Stocking Your Fridge & Tips for a Maintained Fridge.

One of the hardest things to learn as an adult should be simple: Eating Properly.  Not eating out is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.  You save money, you save time and the truth is that you save your body.

That being said, eating out gets way too easy and becomes way too convenient when you don’t have your fridge properly stocked.  Once you learn how to stock your fridge right, everything becomes a bit easier but when it’s not, running to fast food row turns into the easiest option.   Avoid that by keeping these items in your fridge at all times for easy, healthy go to foods:

Dairy and Staples

Hummus: An easy, low-fat snack will cut cravings.  Munch on with baby carrots or pieces of raw cauliflower

Cheese: Replace mellow, soft cheeses with sharp, harder ones. A small amount packs lots of flavor, saving you both dollars and fat grams.

Eggs: Keep eggs in their carton on a lower shelf to guard against the loss of carbon dioxide and moisture.

Butter: Use real butter where it counts, but sparingly. Keep sticks in a covered dish. (Freeze sticks you’re not using.)

Chicken/ Veggie broth: Buy it in resealable cartons. Use it to cook rice, mash potatoes, or saute vegetables for rich flavor without butter or oil.

Yogurt: As with milk, go for low-fat instead of nonfat to enjoy more flavor.

Milk/ Milk Alternative:  Buy milk in opaque containers to protect it from light, which can reduce the vitamin content.

Orange juice: Select juice that is calcium fortified. There’s barely any difference in taste, and drinking one glass will give you a third of your recommended daily allowance of calcium.

Oils, Water, Produce

Salad dressings:  Your healthiest bottled-dressing options are vinaigrettes made with olive oil. Toss in Salad to use less.

Drinks: Keep filtered water or seltzer in the refrigerator and you’ll always have a cold, refreshing, healthy drink on hand. (Soda consumption in the United States surpassed milk consumption in 1994 and is still shooting upward.)

Leftovers: Spoon leftovers―even the take-out kind―into glass or plastic containers that are microwave-safe. Some take-out trays and yogurt tubs are made from a kind of plastic that can leach chemicals into food at high temperatures. Avoid reheating in plastic containers that aren’t designated microwave-safe.

Bagged lettuces and vegetables: 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, as needed.

Produce: 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 (Yeah that’s what those drawers are for). 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.

Oils: Olive, canola, and sesame oil are your healthiest options. If you have all three, you’ll be ready for just about any kind of cooking. All are best kept in the refrigerator because they oxidize when exposed to heat and light.

The Freezer

Prepared foods: Packaged meals come in sensible portions―but with sky-high sodium content.  With homemade frozen foods, wrap tightly, label, and date. Meals stored in the freezer should be used within three months.

Whole grains: Brown rice, whole-wheat flour, and oatmeal are the best grains to stock, but they should be kept cold. Unlike refined grains (the white ones), whole grains contain the outer bran as well as the inner seed, or germ. The germ contains some fat. And, like cooking oils, that fat can oxidize at room temperature.

Sweet snacks: When frozen, marshmallows get caramel-chewy and grapes end up tasting like cold gumdrops. Either will give you satisfaction without giving you fat.

Bananas: When bananas are too speckled to pack in lunch bags, throw them into the freezer unpeeled. The skins will blacken, but the fruit will stay sweet and ripe inside. Blend one with orange juice, berries, and yogurt (no need for ice) for a breakfast smoothie.

Nuts: Freeze an assortment―peanuts, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts―all of which are loaded with antioxidants. Don’t worry about the fat. Nuts are mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (the good kind). Like oils, nuts need to be kept cold and out of the light to remain fresh.

Ice cream: A University of Pennsylvania study found that the larger the container, the more careless we are about indulging. Buy ice cream in four-ounce individual servings or pints. Never eat out of a container.

Soybeans: Here is the healthy, high-protein snack that will break you of the potato-chips-before-dinner habit. Edamame (soybeans in their pods) are the best-tasting tofu alternative. Drop them frozen into boiling water for a few minutes, drain, and salt. Serve warm or chilled (with a separate bowl to collect the discarded pods).

Fridge Tips:

  • Make sure that your refrigerator is set at the right temperature.  37-40 Degrees.
  • If the power goes out make sure you keep the doors closed.  It will stay cool for 48 hours if full and 24 hours if not full.
  • Keep it full.  Refrigerators need “Thermal Mass” (Aka Lots of stuff in them) to keep temperature.
  • Check Your Seals.  Make sure your clean your seals twice a year with a toothbrush and a mixture of baking soda and water.

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