Every now and then a little clean sweep is necessary, and that includes your refrigerator. We hate to hear it, but it’s one of those things that’s going to save you time, money and your life (in some sense).

photo credit to Pinterest

Set your health up for success, by setting up your fridge.

Of course we want to sustain cleanliness when it comes to our fridge and our food, but understanding where to place things and how to store things in your fridge is just as important.

Here are the steps I take as an RD to best utilize my fridge.

1. Empty her out and clean away

As you remove things from your refrigerator, begin to place items in different sections on your counter: condiments, dairy, produce, leftovers, etc. This will help you once you get to the point of organization. During this time, ditch any leftovers or produce that have already gone bad as well as any expired packaged food products. Goodbye, Felicia. 👋 Start to wipe down all areas of the fridge, even the bottom of items, with whichever cleaning products your prefer. Now ain’t she prettty ?!

2. Storing strategy next

We want to find the right home for our food items in the refrigerator to avoid wasting money and to enjoy them as long as we can! Some tips and tricks for proper storage:

  • Decide where some of your groups will go – for instance, I place my mason jars with nuts and seeds as well as dairy products up on the top shelf and my hummus on a lower self. Think what will work best for you and your family.
  • Store more hardy produce in the “crisp drawers” – while this helps maintain freshness for these produce, they can naturally last much longer where they can be kept out of eye level and not be eaten right away.
  • Place perishable produce at eye level, so you don’t forget about them and can enjoy before losing nutritional value – wait to wash until you are ready to eat them.
  • I like to say ‘tent your herbs’ – more delicate herbs should be washed, dried well, trimmed and placed in a glass or mason jar with some water. Place a ziplock over top to create a small greenhouse for your herbs. Hardier herbs can be washed as well and wrapped in a paper towel.
  • Greens should be closer to eye level and wrapped in a paper towel – whether transferred into a gallon bag or kept in the container, place a paper towel on the bottom to absorb extra moisture and prevent wilting.
  • All leftovers whether homemade or take-out should be stored in clear containers, preferably glass – think of how many times we forget about leftovers because they get pushed in the back and we can never see what’s inside those to-go containers. This helps reduce food waste and let’s you enjoy that meal one more time.
  • Lastly and possibly most important, keep all raw meats and fish on the bottom self – we must avoid any cross contamination with the rest of our food items.

3. Preparation is key

Help yourself out and take that extra, valuable time to prepare healthful, nutritious items for an easy grab. Cut up your fruits and veggies right after grocery shopping; cook some hard boiled eggs, roasted vegetables, grilled proteins, or high fiber grains; prep overnight oats, chia pudding, protein bites; pre-portion hummus or trail mix – you see what I’m getting at. Imagine how much easier and less stressful it can be on yourself if we have these items prepared ahead of time for when you need it. These prepared food items, snacks and meals should also be kept and eye level, so you know what’s available for you to nourish your body.

Prioritize yourself and get that fridge set up so you can eat more consciously and nourishing, reduce food waste, save money, cook more, and eat out less. These simple tips and tasks can have all of the difference on your choices for the day. Once you do this once, you’ll know exactly what set up works best for you and your needs! Give it a go and enjoy the process. ✨

Stay well. Xo

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