Eating healthy doesn’t always have to be quite as time consuming as it seems. Sure, it takes a hot second to squeeze a lemon or chop fresh vegetables, but we’ve got a handful of food hacks that will help you save time and money when trying to develop better eating habits!

They might not all work for you dorm-dwellers, but if you’ve got an apartment and a fridge, you’ve got no excuse for not taking advance of these great food hacks–especially if you’re studying nutrition.

Great Food Hacks

Frozen Citrus Juices/Ice Cubes

lemon juice ice cubes

Image: The Usual Bliss

You might want to skip the Chinese takeout and make your own Orange Chicken, but when you see fresh orange juice on the ingredients list, that frozen packet from Trader Joe’s seems so tempting on your crammed weeknights.

Instead, just keep some frozen orange, lime, and lemon juice in your freezer for super easy use. Squeeze a couple of fruits all at once, either for Sunday morning breakfast or when you’re making cocktails for pre-gaming at the house, then freeze the leftover juice in ice trays!

You can pop them out and toss them in a freezer bag for easy storage, and use them to flavor your cocktails, make cold orange water or lemonade, or let them thaw and sprinkle the juice over guacamole, salad, and more!

Hull Strawberries in 1 Second

Hull Strawberries with a Straw

Image: Barefeet in the Kitchen

You’ve got an entire case of strawberries for your morning oatmeal, but who wants to take out a cutting board before 8am?

Grab a straw next time you’re in the dining hall and use it to hull strawberries in no time! Simply put the straw through the bottom of the berry and push it out the top. The flavorless white center, hull, and leaves will come off with it.

Make Bananas Last Longer

bananas plastic wrap

Image: The Pasadena Chef

It’s awesome when mom and dad take you to Costco on Sunday and buy you fifty-two pounds of bananas, but you’re likely to binge on booze and French fries after a weekend with the parents, so those bananas will sit and ripen for several days before you get to them. There are several ways to get the most out of your banana.

  • Wrap ‘em — Did you ever notice that bunches of organic bananas have plastic wrap around the top of them? This helps prevent the emission of ethylene gas (which causes them to ripen). Don’t wrap the entire banana, just the top part where they connect.
  • Fridge — Sure, if you put a banana in the fridge it will inevitably turn brown, but the inside actually stays firm for several more days without becoming overripe. Try it!
  • Freezer — You’re bound to still have bananas you just can’t get to, so when they start reaching that super-speckly giraffe look, toss them in the freezer. Then just pull them out to make banana pancakes, banana bread, or granola.  You can also peel and chop them, and store them in a freezer bag for smoothies!

Store an Apple with Potatoes

apples and potatoes storage

Image: MOCO LOCO

Many grocery stores only sell potatoes by the billions, so unless you can eat twelve potatoes a week, you’re probably going to have a few science projects on your countertop.

Instead, store an apple with your bag of potatoes to keep them from growing “eyes” and getting soft.

Store Salad with a Paper Towel

Store Salad with a Paper Towel

Image: Near to Nothing

Even with a salad spinner, it’s easy to look at salad as just too much work, and planning ahead can result in soggy lettuce. We’ve got a hack! Wash and dry your salad greens, then go ahead and store them in a plastic container or plastic bag, but add a dry paper towel as well.

The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture and your salad greens should stay fresh for the entire week.

Peel Garlic Faster

peel garlic faster

Image: Saveur

Minced garlic is kind of gross. It’s vinegary and potent, and pales in comparison to the fresh version. But nobody likes peeling garlic. Well, you’re in luck, you can peel an entire head of garlic in 10-30 seconds if you place it in a pot with a lid and shake it vigorously.

The cloves will release from the peel and you can go about your cooking. (We also suggest a garlic press to avoid sticky fingers.)

Slice Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomatoes sliced using plastic lids

Image: Food52

If you haven’t seen this one, you’re in for a treat. We all like cherry tomatoes in our salads, but stabbing them with a fork can be tricky. And who wants to slice a dozen mini tomatoes?

Find two plastic container lids with a small lip (think those blue lids everyone has), and place your cherry tomatoes on the bottom lid, lip facing up. Top with the other lid and apply a little pressure while you run the knife through the tomatoes. Voila!

Thicken Soup with Vegetables and Beans

thicken soup with vegetables

Image: For the Love of Cooking

Thick and creamy soups are delicious, but adding cream puts a major dent in your daily caloric intake.

Instead of cream, add mashed white beans, pureed cauliflower, or mashed potatoes to your soup and stir it all together for a thicker, creamier consistency without all that cream!