foods can help you find things faster and can help you use up foods that are getting old.

Rotate all your freezer foods, so that the oldest are used first. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised to find frozen or home-cooked frozen casseroles, or soups you forgot about.

Now, after your kitchen is clean and efficient, you will be ready to make some new meals or some old favorites! Happy Cooking…