Stocking a Healthy Fridge
How to keep it organized:
- Keep Healthy Foods at Eye Level – you are more likely to eat the food you see first. By keeping the healthiest options at eye level in your fridge, you are going to more than likely eat those foods before searching for something else that may be an unhealthy.
- Don’t Clutter Your Fridge – Cluttering your fridge can cause you to lose track of all the options you have available. Too many available options can sometimes lead you to feel overwhelmed and end up choosing something else. This can also lead to foods spoiling before you can get to them.
- Make a list – Before you head to the grocery store to stock your fridge make a list of items that you NEED that way you aren’t just buying different foods and have a surplus that will end up going bad.
- Make a plan –Plan out your meals that you are going to cook for the week that way you are using the foods that you need to at the right time and nothing goes to waste.
Foods to keep stocked in your fridge:
Put produce in its place. That generally means either out of the fridge entirely (tomatoes and tropical fruits) or in one of the bottom bins, where the humidity is controlled. When vegetables lose moisture, they get limp and may lose vitamins. Spinach can lose as much as 50 percent of its vitamin C if left out overnight.
Chopped Veggies – Keep fresh, diced vegetables in a see-through container on the center shelf of your refrigerator. This way, they’re readily available when you want a snack or prepped for your meal you are about to make.
Clean and trim vegetables and drop them in easy-to-grab bags. Try keeping sliced cucumbers, carrots, chopped bell pepper, cauliflower florets, and celery on hand for snacks.
Low Glycemic Fruits – As with veggies, keeping fruit on hand will increase the likelihood of having a healthy snack instead of reaching for something else but you want to choose the right types of fruits. Reach for those that are on the low GI scale like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Salad – Salad is great for a quick and easy meal. Keep the required ingredients chopped and washed and ready to go or look for those bagged salads that are organic versions with no added ingredients ( craisins, candied nuts, and cheeses). If you want to add toppings to your salads you can add them later on.
Consider bags of baby spinach and other salad greens a shopping-list staple. For longest shelf life, buy prewashed greens in single-variety bags (the fragile leaves in salad mixes spoil first and can ruin the whole package). Combine them with more economical lettuce, such as iceberg, if you want to.
Saurkraut- I love to keep this on hand to give me a little extra flavor to my foods including on top of salads, sandwiches, and even as a side with my dinner.
Pickles- Homemade pickles are a great way to get a gut healthy snack in during the day or add to a sandwich.
Kefir- This is a good mix between yogurt and milk consistency. A great ingredient to add to smoothies or just drink in between meals as a snack.
Coconut Yogurt- I love to have this as a snack with all of its probiotic contents to give me a great gut friendly boost.
I love: GT’s Cocoyo Yogurt
Meats/Nuts & Seeds:
Meats – Meats are a great snack to keep in the fridge. Keeping pre cooked meats in the fridge are a great high protein snack option to grab on the go. I like to use my crockpot and cook meat in bulk to have on hand for the week when I get a small lunch break to go home and grab a quick bite to eat.
I like to get a variety of meats throughout the week including some fish options, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, and bison.
Store your uncooked meats on the bottom shelf for safe keeping away from prepared foods to keep from cross contamination.
Natural peanut or nut/seed butter – Instead of selecting store-bought peanut or nut butters, choosing natural variations will be better for you. Raw nuts and seeds are also good options.
I love: Georgia Grinders Almond Butter
Flax and Chia Seeds- I love to use these in multiple things. I love to top my salads, yogurt, and even cottage cheese with them. These will last longer if kept in the refrigerator. When choosing flaxseed you want to get the flaxseed meal, or milled flaxseed that way our body can absorb the correct nutrients.
Hemp Seeds- These guys are an easy way to boost your protein and healthy fats.
I love: Spectrum Organic Ground Flaxseed
Dairy and Staples
Keep tubs on hand, plus bags of baby carrots. The combo is a low-fat, high-protein snack alternative to other chips and dip combos. When looking for a hummus look for those with simple ingredients.
I love : Hope Hummus
Look for those that are the least processed and if you are looking to lower your fat intake you want to look for those that are part skim or lower in fat. I love alternative cheeses as well that are made with nuts like almond cheese, cashew cheese, or coconut cheese.
I love: Miyokos Cheese
Keep eggs in their carton on a lower shelf to guard against the loss of carbon dioxide and moisture. The shells may look impermeable, but they are covered with tiny holes that can absorb odors and flavors. You want to look for your eggs to be all the things and what I mean by that is : organic, pasture raised, cage free, free range. A lot of these statements can mean one thing but not the other, The two I would definitely look for would be pasture raised and organic.
Consider making hard-boiled eggs ahead of time and keeping them available in your fridge. They can be used easily on salads, in sandwiches or as a snack with fruit or rolled up meat.
Butter and Ghee
Use real butter where it counts, but sparingly. Keep sticks in a covered dish. When you are choosing butter look for pasture raised and grass fed. Another great alternative that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is ghee.
The butter I love: Kerrygold Butter
The ghee I love: Fourth and Heart Ghee
Buy it in resealable cartons. Use it to cook rice, grains, in your crock pot, or saute vegetables for rich flavor without butter or oil. (Add broth to a warm skillet with the vegetables; cover and cook until tender.) Look for organic broth without additives.
I love: Kettle and Fire Bone Broth
Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, and Cream Cheese
As with milk, go for low-fat instead of nonfat to enjoy more flavor. You can bake with it or drain it through a coffee filter for yogurt “cheese.” Choose those that are organic, minimally processed, and have probiotics.
Milk Alternatives – Alternatives to milk are better for you than animal milk. Coconut milk and almond milk are great selections. If you like creamer in your coffee there are some creamers made with almonds and coconuts as well that I have listed below.
I love: Elmhurst Almond Milk
Oils, Condiments,Water, and Drinks:
Your healthiest bottled-dressing options are vinaigrettes made with minimal ingredients and those that you can pronounce. Look for dressings using oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs. Tossing a salad with dressing before serving it is the key to using less.
Go for those made with avocado. When you choose this type you are reaping the benefits from avocado and still enjoying the same flavor and taste of mayo.
I love: Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo
I like to keep other condiments on hand for marinading m meats and topping sandwiches or meals. A staple in my kitchen is BBQ, marinades, and coconut aminos.
I love: The New Primal Marinades
Filtered Water – Keep a water jug front and center in your fridge. Your aim is to have only water and milk alternatives as beverages in your fridge.
Protein Drinks- I love to keep some on the go protein drinks as an option as well for a midday snack or a post workout fuel.
I love: Iconic Grass Fed Protein Drinks
Flavored Water: I like to spice up my water sometimes with a few of my favorites like collagen water, coconut water, and sparking flavored water.
I love: Vital Proteins Collagen Water
Packaged meals come in sensible portions―but with sky-high sodium content. (The bulk of the sodium in the U.S. diet comes from prepared foods, not from what we use in cooking or sprinkle on at the table.) With homemade frozen foods, wrap tightly, label, and date. Meals stored in the freezer should be used within three months
Cauliflower rice is a great option to keep frozen when you need a quick meal in a pinch or you want to make your smoothie creamy. I like to stock up on trader joes frozen riced cauliflower to have for a quick dinner or to make my smoothie have less sugar but still a good creamy consistency.
Steamed Frozen Veggies:
Blanching, or cooking vegetables in boiling water or steam for a set period of time, inhibits the action of enzymes that cause vegetables to develop off-flavors and lose color and nutrients when stored in the freezer for a longer period of time. This process also helps remove dirt and organisms on fresh produce. Blanching time is crucial because underblanching stimulates the action of enzymes, while overblanching causes vegetables to lose color, flavor and nutrients.
Blanching is recommended for almost all vegetables, but there are also some vegetables that will stay good in the freezer even without blanching. Vegetables that do not need to be blanched before freezing include sweet and hot peppers, ginger root, onions, turmeric root, and raw tomatoes. Also many fresh herbs, such as chives and dill, can be frozen successfully without blanching.