Are you tired of opening your fridge doors and just feeling exasperated, confused and mildly disgusted? Have you ever thought about completely revamping what’s in your fridge–I mean a serious over-haul?
Call it a fridge-lift, a refriger-vention, or how about a fridge-tox…
Yup, I like that one!
If you’re getting serious about starting a healthier lifestyle, I promise you, your fridge is the best place to start!
Just like a clean desk increases your productivity at work, a clean fridge will help you be more productive at adopting your healthy lifestyle.
You’ve heard of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by now, right? Well, when I really started being purposeful and deliberate about how I set up my fridge I found that I stayed on-plan, wasted less food (cause I could actually see what I had), and felt more in-control!
Yeah, it’s worth your time to do this, trust me.
What you have in your fridge today says a whole lot about your lifestyle and who you are. Just take a look at this famous photolog documenting random people’s fridges from around the US.
Take a moment and think: What does your fridge say about you? Is your fridge set up to serve your health and life goals?
Now, let’s reorg your fridge to maximize your results!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- how to have a fridge-tox
- the 10 key items you need in your fridge now for better health
- how I share my fridge with my non-nutritarian family
Here’s what you get:
- free printable for your fridge door
- master fridge shopping list
All right, I’m pumped! How about you?
Let’s do it! Let’s set up your fridge for clean-eating success on the Eat to Live plan, or any healthy lifestyle you’re aiming for this year!
Get Your Weekly Fridge-spiration Fix
If the thought of cleaning and reorganizing your fridge sounds like the absolute-last-thing-you’d-ever-want-to-do this week, month or even year, then you might be needing some fridge-spiration!
Last year I started a project where I share what’s in my fridge weekly. Here’s an easy fridge-spiration-fix follow me on Instagram @hellonutritarian and check out #52fridges and get the inspiration you need to turn your fridge into the clean-eating-machine you always dreamed it could be!
Because this is a non-negotiable, you’re doing this!
STEP 1: DETOX YOUR FRIDGE
You know that famous commercial line: “What’s in your wallet?”
Well, just imagine Samuel L. Jackson heading over to your fridge right now and documenting (to the television audience at home) what he found: “Hot-damn, woman! This buffalo sauce expired in 2013!”
The point is, if you’re neglecting your fridge (which, let’s face it, is easy to do cause cleaning a fridge is a betch!), you’re neglecting your health. And, that is no longer acceptable!
I won’t let you do it!
Grab some cleaning spray and put on your favorite tunes and get to cleaning! It’s essential that you empty it out, clean it down, and purge the junk.
- When evaluating whether to keep an item or ditch it, ask yourself: Will this improve my overall health? If the answer is “no” or you’re not sure–ditch it!
- Go through all those condiments and pickle jars–that’s where I find most of my expired stuff.
- Now is the time to make sure crisper drawer settings and temps are where they should be.
How Often Should You Clean the Fridge?
Aim to do a deep fridge detox twice a year, with a decent cleaning every quarter. I do weekly food prepping so every week I do a good fridge wipe-down. Wiping up spills, crumbs and splatters.
My number one fridge-cleaning finding is: How, oh, how do hairs get in the fridge? Super-gross!
STEP 2: GET YOUR FREE EAT TO LIVE PRINTABLES
So, this is a nutritarian blog, and I follow Dr. Fuhrman’s Aggressive Weight Loss protocol. But you can use these printables no matter what food religion you follow!
They say it’s only what’s on the inside that counts–and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean you should miss a little brain-washing opportunity on the front of your fridge!
I find that surrounding myself with positive messages about my commitment to healthful eating helps me stay on track. I mean we’re inundated with fast food commercials, restaurant billboards and food porn daily–so it’s time to fight back.
I Heart Big Salads:
Download it here: I HEART BIG SALADS
Dr. Fuhrman’s first, and most important, guideline is to eat a large salad every day as your main dish. That’s right, forget the notion of the side salad and make your next salad utterly ginormous!
Pile it up with as many fresh raw veggies as you can handle and make sure to use a healthful salad dressing (don’t worry I’ll be showing you plenty of those below).
If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for my email list and get The 7 Day Salad Cleanse ebook as your free gift!
*You’ll find the Eat to Live shopping list at the bottom of this page–there has to be some incentive for you to read to the end of the post, right?
Okay, so your fridge is about to be insanely-sparkly clean and it’s going to be rooting you on from the outside too!
Now, what in the heck are you going to put in it…
STEP 3: STOCK UP THESE 10 HEALTHY FRIDGE MUST-HAVES
My fridge might not always look this organized, but I can promise you, I always have these 10 items on hand (or I’m on my way out to the store to get them)!
1 – Vegetable Broth
I almost always have an opened veggie stock in the fridge. On Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan you don’t cook with oil. Instead, you do your sauteing with low-sodium vegetable stock.
I know! It seems extreme, but it’s really easy to do and you’d be surprised how little you actually miss the oil!
Don’t believe me? Try out one of my favorite oil-free recipes: Un-Fried Rice–we eat this at least once a week!
2 – Coconut Water
This is my go-to, green-smoothie-making liquid (you can find my favorite green smoothie recipe here). If you are going to use coconut water for your smoothies, just remember, check the labels to make sure it does not have added sugar!
I don’t drink coconut water by itself, only in smoothies.
I like that it adds extra magnesium and potassium and little extra depth of flavor. Corresponding to this stash of coconut water is a stash of frozen pineapple and mango (we get in bulk from Costco) in the freezer for smoothie making.
3 – Non-Dairy Milk
My favorite non-dairy milk of choice is Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. I also use TJ’s unsweetened, non-vanilla for savory recipes.
Recently I started making my own almond milk in the Vitamix–and it’s sooo much yummier (there will be a post and recipe on this soon).
So, why switch to non-dairy milks?
The reason is milk (and other dairy products and animal products) elevate the levels of IGF-1 in our bodies.
IGF-1 is an insulin-like growth factor that is one of the body’s most important growth promoters during our infancy and childhood because it accelerates the aging process. Now, that we are adults “accelerating the aging process” ain’t so good!
Elevated IGF-1promotes the growth, proliferation and spread of cancer cells later in life. Make sure to read this article for more information.
There are so many delicious, non-dairy milks to chose from like soy, coconut, hemp, cashew, and almond. This is an easy area of your life you can change and reap immediate cancer-prevention benefits.
4 – Citrus Juice
I always juice a bag of lemons or limes to use in recipes throughout the week.
Since you don’t cook with oil on Dr. Fuhrman’s plan, citrus juice is perfect for roasting veggies, creating dressings and sauces and I also have a mug of hot lemon-water in the mornings to help wake up my lymphatic system.
5 – Organic Salad Greens
If there’s only one healthy eating habit you’re willing to adopt it needs to be to eat a large salad everyday!
I try to eat a salad as my main course for lunch and dinner. You will be amazed at how good you will feel if you start adopting this into your lifestyle. Now I actually crave salads!
My hubby usually has a salad with me at dinner, so we go through a lot of greens! Try to buy organic, if you can, to reduce exposure to pesticides.
6 – Fresh Fruits
Not only do I have two kiddos who are bonafide fruit-a-holics but I, personally, have fruit with every meal.
I like to put clementine oranges, pomegranate seeds and sliced strawberries in salads. I like to have grapes or an apple after lunch.
Dr. Fuhrman advises to eat at least 3 whole fruits a day because of all of their body-beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Fruit also satisfies our sweet-tooth and is literally the perfect dessert–cause fruits are the very sweets our bodies were designed to eat!
Try to have your fruits ready-to-go and visible in the fridge. Wash and cut strawberries, melons, pineapple, etc… We like to have chilled apples and oranges in the warmer months.
7 – Tofu
This is one of my major protein sources (along with beans, seeds and nuts) and I always have it on hand!
I know there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about soy products being safe. I highly recommend you review these articles:
Tofu has tons of plant-based protein, calcium and iron–so make sure to give it a try!
Be sure to check out two of my most popular tofu recipes on the blog:
8 – Mushrooms
I try to always have fresh mushrooms on hand in the fridge. The kiddos have started eating them on their pizzas and in spaghetti–so it’s something we all enjoy now.
Mushrooms are a healthy fridge must-have because they are a dietary superfood!
They induce weight-loss and reduce blood sugar, they have these things called angiogenesis-inhibitors that actually attack fat and cancer cells, they enhance immune function and promote healthy gut bacteria! You can read a ton more about how freaking-amazing mushrooms are here.
Bottom line is you need mushrooms in your life and in your fridge! Sauté them in veggie broth, sprinkle with no-salt seasoning and keep them in the fridge to put on salads!
9 – Fresh Veggies For Days
The fact is the more fresh and cooked veggies you eat the healthier you are–that is an irrefutable fact!
I try to have ready-to-go veggies at all times. Taking an hour to cut up veggies for the week can really save you time when you’re making your 1 to 2 daily salads on Dr. Fuhrman’s plan!
I always have baby carrots in the fridge. The kids eat them and I like to shred them and add them in salads and I cook with them in soups and stews. The less time I have to take peeling carrots the better!
My favorite veggies to prep ahead of time are:
- chopped eggplant (to quickly roast or saute)
- red bell peppers
- red cabbage
- sugar snap peas
10 – Weekly Preps
If you haven’t read that article already, now’s the perfect time!
The point is you need to have ready-to-go meals in your fridge. You decide the time commitment you can handle and start making at least some of your food ahead of time.
At a bare-minimum you want to focus on these three areas:
- no-oil, no (or low)-added-salt condiments
- soup for the week
- ready-to-go whole grains
The Right Condiments
Condiments can sneakily add extra calories, salt, sugar and fat to your diet. Read your condiment labels and purge accordingly! Anything with too much salt, fat or sugar needs to go!
I like to keep apple cider, balsamic and rice wine vinegar on hand when I just want to use them as a simple dressing on their own.
Ditch processed, store-bought salad dressings and make your own oil-free versions instead. You can use orange juice, lemon juice, liquid aminos (a lower-sodium soy sauce substitute), Dijon mustard and tahini to make your own dressings.
Use juice as a condiment rather than a stand-alone drink (Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating whole fruit instead of fruit juice so you get that beneficial fiber instead of only the sugars).
Favorite Salad Dressings:
- No-Oil Extra-Creamy Hummus (with Balsamic vinegar drizzled on top)
- No-Oil Walnut Vinaigrette
- No-Oil Beet Hummus Dressing
- No-Oil Carrot Ginger Dressing
- No-Oil Tofu Ranch Dressing
Select a Soup
Taking the time to make a soup for the week is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself on track!
Dr. Fuhrman has called this the “soup and salad” diet and that’s really how simple it can be! Make a double-batch to store in the fridge and eat throughout the week!
Choose one of these favorites:
- Sweet Potato Split Pea Soup
- Golden Cauliflower Cream Soup
- Pho Noodle Soup
- Roasted Asparagus & Pea Soup
Batch-Prep Your Whole Grains
I like to make a batch of brown rice and some bean pasta to use throughout the week.
Since you get up to 1 cup of whole grains daily, it’s easier to measure that serving out when they are already cooked and add them to your soup, salad or other dish.
I’m not the only one who eats from this fridge!
Just in case you were wondering! And no, we do not have 2 fridges–we make blended-dietary living work for us!
My family is not nutritarian like I am.
I keep most of my hubby’s and kiddos’ foods in the deli drawer, the insides of the fridge doors, and the freezer.
My hubby will eat nutritarian meals with me, but he has chicken or fish daily and more processed vegan “meats.” He also loves store-bought sauces like Tobasco, BBQ and ketchup.
My kiddos are not nutritarians (yet–bwah ha ha!), but we have recently cut out dairy for them. They enjoy almond and soy-based cheeses and still eat poultry, beef, pork as you see here.
We all enjoy the fresh fruit, veggies and whole grains you see in my pics.
How to Share Your Fridge With Non-Nutritarians
Yes, I take up about 75% of the fridge real estate but I’m usually the one who is cooking and therefore using the fridge the most–I have organized the fridge to promote MY healthy eating prerogative!
The main point I wanted to make here is: arrange your fridge to maximize your healthful eating success!
Health is a priority that should be reflected in your fridge. And guess what? By default, the other people in your home are going to be eating healthier too because it will be readily available!
I’m giving you complete permission to have designated areas in your fridge that are yours. Consider them your safe zones.
Famous French gastronome Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
I’ll add to that, show me your fridge and I’ll tell you who you are.
This is just simple common sense, but when you really stop and think about it: what we choose to put in our fridge will ultimately make up our bodies.
I want you to aim to have a mindful and purposeful fridge and I hope I shared some highly-doable ways to let your fridge be a tool for your healthy-eating success!
Make sure you download this Eat to Live Fridge Shopping List so you can get started creating the fridge of your dreams!
Download it here: Eat to Live Fridge Shopping List
I really hope that you enjoyed this fridge guide!
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
And if you end up implementing some of these fridge tips in your own life, I’d love to see them in action–make sure to tag me @HelloNutritarian so I can check them out and cheer you on!