Now that the carefree days of summer are almost over, we know what’s ahead of us: the inevitable hassle, stress, and organization that goes hand in hand with the start of the new school year. As families, we need to undergo the unpleasant transition from a relaxed way of life to a rigid schedule.
Apart from the shift to a new bed and wake up time, the transition is most taxing on us in the part where we need to establish a healthy weekly eating routine and lunch box organization. But, it needn’t be, at least not anymore. The CozZo mobile app offers the perfect “back to school” food planning solution that will give parents a confident hand in running their kitchens in this hectic time of the year.
5 Ways in which CozZo Can Help You With Your Back to School Food Planning
The most trusted anti-food-waste app on UK App Store, CozZo is a next-gen food management system that integrates fridge and pantry inventory, smart shopping assistance and precise food expiry tracking support. Beginning of October, we are introducing 2 awesome updates – the family account plus barcode scanning, which will be available through premium subscription.
1. It will help you get your pantry ready in time for back to school
As your family settles into the nex school year eating routine, you will need to get your kitchen ready. This includes doing some tidying up and decluttering. but also going through your kitchen staples and basic food supplies. With all the vacation back and forth, it is likely you have a very vague idea what’s still there in your pantry.
Before making that first trip to the supermarket for the initial stock up, start with a full inventory of what’s left over from the summer period. It may sound like a bore, but with the CozZo app, it is actually quite easy and fun. The moment you have your food supplies sorted out, it will be you controlling your pantry and not vice versa.
Check the pasta, the rice, the lentils, the number of canned tomatoes and tuna fish, the olive and other vegetable oils, the bottles of vinegar, the condiments and small jars on the fridge door. Dare to look inside the freezer to check up on the frozen veggies and berries. You will need to track what you already own and make a list of what you need to buy.
Starting from September, the new 1.8 CozZo update will make this double duty process even more fun and effortless. When you install CozZo on your iPhone, the app will flash cards at you of basic products that you are likely to maintain in your household. Swipe left on the image, if the item is already in your pantry, swipe right if it is something that you need to buy. In no time, you will end up with a comprehensive pantry inventory and a full list for your initial back to school grocery shopping and stocking.
2. It will help you shop with intention with actual meals in mind
Back to school means less time for us for anything, including grocery shopping. Yet we need to maintain a constant supply of food at home so we can prepare effortless meals, snacks, and lunch boxes. And that is where intention comes in.
Intention is the opposite of impulse. Impulse buying is what you do when you don’t have a clear idea about your meal plans for the next several days. You just pick random stuff from the shelves and fridges – several types of cheese, some cold cuts, maybe some grapes and some tomatoes and also lettuce, maybe some zucchini, kid’s favorite fruit yogurt – that don’t necessarily add up to ingredients for specific meals. You go home with a fridge worth of stuff, yet nothing specific to prepare a meal.
Alternatively, maybe you bought your hunger to the store with you and was tempted into all sorts of treats over and above your original dinner idea. Or maybe, you had a free 15 minutes at the office so you were in a healthy eating mindset and ordered from this new wholefood online brand and stocked on gluten-free pasta, quinoa and several variations of superfoods. But all these purchases don’t really add up to portioned planned dinners.
Go through your shopping list on the CozZo app, and see what you’ve planned to purchase. Apart from the necessary essentials, see if the rest are random products, or you can actually build a meal around them. Edit your list so you have enough ingredients to prepare meals until your next planned shopping. This way you will not be vulnerable to all the ingenious merchandise strategies that count on precisely that – tempting you into purchases when you don’t have a clear intention in your head.
3. It helps you with your back to school meal planning
Back to school and meal planning are often used in one sentence, and there is a reason for that. Without some sort of planning, home meals can turn into havoc. There is no one right way to do meal planning.
The right way is the one that works best for you, keeps your family fed and healthy and your food waste at a minimum. For some of us, meal by meal planning works best. Others prefer to plan the week ahead. The key in all scenarios is to imagine specific dishes you would like to prepare and break them down into ingredients. However, it is best to start imagining your next meal by going through your pantry list.
Use your 15 free minutes at the office, to check your CozZo pantry inventory on your iPhone. Come up with your meal idea for tonight. If you are out of ideas, just Google the 3 main ingredients you have in mind, and consult a couple of recipes that seem appealing to you. Add the products you miss to the shopping list and head for the store on your way back home. You will be fast, you will be efficient, light on your credit card and on your grocery bags, and you will end up with less food to waste.
4. Helps you decide with confidence if the food is still good for eating
Despite our best intentions, we still end up with more food that we can eat. Especially, now that the kids are going back to school. With the weather growing cooler, and a fast transition to a routine of studies and the practices, their appetites naturally start growing. Kids tend to at more than in summer, so we want to be sure they do not go hungry by stacking up. We store everything in the fridge, but when it’s fully loaded, we quickly lose track of what we have and when we have bought it.
As we move things around the fridge we find food items we have forgotten we have. When kids are in question, we tend to be most overprotective and risk-averse. If the stamp on that fruit yogurt says “best before 12-09-2018” we prefer to be on the safe side and not give it to the kids one day after the stamped day. And as we don’t really like fruit yogurt, we bin it. We follow the old rule: when in doubt, do without!
However, we need to remind ourselves, that the “best before” dates are the manufacturers’ advisory time frames indicating their pessimistic forecast for how long the product will be at its highest quality in “typical” storage conditions. Food experts have been warning us not to fall into the “best before” trap, but we keep forgetting this advice, as we read through the food stamps on the items in our fridge.
CozZo app has a built-in AI algorithm, that suggests a realistic shelf life (called ‘use/best within’) and a prompt that suggests optimal storage place – your fridge, pantry or freezer. CozZo is also super-precise in tracking and reporting on the status of your groceries.
If the food is highly perishable, you will get a strict reminder and the product will be red-flagged. For all other foods, that lose their flavour in time but are safe to eat you’ll get a gentle reminder and a green-flagged display.
To help you perfect your shopping and cooking routines the CozZo app checks your home inventory several times a day and reminders for products that need your attention are sent to the home screen of your phone. They allow for a quick product update even without opening the app. This helps boost or confidence when it comes to deciding if food is still good for our kids to eat.
5. It helps you waste less food
At CozZo, we believe that household food waste is the dramatic side effect of lack of time and inefficient household food management. We also believe that food waste is a result of the fact that we no longer see food as precious. Our attitude to food is often mindless and careless. Moreover, these factors are further toppled with our best intentions, especially when it comes to our kids.
In her essay on Generation X’s Parenting Problems, Anjali Enjeti writes with a lot of self-irony how, “as parents, we slave for hours in the kitchen perfecting our kids’ gluten-free, local, organic, artisanal, hand-crafted, hormone-free, ethical meals, and as long as our children taste everything — even if it means brushing it along the tips of their tongues — they’re free to dump the rest into the compost bin.”
We do not have to go back to the spartan food discipline imposed on us by our parents. As Enjali continues, “we didn’t dare tell our parents we didn’t like the food, didn’t want the food, weren’t in the mood for that type of food. We had to clean our plates, polish off every crumb, and if we didn’t, we’d hear about the starving children in third world countries.”
From today’s perspective, such an attitude to children’s’ feedings appears almost inhuman. But there is a thing or two to remember about this zero-food waste policy. Throwing away food was just not an option back then. Our parents approached food with an eat it up attitude, and they felt no urge to buy food, before the one they have was eaten. We have lost this approach but we have also lost the ability to keep track of the food that goes in and out of our homes.
This inability to track food becomes even more dramatic during the back to school period when the flow of purchased food towards our kitchen suddenly increases. But what CozZo is really good at is tracking the amount and type of food that enters our homes, warning you when you are overstocking and alerting you if something needs to be eaten up soon. So with this app in your pocket, you can really control the food flow and manage it in time.