First in, first out

Thanksgiving is this week, and you’ll probably have some leftovers. “First in, first out” is one of the best ways to prevent food spoilage. It just means to rotate your foods so the older items are right in front. That way you’ll use them first, and you won’t discover them weeks or months later, covered with mold. Put fresher things in the back as soon as you stock up on groceries. And if you cook ahead to use leftovers, keep track of what you have and use the oldest foods first. Watch dates on refrigerated foods like milk and yogurt, and write the name and date on everything you freeze. Avoid having to throw spoiled foods away —“First in, first out” can save you money and frustration.

Checking ingredients

Close-up of a bowl of chicken vegetable soupUse the list of ingredients on food labels to help you get the most value for your money.  By law, ingredients have to be listed in decreasing order of quantity, with the largest ingredient listed first and the smallest ingredient listed lastSo chicken soup with chicken listed near the top of the ingredient list will have more chicken than a soup where it is listed third or fourth.  The ingredient list will also tell you what types of sugars, fats, fillers, and additives are in a product, so you can decide what’s best for you.  Read labels to get more for your money!

Saving for the holidays

Take a minute to think about food during this holiday season. Many of us grew up with big holiday meals and parties, or learned that “treats” were ways to show love or to reward good behavior. Remember what the holidays really mean to you, and let go of pressure to over-do feasts and treats. Plan thoughtfully. You may even want to set a holiday budget for food. Go ahead and plan for the traditional foods that have always meant a lot to you, but don’t overdo. And when you shop, resist the “extras” like decorations, holiday baked goods, or flowers that aren’t part of your plan. Plan ahead to save stress and money!

Enjoying parsnips in season

Close up of parsnips on a table.Although you can find parsnips in the store year-round, now is the best time to buy them locally their freshest. Parsnips are like carrots but they’re white, sweeter, and have a mild, earthy flavor. They also have a little more starch, like potatoes. Parsnips are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Buy firm, crisp parsnips and store them in the refrigerator for up to several weeks. You can prepare parsnips just about any way you prepare carrots – try them roasted or in soups and stews. Parsnips make a great addition to mashed potatoes as well. Discover the great taste and nutrition of parsnips this season!