Time for Back to School. Here’s An App that Facilitates Family Food Planning During the Year

It’s back to school time of the year. The carefree days of summer are almost over, we know what is in stake for us: the inevitable hassle, stress and organization that goes hand in hand with the start of the new school year. Yet most importantly, the family has to undergo the unpleasant transition from a laid back to a more rigid schedule.

Apart from introducing new bed and wake up times, the transition is most taxing on establishing a healthy weekly eating routine and lunch box organization. But, it needn’t be, at least not anymore. CozZo.app offers the perfect back to school food planning solution that will give a strong boost to your kitchen management skills in this hectic time of the year.

5 Ways in which CozZo Can Help You Run Your Kitchen Like A Pro

CozZo is a next-gen food planning system that integrates fridge and pantry inventory, smart shopping assistance and precise food expiry tracking support. It is available as a standalone version and a household account that comes with a lot of add-on features such as barcode scanning, picture taking and many more.

1. It Will Help You Organise Your Pantry

well-organized pantryA well-organized kitchen begins with a thoughtfully stocked and updated pantry. This starts with some tidying up, decluttering. and going through your kitchen staples and basic food supplies. If you haven’t gone through your pantry in a while, it is likely that you have a very vague idea what’s still there in your pantry.

Before making the next trip to the supermarket for a new stock up, start with a full inventory of what you already have. 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 cupboard with the olive and other vegetable oils, the bottles of vinegar. Open your fridge and check the condiments and small jars on the 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.

This double-duty process is now even more fun and effortless. When you install CozZo on your iPhone, the app will flashcards 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 next grocery shopping and stocking. Food planning can actually be fun!

2. Helps You with Your Meal Planning

meal planning boardSchool and meal planning are often used in one sentence, and there is a reason for that. Without some sort of food 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 come up with 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 remotely 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 that need your attention 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. When you are light on your credit card and on your grocery bags, you will end up with less food to waste.

3. It Will Help You Shop With Intention

shopping cart in a supermarketDuring the school year, there is not enough time 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. So grocery trips need to be planned wisely. 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 days ahead. You go to the store cause you have that vague idea there is not enough food at home and just pick random stuff from the shelves and fridges. Maybe several types of cheese, some cold cuts. Perhaps some zucchini, kid’s favourite fruit yoghurt?

But none of this necessarily add up to ingredients for specific meals. You go home with a fridge worth of stuff, yet nothing specific to prepare a meal. It is why we can’t avoid food planning.

Alternatively, maybe you bought your hunger to the store. You are tempted into buying all sorts of treats over and above your original dinner idea. Or maybe, you had a free 15 minutes at the office and were in a healthy eating mindset.

You open this new wholefood online brand you’ve been meaning to check in a while. You add Gluten-free pasta, quinoa, superfoods, low sodium salt, dark chocolate, herbal teas to your shopping cart. Then you hit the buy now button.  But all these purchases don’t really add up to portioned planned dinners.

Go through your inventory and see what is about to expire and needs to be prepared for dinner tonight. Add the missing items to your shopping list on CozZo. See if you are missing any essentials, and you are ready to shop only what you really need.

The shopping list will guard you against all supermarket traps that tempt you to purchase surplus food you don’t need right now and you probably won’t be able to eat in time. Remember, food waste starts with overbuying.

4. Helps You Decide With Confidence if the Food is Still Good for Eating

food clock

Despite our best intentions, we still end up with more food than we can eat. Especially, during the school year.  The cooler weather combined with a routine of studies and practices leads to bigger appetites than in summer. Once kids are back to school, they want to eat more, so we stack up to make sure they don’t go hungry. We store everything in the fridge. But when the fridge is 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. When kids are in question, we tend to be most overprotective and risk-averse. If the stamp on that fruit yoghurt says “best before 12-09-2018” we prefer to be on the safe side. We don’t give it to the kids one day after the stamped day. And as we don’t really like fruit yoghurt, 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’). 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.  You will receive a gentle reminder for the foods that are starting to lose their flavour but are still safe to eat. A green flag will appear on your 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. Knowing which food to keep or throw away is a vital food planning skill.

5. It helps you waste less food

throwing leftovers into the binAt CozZo, we believe that household food waste is the dramatic side effect of lack of time and inefficient household food planning. 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.  Plus toppled with “best intentions”, especially when our kids are in question.

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. They felt no urge to buy food, before the one they had was eaten. But we have lost this approach. We have also lost the ability to keep track of the food that goes in and out of our homes.

As we settle into a back to school mode, the influx of food into our home suddenly increases. But so does our inability to track and manage that food in time. 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 food planning and manage it in time. Back to school is great opportunity to set your family on a steady food planning routine.

To get ready for back to school with 5 new lunch box hacks in the video below.

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