Sometimes, organization of the fridge is the last thing on our minds. It’s where we store food that needs to stay cool, and that’s that. But when we let the organization of this go, we can end up making bad choices. We push the good food to the back, and bring the bad food to the front – and center – causing us to reach for that first. When I decided to start eating clean, the first thing that had to change was my mindset. The second thing? The fridge. Not just the food that was in it, but the way it was organized. Over the past seven months, this is how I have come to organize my fridge…
The first thing that goes into this organization all goes back to meal prepping. Sit down before you go grocery shopping and make a list of every meal you will eat that week. To keep your list simple, try to eat the same vegetable for two or three dinners. Also, incorporate the same fruits and vegetables for breakfast, lunches, and snacks. These tricks don’t only keep it simple, but inexpensive and time-saving as well. Planning is always the key to success in the kitchen!
Now we get to the grocery store. When I go grocery shopping, 90% of my entire trip is spent in the produce, dairy, and meat departments. I always start in produce, and my list for this department always consists of avocados, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, and asparagus. Next, the meat and fish department get my attention. I normally buy what I have coupons for, which ends up being chicken, sausage, pork, and sometimes steak. As for fish, there is always tilapia and salmon in the freezer, because these can make for quick and easy weeknight meals. After this, I move onto dairy, where I pick up shredded cheese when needed, hummus, LOTS of eggs (about 3 dozen), and two gallons of almond milk. Then come the aisles, where I pick up cans of beans and canned tomatoes (which are always good pantry staples), along with almonds and cashews for snacks during the week. When needed, healthy fats such as olive oil and coconut oil are also on the list to get from the shelves. Now head to the checkout counter so we can go home and organize the fridge!!
Starting on the top shelf, I keep my milk, hard boiled eggs, and homemade guacamole and salsa. These are items that don’t have to be in crisper drawers, and are used every morning in the house. On the second shelf, we have uncooked eggs, the egg muffins for on the go breakfasts (we really like eggs if you couldn’t tell), left overs from the night before, and chicken for dinner that night – all other meat goes in the freezer after shopping and is pulled out when needed. Moving onto the third shelf, there are meals prepped for the week (chicken, broccoli, and hummus), and cut up strawberries for snacks for the week. Easy to grab and go every morning on the way out the door – thank you meal prep! Under this is where cheese, hummus, bacon, and breakfast sausage are kept. Under this drawer are two drawers that consist only of vegetables. One of these drawers has pre-portioned baggies of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers for snacking. There are also other vegetables in this drawer, such as onions, spinach, and jalapenos. The final drawer consists of the dinner vegetables like the asparagus, broccoli, squash, and broccoli.
Having my fridge set up this way helps me have all of the meals that leave the house daily (egg muffins, strawberries, and lunches) in plain view. I don’t have to think about grabbing something else tempting to take to work, as these meals are all portioned out ready to go. Having the prepared tomatoes and cucumbers prevents over-snacking, and also makes it easier to chose that as a snack. I don’t open the pantry and allow my eyes to wonder because I know there is something ready to be eaten waiting in the fridge. Making healthy options not only available, but in your line of view makes your choices much easier. Having all of the food in your fridge organized will help lead to better food choices, leading you closer to your goals!