Make a Fresh Start: Organizing your Refrigerator
Is your refrigerator a disaster of half eaten leftovers? Do you sometimes reach into the back of your produce bin and find the spinach you bought with good intention has been forgotten and turned to slime? Be honest. Are there two jars of olives and three bottles of ketchup because when you’re at the market you can’t remember what you have on the door of your fridge?
You need a game plan to organize your icebox. A well organized, well stocked refrigerator is a simple tool to help you make healthy, clean decisions. Here are some tips to set you up for success. It will take 20 minutes, so plan your playlist accordingly.
- Empty out the cave.
- Remove everything from your fridge onto your dining room table
- Toss everything expired, old or past its prime
- Give her a wash.
- Starting from the top shelf to the bottom, wipe down all of the shelves with water and a damp cloth. Add baking soda to any spot that is funky, sticky or stained. Let it sit before wiping it off
- Dunk your crisper bins into warm, soapy water and rinse and dry them well
- Double check that the light bulb is working and the temperature is set to 35°F
- Restock for your waistline.
- As you reload your shelves, ask yourself, “Do I want to be eating this?” if the answer is no, don’t put it back in! Everything in your refrigerator should help you meet your wellness goals. You’ll need to do some prep:
- The first thing your peepers should see when you open your refrigerator is a pitcher of water (with lemon or cucumbers if you feel fancy)
- Sliced, ready to eat vegetables and produce should also stand at eye level so you’ll be more inclined to grab them. Here’s how to store your favorite veggies If your produce is looking a little past its prime, see if you can perk it up with a water bath, or toss ‘em in the freezer for a smoothie
- Use your stocked fridge to update your shopping list
- Upper shelves also get your leftovers. It’s a good idea to put all leftovers (yes, even the take out kind) into a glass or ceramic, airtight container, to keep them fresh and prevent spills and leaks
- Keep dairy and highly perishable foods on the shelves and coldest part of your refrigerator where it is coldest, and less fragile foods, like condiments, on the door
- Healthy people eat whole foods.
- Most of your refrigerator should be loaded up with veggies, produce and ingredients, rather than grab and go foods. The exceptions are things like hummus, hardboiled eggs, guacamole, cheese and yogurt, which pair nicely with – you guessed it – veggies!
- Being organized will help you choose whole food ingredients. Label one bin “dairy” and one bin “produce” and don’t put things away any old place, but place them in their correct spot so you can navigate easily and replenish accordingly
- Keep your lean meats, fish and raw poultry on the bottom shelf, sealed tightly to prevent contamination and place in a pyrex baking dish or a rimmed sheet pan. Use bleach to clean up spills and drips
- Use your doors for fun and exciting condiments, like sambal olek, salsa, high quality homemade salad dressing as well as your staple go-to’s of flax meal, almond flour and fish oil.
See that? There’s no room for trigger foods, empty calories or going to the packaged snacks. A clean fridge that is well stocked is key to setting you up for success. Don’t forget to post a pic! We’d love to see your work!