Anyone else have spring cleaning on their mind when March rolls in? Just like it’s important to periodically deep clean and purge unnecessary clutter around the house, it’s helpful to reevaluate your meal planning, shopping and food prepping routine too. Here are a few simple steps for spring cleaning your cooking routine as we head into this new season.
Step 1: Take inventory of your pantry
It might sound scary, but now’s the time to venture into the depths of the pantry to see exactly what you have, then strategize how to use it (or if needed, toss it!). Save money as you work through shelf-stable items before purchasing duplicates and remember to re-stock those healthy staples that make fast weeknight meals, like sheet pan dinners a breeze. Some favorites are canned tomatoes and beans, vegetable broth and nutrient-rich whole grains like quinoa.
Step 2: Embrace seasonal produce
One simple way to get out of a cooking rut is to switch up your go-to fruits and vegetables based on the season. Bonus: this also means fresher and less expensive finds! Try grilled asparagus for a simple spring side dish that will get rave reviews. Enjoy salads with seasonal fruits and vegetables like this tropical salad featuring cucumbers and pineapple or this salad with cucumber and radish which come back in season in March.
Step 3: Find a meal planning method that actually works.
Remember that meal planning is key to staying on track with healthy living goals so if your current setup isn’t working, it might be time to switch gears. Make it a goal to find an approach that feels doable—and more importantly, sustainable—in the long term. If this is something you struggle with, you might consider outsourcing. Try out our meal planning program to save time so you can focus on improving your culinary skills and enjoying home-cooked meals over endless recipe searching.
Dedicating time to freshen up your cooking routine can produce results that last. A simple, well-planned menu and well-stocked pantry will reduce your stress in the kitchen and limit the need for takeout. Set yourself up for success – which step will you tackle first?
An award-winning registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of the Diabetes Guide to Enjoying Foods of the World; The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes.