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Jazz Leaf’s 4 Practical Ways to Improve Efficiency & Cost in the Kitchen

Jazz Leaf

My name is Jazz Leaf, and I have been a private chef for professional athletes over the last 3 years! With spending 14-hour days in the kitchen, I have learned a few simple and practical ways to improve efficiency and cost in the kitchen! I am here to share them with you, so you can spend more time doing what you love, with the people you love!

Tip #1: Meal plan using what you have!

Pick a day of the week that you feel works for you and plan the meals for your week! Typically, I do this on a Sunday to prepare for the work week. The first step is to take inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what you have left from the previous week(s). An example of things you may find are frozen chicken, frozen fruit, canned beans, dry rice, oatmeal and yogurt. From there, think about how those ingredients can be built upon! For example, oatmeal with frozen berries for breakfast. Lunch could be a big salad with canned beans. Dinner is rice and roasted chicken. You can then write a small list of ingredients you may be missing to complete those meals; like the fresh vegetables and fruits to accompany or tie in your meals. This way no food gets wasted, you can save some money on unnecessary ingredients and you work with what you have to save pantry and fridge space! 

Tip #2: Look at your weekly grocery store coupons!

Pick your favorite local grocery store and check out their weekly ads online prior to heading to the store! Most grocery stores do a lot of buy one, get one deals. Look for deals on meat, cheese and fish. These ingredients you can freeze and use later! This tip is really great to do hand-in-hand with tip #1, as you are planning your meals for the week!

Tip #3: Make your own homemade dressings, sauces and dips with leftover condiment containers!

Store-bought salad dressings are often hidden with emulsifiers, additives, sugars and processed oils. They can also be quite expensive when you’re looking for the good quality ones. I recommend learning a few simple dressing recipes to make at home. You can make the dressings in a glass jar, with a tight lid and keep it stored in the fridge. Have you ever had a Dijon Mustard or yellow mustard container that is almost empty? Well, that’s the perfect vessel for your homemade dressing! Just add all of the ingredients below into your mustard container, shake it up and store it in the fridge for up to 7 days! Add it to salads, roasted vegetables or protein!

Simple Homemade Vinaigrette


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup any vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white balsamic, red wine)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic 

Tip #4: Have a smoothie a day!

Smoothies are such a great quick way to get in nutrient dense food! If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, try starting the day off with a smoothie. It often gives your body the jolt of energy it needs to fuel and begin the day properly. When adding protein and fats to smoothies, it can often be as filling as a whole meal! You can even prep ingredients in freezer friendly bags, and the morning of, just blend with some liquid & enjoy! One of my favorite recipes is this tropical green smoothie below!

Tropical Green Smoothie


  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, frozen
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1-2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1-2 cups coconut water (depending on how thick you like it)
  • 1 date, pitted to remove the seed
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder or collagen
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 4-6 ice cubes 

Directions: Add everything into a high-powered blender and blend for 1 minute. Serve over ice or as is. 

Now that you have the knowledge on how to make better use of your time spent in the kitchen, as well as reduce cost around your homemade meals, you’re one step ahead! I recommend easing into this one week at a time. Pick one of these tips and apply it for a week. If it works, move on to implementing the next tip! Within a month, you’ll have more understanding and it will be like second nature to you! Just remember, one small change every week can build up to make a large impact on your life!

This material provides a general overview of the topic. Health information is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a therapist, physician or other health care professional. Contact a health care professional with any questions or concerns about specific health care needs.