Many years ago, while I was living in Kingman, AZ, I met a woman
who, quite frankly, served very boring meals. I was young and impressionable at
the time, and with the brazenness of youth, asked her why she didn't serve more
Her answer to me was that if she bought special ingredients for
side dishes, her family always ate them before she could use them.
I couldn't really relate to what she was saying at the time,
because my children were not big enough to open the refrigerator.
Looking back, I can see what she said was a pretty lame excuse
for a lack of organization. I don't mean to be harsh, but you've got to take
When your children are big enough to get in the refrigerator,
you have a few years when you can hide things in the back. Soon,
however, you will
need a new system.
One quick and easy thing that works is just to label foods that
no one is to eat. It can be as simple as placing a colored dot on them, or a
piece of masking tape. After you have used the needed amount of the food, you
can either rip it off, or replace the color of the dot.
Of course, you will have to talk with your family and make sure
they understand the rules.
The second part of organization in the refrigerator is your
leftovers. Some leftovers are fair game for lunch. Others you plan on using for
another meal. Again, devise your own label system.
As your children get older, they will often have schedules where
they can't eat with the family, and have to grab what they can, when they can.
In this case, I advice putting something near or on the fridge where you can
write down what there is leftover for them to eat. You might even approximate
the number of servings, and you might list when it was prepared.