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How to Organize Your Fridge for Healthier Eating Habits

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
3
June 15, 2022

If you’ve ever opened your refrigerator, felt overwhelmed, and ordered takeout instead, you’re not alone. Organizing your refrigerator can not only save you money but also help your waistline. It will also make your grocery shopping trips that much simpler, when you can see all items at-a-glance.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I don’t believe any food is “bad,” but if there are certain foods you want to stop indulging in (or just slow yourself down), an opaque container can go a long way to making sure you are eating mindfully. If you want that slice of cheesecake, I want you to really want it. I want you to sit down and enjoy every last morsel. Don’t just grab it because you see it and it’s there and easier to grab than carrots.

Half Your Plate, Half Your Fridge

Fruits and vegetables are supposed to be at least half of what’s on our plates and in our stomach, but the fruits and vegetables crisper drawers in a refrigerator are maybe 20% of the fridge - it doesn’t make sense!

Don’t limit yourself to just the crisper drawers. Use clear bins and shelves to store fruits and vegetables throughout the fridge.  

Keep the Healthful Stuff Ready to Go, and at Eye-Level

Immediately prepare your fruits and vegetables snacks when you get home from the grocery store, if possible. Wash them, chop them, and store them in clear glass food storage containers at eye level. Just like with the clear bins, having these fresh fruits and vegetables ready to go and visible makes them the easy choice - and with all of our busy lives, the easy choice so often wins when it comes to what’s on our plates.

Stock Up On Staples

When you clean out your fridge, try to re-stock it with some healthy refrigerator standards: eggs, organic turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, greens, cherry tomatoes, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened and low-sodium condiments (mustard, hot sauce, vinaigrette salad dressing, marinades).

In the freezer, keep more healthy staples on hand: frozen shrimp, salmon, chicken, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooked grains, veggie burgers and organic frozen meals.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

There are many ways to organize your fridge: If you meal prep, organize your refrigerator by mealtime for easiest access.

If you don’t have time to do meal prepping in advance, you can do what’s most popular: categorize by food groups: keep 1/3 of your fridge fruits and vegetables, another 1/3 of the fridge can be protein and healthy carbohydrates, and another 1/3 may be your condiments, fats, and quick-foods or ready-meals.

If You Like it Then You’d Better Put A Label On It

Use a marker to write the food group on each bin, i.e. dairy or protein. It's a clear way to store food and you know what goes where, and help your family to do the same.

Store It So It Lasts

Leftover snacks and other ready-to-eat food should go on the top shelves where there is less risk that they will be leaked on. Likewise, raw meats should be in the lower part of the fridge in case they leak. Place your condiments on the refrigerator's door shelves because they are the most temperature-stable. Eggs and protein like fish should go near the air vent because it is the coldest part of the refrigerator, where foods are least likely to spoil.

Takeaways

It may take a little more effort to keep your fridge organized, but it’s totally worthwhile. The more colorful and organized your fridge is, the more inspired you and your family will be to eat healthy.