ID-10066385How To Curb Cravings At Holiday Parties

Don’t Go To a Party Hungry: One of the biggest mistakes I see during the holidays is people arriving to parties starving! It’s easy to think that the less you eat earlier in the day, the more room you’ll have to eat later at the party…and the less damage you’ll do overall. But this mindset has disaster written all over it! Instead, think this way: ruin your appetite. Have a healthy, filling snack before the party so that you won’t be tempted to dive into the spinach and artichoke dip as soon as you arrive. A hardboiled egg, a slice of turkey, or a Greek yogurt are all small but satisfying options that you can have at home prior to making your big entrance.

Bring Your Own Healthy Dish: It’s never polite to go to a party empty-handed, right? So why not bring a healthy dish you know you can rely on? Bring a salad with delicious, colorful toppings like cranberries, roasted carrots and squash. Think of it as your safety net so that you won’t have to worry if there’s nothing but diet-busters being served. We’re sure you’re not the only one who will appreciate a dish that’s (finally!) not candied, casseroled, or drowning in gravy.

Scope Out The Entire Party Spread: Once you get to the party, take your time. This is very important. It’s easy to jump at the first thing and every different thing you see. You know how it goes: there’s the cheese and crackers, then the pigs in a blanket, then the shrimp cocktail, and then all the main course dishes… And studies show people eat more when they’re offered a greater variety of foods. By taking a tour of all the food first, you won’t fall into this trap. Walk around and look at everything, deciding what’s healthiest and what you want the most. And only after you’ve seen it all should you decide what to put on your plate. That way, you can make an informed decision you’ll be proud of at the end of the night. There just may be some healthy options you want to indulge in!

Socialize (And Not Just With The Bartender!): You’re at a party. With PEOPLE. It’s not all about the food. Enjoy talking to and reconnecting with family, friends, and coworkers. If you make an effort to socialize, you’ll not only enjoy the night more, but you’ll be too preoccupied to think about that pecan pie every 2.2 seconds. A word of caution: be wary of “food pushers”, those who refuse to take “no” for an answer when offering unhealthy treats. My advice? Keep saying no, as many times as you have to. And don’t feel bad! It’s a GOOD thing that you put your health first. Just decline politely and hopefully Great-Aunt Sarah will stop trying to hand you sugar cookies.

About the Author

Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert and co-founder of MommyCoach, has put together a couple of tips for how to stay healthy, and how to help curb your appetite. If you’re unfamiliar, MommyCoach is a new online community for moms around the country to connect with leading experts and coaches for advice, encouragement, and answers to those hard-to-crack questions.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

ID-100101872Tips for Staying Healthy Through The Holiday Season

Plan Non-Food-Centered Activities: Take the focus off food. There are so many ways to spend time together besides cooking, baking, and eating. Instead of decorating cookies and gingerbread houses, make non-edible crafts like wreaths, paper snowflakes, or holiday cards.  Bundle up to take a walk around the neighborhood and rank the best decorated houses. And light a fire to gather around while you play charades or watch holiday movies.

Bring Snacks To The Mall: Welcome to the real jungle. There’s no denying how tempting it is  seeing peppermint mochas or smelling cinnamon rolls (from a mile away, no less). And with the  stress of the crowds and finding the right gifts for everyone, you can be in over your head fast.  You have to be smart enough to sidestep these hazards. The easiest way to make it out alive?  Pack filling healthy snacks like nuts, a piece of fruit, or a bag of air popped popcorn, and you  won’t need a search and rescue team to pull you out of the food court.

Make Your Own Hot Chocolate: Ditch the packaged powders and go for the real thing. Many  hot chocolate powders are convenient and boast very few calories, but they are chock full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals! Our recipe uses maca, a powder grown in the Andes Mountains of Peru and packed with nutrients, and cacao powder, a less-processed version of  cocoa powder that’s a great source of antioxidants. Spend a cozy afternoon in the kitchen with  your kids and cuddle up in with this super food hot chocolate recipe.

Boil water or warm milk on the stove and let cool slightly, then mix in the following ingredients:

● 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
● 2 teaspoons maca powder
● 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
● 1 teaspoon honey
● Pinch sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pure vanilla
● 1 ½ cups milk of your choice or water

Be Mindful of Your Hunger Quotient: Your HQ is a measure of how hungry you are at a  given time – famished, satisfied, stuffed. Try to be in tune with your HQ and let hunger dictate  when you eat (versus having a serving of stuffing just because your sister brought it over). On a  scale of 1-10 (1 being stuffed, 10 being famished), you want to be between a 4 (slightly hungry)  and a 6 (slightly satisfied) all the time.

About the Author

Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert and co-founder of MommyCoach, has put together a couple of tips for how to stay healthy, and how to help curb your appetite. If you’re unfamiliar, MommyCoach is a new online community for moms around the country to connect with leading experts and coaches for advice, encouragement, and answers to those hard-to-crack questions.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Find The Fun In Healthy Eating

Keeping kids healthy can be a tough job. Sometimes, the things that are good for kids aren’t always what they want.

But moms know that eating healthy and being active can help kids grow strong bodies and lower their future risk of obesity and health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. It can also help them do better in school.

Start by being a good role model. Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see you eating them, too. Be a good role model by staying active and doing activities the whole family can enjoy.

There are also many ways to make healthy eating fun. One way is by encouraging kids to help in the kitchen. When kids help pick and cook food, they are more likely to eat it. Younger kids can tear lettuce for salads or rinse fruits and vegetables while older kids can chop and slice.

The Network for a Healthy California provides these and other mom-tested tips to empower families to live better by eating more fruits and vegetables and being active every day. The tips come from Champions for Change, real moms who are role models for healthy change.

You don’t have to turn your life upside down to make healthy changes. Even small changes add up quickly to make a big difference, like adding fruit to cereal or offering crunchy carrots instead of chips as a snack.

Fresh-Fruit-Bonanza

Here are more mom-tested tips on how to make healthy change fun:

• Kids get excited when they can pick what they are going to eat. Have them pick the fruits and vegetables they want to pack in their lunch each day.

• Keep fruits and vegetables in easy-to-reach places at home to encourage healthy snacking. Leave a bowl of fresh fruit on the table and cut vegetables in the fridge. Get a mix of dried fruits and let kids make their own trail mix.

• Make shopping fun. Let kids pick three colors of fruits and vegetables to try, or choose three fruits to snack on during the week.

• Be creative when cooking. Try fun ideas like arranging different vegetables on pizza to make a face. Use slices of bell pepper for the mouth and eyebrows, olives for the eyes, and a cherry tomato or carrot for the nose.

• Play together. Turn off the TV and turn up the music. Have a dance contest to everyone’s favorite songs. Enjoy the outdoors and go for family walks, ride bikes together or play at a local park.

You can find more great tips, resources and healthy recipes that kids will love at www.CaChampionsForChange.net and www.Facebook.com/NetworkForAHealthyCalifornia.

*Article and image courtesy of NAPS.*

Mommy-Stroller5 Great Baby Registry Items for Eco-Conscious Parents-to-Be

Compiling a baby registry can be a difficult undertaking. There are so many things you’ll need to provide a comfortable and supportive environment for your newborn that it can get a little overwhelming trying to figure out how many onesies, bottles, blankets, and other items to add to your registry. And you don’t want to be greedy, but there’s so much stuff to buy that it could stretch your budget pretty thin. Plus, you need to consider that you’re probably not going to get everything on your wish list. So should you only put the items you really need help with? It can be a major conundrum for expectant parents that are already overwhelmed. And when you add eco-sensibilities to the mix it can get even more difficult. But here are just a few ideas of items you might want to include when you put together a baby registry of items that have less impact on the environment.

Organic clothing. Your baby will go through clothing fast, so you’ll want to put sizes on your registry that will cover him for the first year. This could include four different sizes, in case you didn’t know. But if you also want to cut your carbon footprint and protect your baby’s sensitive skin from possible allergies, rashes, and so on that could be caused by all of the chemical processing most garments undergo, then opt for organic outfits. As a bonus, they’ll survive a lot more washing than standard garments – considering how quickly they get messy, this is great news for new parents.

Organic linens. If you’re not going to clothe your newborn in chemically processed textiles, why would you make him sleep on them? Instead, cover baby’s bed with linen sheets and blankets that are sure to cause less harm.

Cloth diapers (and cleaning service). Disposable diapers, while convenient, are terrible for the environment, cluttering up landfills to the tune of about 18 billion diapers per year, including 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp. As a concerned parent, you may be keen to cut back on this, uh, dumping. Cloth diapers are a viable solution that you’ll only have to buy once. Although a cleaning service will cost you, perhaps you can add a month or a year of service as an option on your registry. Another good solution is biodegradable diapers.

3-in-1 stroller. Although you might not find a lot of environmentally-conscious, 3-in-1 stroller options on the market, the product, in and of itself, requires less manufacturing than purchasing a separate stroller, carrier, and car seat, making it a little greener (and more convenient) from the get-go.

Minimal-impact furniture. Although furniture for your baby’s nursery can certainly be expensive, you should put a variety of items at a wide range of price-points on your registry for a couple of reasons. For one thing, someone might actually splurge on one of your big-ticket items, saving you some serious money. Or they may see that lower-priced items have already been purchased and give you a gift card towards whatever you didn’t get on your wish list. Enough gift cards could add up to furniture. And when it comes to your crib, changing table, and baby play yard, you might need a little help covering cost, especially if you plan to buy pieces that are practical, safe, and come with a guarantee of minimal impact to the environment through manufacturing and materials.

ID-10010604310 Tricky Tips for a Healthy Halloween from the Pritikin Longevity Center

1. Buy candy you don’t like.

Love Snickers bars? Leave them on the store shelf. Otherwise, you can bet you’ll be breaking into that bag days before the costumed kiddies arrive at your doorstep. (And let’s not even talk about what happens if there are Snickers left over at the end of the evening.) Buy candy that does not call out to you, and on November 1, throw any leftovers out or take them to a homeless shelter.

2. Think outside the candy box.

“On Halloween night, trick or treaters love non-food goodies, too,” recommends Pritikin dietitian and educator Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD. Look in the party aisle of your favorite discount or dollar store for treats like glow stick necklaces (your little neighborhood princesses will love you!), spider rings, stickers, decorative pencils, stamps, notepads, erasers, balloons, play tattoos, game cards, and more. Better yet, buy treats that encourage kids to be physically active, like little bouncy balls, Frisbees, jump ropes, hacky sacks, and sidewalk chalk for drawing hopscotch or foursquare games.

3. Fuel up your little ones before they go trick-or-treating.

Before they head out the door, try to get them to relax (we know this isn’t easy!) and sit down to dinner, or, at least, a fruit plate and a cup of yogurt. That way, their appetites for the rest of the evening will be curbed, somewhat. (Maybe they’ll be happy with 6 little chocolates, not 16.)

4. Be firm but loving.

Keeping junk out of the house most of the year is important. “But realize that some junk on Halloween and other rare events is inevitable, and that’s okay. Embrace those moments, and at the same time make sure your kids understand how important it is to keep these indulgences occasional,” counsels Tom Rifai, MD, Medical Director of the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Michigan, and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board. Always emphasize the many positive outcomes of eating fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables, like a leaner body, clearer skin and excellent energy for all their activities and sports.

5. Perform trick-or-treat triage.

Once the kids bring in the candy, “get rid of the excess,” suggests Pritikin nutritionist Kimberly Gomer. “The children don’t need a ton around, and neither do you. Also, if there are certain treats that ‘glow and glitter’ for you, triggering temptation, put them out of sight, perhaps in an out-of-the-way kitchen cabinet or freezer in the garage. The kids often forget about the candy faster than mom and dad!”

6. Meter it out.

On Halloween night, allow your children to enjoy a few bites, not a binge. Then, stash the goodies they’ve selected as “keepers” in the pantry. Get rid of the rest. In the days that follow, dole out one or two treats at a time (but only if your children ask for them), and always in combination with a healthy snack or meal. When the excitement over the candy has waned (and before you start digging into them), toss them out or take them to a shelter.

7. Focus on fun, not food.

“Make dressing up in costumes a big deal,” suggests Kimberly, “and get in on the action, too. Dress up with your kids.” Carve pumpkins, and enjoy the exercise of trick or treating around the neighborhood. (Do make sure you’ve also eaten a healthy snack or dinner before walking out the front door.) And sure, nibble on a treat or two while out enjoying the evening, as long as you know you can stop after one or two. “And always remember that it’s one night a year,” says Kimberly. “Enjoy the evening, but don’t drag out the candy eating till Thanksgiving. Tell yourself, ‘I’ve splurged a little tonight. I’m back to healthy eating tomorrow.’” What a gift for your waistline and overall health!

8. Plan party fun on the front lawn.

“Get the kids (and grownups) up and moving with party activities,” advises Pritikin Fitness Director Scott Danberg, MS. Set up a costume/dance contest. Before the sun sets, enjoy a pumpkin hunt (hide miniature pumpkins throughout the yard), pinning a heart on a scarecrow, or musical chairs (instead of chairs, use big pumpkins). And, of course, kids never tire of running from the big bad bogeyman (you dressed up in a creepy costume) in a game of Halloween hide and seek. Lots of calories burned. Lots of fun!

9. Stock up on sweet and nutritious.

The rest of the year, continue to think outside the candy aisle for treats that are sweet and nutritious. Make fruit fun. How about a Fruit Parfait? In a pretty parfait glass, simply layer your child’s favorite fruit with fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt. Then top with a strawberry.

10. Make healthy treats together.

Every summer in the Pritikin Family Program, kids love the hands-on cooking classes and, afterwards, eating their own creations. Set up shop in your own kitchen, and with the kids as sous chefs, create tasty desserts, such as our chefs’ Very Berry Ice Cream, for a healthy Halloween and good health year-round.

About the Author

Kimberly Gomer MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian and Educator: In addition to her undergraduate degree in Dietetics/Nutrition and Masters in Public Health Nutrition, Kimberly brings to the Pritikin Longevity Center more than a decade of experience teaching and inspiring thousands nationwide to eat and live well. At LIFE Saint Francis PACE Program in New Jersey, she provided medical nutrition therapy for individuals with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity. At community health centers throughout New Jersey, she developed and delivered several wellness programs, including individual and group weight-loss programs for a variety of ages, from students to seniors.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

six new technologies to help you be more greenSix New Technologies to Help You be More Green

Green technology is a booming industry that caters to those who are economically and ecologically aware of their environmental impact. These six new technologies are here to help you invest in a greener future. Environmentally friendly products used to be hard to come by, but now they are at the forefront of the technological industry.

Electric Cars
Electric cars are a hot topic. They provide power and fuel with batteries that are now lighter and easier to haul. The old version of the electric car was difficult to transport, and they couldn’t get very far to begin with. The electric car today is full of new technology that will change your life from a gas-guzzling SUV to a smooth and sleek-electric car.

Rooftop Wind Power
Wind power used to be limited to large-scale farms and plantations. Today wind power is accessible by average households using rooftop systems. WindTronics is developing systems that are smaller than average, but they work on the rooftop to power your home easily and efficiently.

LED Lightbulbs
Fluorescent and compact-fluorescent lighbulbs have been around and in use for quite sometime. LED lights are starting to take over. They last for virtually forever, and they rarely die out or blow. They are a one-time purchase for most household-lighting needs, and they are efficient. LED lightbulbs are the newest technology in lighting to help your home be more green.

Recycling Technology
Recycling isn’t just about recycling what you have thrown away or would have thrown away. It’s now about how technology has changed the way we recycle. Better technology has made it more efficient and accessible for you to recycle.

Better Electronic Materials
Electronics are being produced with better materials. Recyclable aluminum, easy to dispose of components and safe to recycle components are major game players in the industry. This kind of technology is spreading to laptops, tablets and much more at a rapid pace.

Eco-Friendly Printers
More printers are being labeled with smart technology that allows them to be recognized for saving ink and energy. Look a company that offers ink at a reasonable price and is environmentally friendly. Eco-friendly printers are the way of the future.

Conclusion
Technology to help you be more green extends to your home, car, work place and environment in general. There are dozens of ways to enhance your life to be more environmentally friendly, but these six technologies are just a few of the ways to get started.

About the Author
Kandace Heller is a freelance writer from Orlando, Florida. In her free time, Kandace nejoys reading, writing and going to the beach. For those looking for quality printer ink, Kandace suggests Cartridge ink.co.uk.

ID-10062392 (1)Halloween is a celebration of make-believe, pumpkins, autumn, and most of all…candy. While kids wait all year for this holiday of endless sugar, it can often be a nightmare for parents. Candy usually contains sugar, which is the perfect environment for breeding bacteria that cause tooth decay. Consequently, to avoid future dental problems, it is important to keep two things in mind when eating candy:

1) Avoid excessive consumption of these sugary treats

2) Lessen the amount of time the sugar is present in the mouth

Dr. Margaret Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Dental Spa, a dental spa facility in Chicago’s Water Tower Place, offers the following tips for protecting children’s teeth at Halloween:

· Examine: Examine your child’s candy before he or she digs in to see if it meets your approval.

· Brushing: It is okay for your child to eat any candy that you approve of, but to help lessen the chance for tooth decay, have them brush as soon as possible after eating the candy. By brushing right after candy consumption, the impact of the candy on the teeth is minimal.

· Avoid: Avoid sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc. Sticky Candy adheres to teeth and leads to decay.

· Preparation: Prior to Halloween, visit your dentist to have sealants put into the child’s teeth grooves. This protects tooth enamel against decay caused by excess sugar.

If brushing soon after eating is not possible, here are these other tips that also can help:

· Together: Consume the candy with a meal. The increased saliva production while eating will help wash the sweet off the teeth.

· Rinse: Rinse the mouth with water.

· Gum: Chew a sugarless gum (especially those containing xylitol) after snacking on candy. The increased saliva from chewing will help wash the sugar off the teeth and xylitol gums help control the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

· Quickly: Eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is contact with the teeth. Avoid eating any candy slowly over an extended time or over multiple sittings. Recent studies have shown that length of time eating a sweet can be more harmful than the amount of sweet consumed. This means hard candies, breath mints, etc. (long residence time in the mouth) can actually be worse for your teeth than a chocolate candy bar (shorter residence time in the mouth).

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Four Ways To Stimulate Your Kids Brains At HomeFour Ways to Stimulate Your Kids Brains At Home

It is important to stimulate the brains of your children and can be very beneficial to their future. You want the best for your kids, and that includes nurturing and taking care of their minds. By making learning fun, your child’s brain can get much-needed stimulation, and can be a great way to spend the day together as a family.

Read, Read, Read
One of the easiest ways to stimulate your child’s brain is to engage in reading activities together. This can build their vocabulary and comprehension, engage their imagination, and help develop speech. The more stories you read together, the more words their minds will be able to recognize and add into their vocabulary. Take turns choosing stories and have fun with it!

Flash Cards
Another way to stimulate learning is with flash cards. They can be words, numbers, money, math problems, colors, shapes, or even animals. A collection of flash cards can make the learning experience into a game for you and your child. If you can, create a reward system–every correct answer can earn them a point or a small prize. Be creative.

Microscopes
For anyone that has ever looked through a microscope before, they come away having seen something in a new and exciting way. Let your kids look at a flower, leaf, insect, or even a piece of food under a microscope, and you can explain how everything is made up of something much smaller. Your kids can view stereo microscopes in a new way, and understand that when you look a bit closer at something ordinary, it becomes extraordinary. The activity can be lengthened as much as you want. Make a day out of it, and you and your child can go explore outside to collect all sorts of things to look at under the microscope. Let their minds run crazy with curiosity as you learn together.

Puzzles
Another great way to stimulate your child’s brain is doing puzzles together. It helps them learn how to match shapes and problem-solve, but it’s also a fun activity. If your child doesn’t like puzzles, try doing a matching game to help develop memory skills or do some arts and crafts and ask them to mix certain colors. You can also have them paint certain shapes, vocabulary words, or math problems. Sometimes, doing something like math and vocabulary can be made into a more enjoyable activity for them if they do it in a new, exciting way.

EyeWear5 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

If your child suffers from vision problems, you surely want to do anything and everything in your power to ensure that he is able to see. This is important not only for his ability to navigate the world now and in the future, but considering that the majority of learning done in our school system in based on visual instruction, the truth is that he’ll have a much easier time if his eyesight is unfettered. On the other hand, your first instinct is probably to avoid the dangers inherent in surgery if at all possible. Although you might eventually exhaust your options and settle on surgery, depending on the condition that is impacting your child’s eyesight, you should definitely gather information on alternatives therapies. And if you happen to lean towards natural and non-invasive options, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few things you can try.

1. Food. You’ve no doubt heard the adage “you are what you eat”, and there’s actually some merit to the statement. The foods you give your child provide essential nutrients that will help him to grow and develop, and you can use this knowledge to provide foods that are proven to benefit eyesight. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and particularly DHA, boost eye health in a number of ways. And while the best source is salmon, you might not want to risk too much mercury in your child’s diet. Flaxseed and walnuts are also good sources. Antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein also support eye health and help to prevent (and even reverse) some types of damage (like that caused by the sun). Good sources include leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and eggs. And you might be surprised to learn that sulfur-rich foods like garlic and onions can help to prevent cataracts, although you probably know that kids don’t tend to like them much.

2. Vitamins. It’s practically impossible to get all the nutrients you need from food, and kids can be pretty picky about what they eat on top of it. So you might want to talk to your pediatrician about the prospect of giving your child a daily multivitamin that will ensure he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs for overall health and wellness, not to mention those that will help to make his eyesight strong.

3. Adequate rest. Kids can be temperamental when it comes to bedtime, but it’s your job as a parent to make sure that your child is receiving adequate rest. So if you have trouble getting him down for the night, he awakens frequently, or he rises early, there are a couple of steps you can take. First, cut back on sugar intake, which will only keep him up. Then make sure that you don’t give him water right before bedtime and that he uses the restroom before going to sleep. Finally, think about implementing mandatory naptime. This will give you a much-needed break during the day and ensure that he gets all the rest he needs to support healthy vision, not to mention mental wellness.

4. Exercises. Just like any other part of your body, your eyes can atrophy if they’re not properly exercised. Since a child’s eyes are still developing, you don’t want to work them to hard, but easy exercises like eye rolls and changing focus (from an object up close to one far away) can help to strengthen eye muscles and potentially prevent vision problems.

5. Eco-friendly eyewear. When you’ve exhausted natural options like diet and exercise, the next step is to think about whether or not glasses can help your child to see. And there are plenty of international eyewear brands that offer eco-friendly options. One of the best may be Eco, which is certified by independent product evaluator ULE to feature 95% recycled materials. Proof Eyewear is another option that makes cool, modern frames from sustainable wood. And you can always look for vintage glasses that can be outfitted with new lenses as a means of recycling, although you might have a hard time finding eyewear for your tot by this last method. On the upside, all of these options are preferable to surgery.

Cookie-Container5 Tips for Reducing Food Waste in the Kitchen

Did you know that the average household throws away an estimated 15% of the food that comes into the kitchen? If you spend $100 a week on food, that means you’re throwing away $15 a week, $60 a month, and a whopping $720 per year. And it could be a lot more. Not only is this wasteful but it’s bad for your budget. Just think of what you could do with that money! Luckily, there are tons of ways to get a handle on your food waste and save some money in the process. Here are some strategies you should definitely put into effect.

1. Go Euro. We have a tendency to plan our meals for the week, buying all of the ingredients in one fell swoop. But this can be problematic in terms of food waste because fresh items may go bad before the week is out and many nights, overworked parents end up ordering takeout instead of going to the added trouble of making a meal after a long day at work. So take a page from the European playbook. Traditionally, Europeans tend to visit their local, neighborhood market daily to get whatever fresh items they need for their meals. This is a great policy that not only ensures variety and that your foods are at the peak of freshness, but also that there is less food waste from spoilage.

2. Cook in bulk. If you have a lot of extra food in your fridge and you fear it will go bad, simply cook enough for several meals and freeze it in the serving sizes you prefer. When you need a quick meal, all you have to do is thaw and heat your frozen meals. It’s an easy and economical way to use your food instead of letting it go to waste and it makes for easy meals on nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

3. Make smoothies and sauces. If your fresh produce has a tendency to go bad, consider that there are uses for fruits and veggies that have gotten a little too ripe to look appetizing. So long as they’re not moldy or melting, many fruits and vegetables can be made into delicious smoothies with milk, soymilk, juice, or even water as a base. And if you want a cool and healthy treat for the kids, pour your smoothie into popsicle molds (you can order them on Amazon). As for other veggies, consider steaming them, throwing them in the food processor, and then simmering to make delicious pasta sauces that you can save for later. Produce could also be canned and jammed for later use or to give away as gifts.

4. Host a potluck. Rather than throw food away because you accidentally bought more than you ended up using this week, invite family and friends for a potluck. You can use up all the extra ingredients in your kitchen before they spoil and your guests can provide side dishes or dessert.

5. Use what you’ve got. Every so often, say once a week, it pays to go through your fridge and pantry to see what you’ve got and figure out how to use it in a timely manner. Whether you want to spice up your leftovers or you’ve got a bunch of random ingredients, you can find ways to turn them into appetizing meals with a little creativity. Instead of ordering pizza for dinner, pull out your fondue sets, get some sauces bubbling, and use them for dipping extra veggies and leftovers from the week. Or use a website like Supercook.com or MyFridgeFood.com that allows you to enter ingredients from your kitchen in order to find recipes that you can make with them. You’ll use up anything that might go bad and save some money in the process.