Hunger strikes. You swing open the fridge door. How are things looking in there? Sparkly and clean, or more like where healthy eating goals go to die? If your shelves are a graveyard of condiments with a tangle of takeout containers, there’s a reason why making good choices has become a struggle. Too often, fruits and veggies are buried in a bottom drawer, while cheese, salami, and sugary sodas get to sit front and center. So what are you going to grab first?
If your goal is to lose weight, set yourself up for success, and start by completely clearing out and organizing your fridge. Here are seven smart tips that put healthy eating within reach.
Wash & chop fruit. As soon as you get home from the grocery store, rinse bite-size blueberries, strawberries, red grapes, and cherries, pat dry with paper towels, and arrange them in bowls. Cut up whole fruit, like melon and pineapple, and place it in lidded containers. Stack fruit at the front of the fridge, where the color will catch your eye when you’re craving something sweet.
Scrub & bag veggies. Clean and trim vegetables and drop them in easy-to-grab bags. Then find a good spot for them, prime for packed lunches and pre-dinner snacks. One favorite fitness trainer takes a few minutes to prep veggie bags for his entire week, mixing it up with baby carrots, sugar snaps, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes.
Love low-fat dairy. Nothing against your cheese drawer—a nibble of cheese is healthy, in moderation! But nutritionists say plain, unsweetened, superfood Greek yogurt deserves top-shelf treatment. Go for low-fat milk instead of cream, and part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks are a smarter snack than regular cheddar.
Pump up the lean protein. Say goodbye to any processed meat, like bacon, sausages, and salami, and replace it with lean protein, like chicken, salmon, tofu, and eggs. Extra points if you grill and slice your chicken at the beginning of the week, so it’s ready to pile on salads.
Pre-cook whole grains. At the end of a long day, waiting for brown rice to cook can feel like eternity. But you can totally make it ahead. It holds up beautifully in the fridge, in a small pot, rice cooker insert, or another container with a tightly fitted lid. Just add a splash of water before you microwave, to help it steam up again. Cook a pot of brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite whole grain on Sunday. Then use it as the base for nourishing grain bowls all week.
Freshen up your condiments. If your fridge door is crammed with sticky bottles and jars, it’s time to get real about expiration dates. Chuck the mayo, ranch, and ketchup, the worst offenders for unhealthy fats and sneaky sugar and sodium. Then replace them with fresh and flavorful salsa, hummus, and pesto.
Get your sparkle from water. Most Americans consume way too much sugar, and nearly half of that comes from sugary drinks. Stop buying soda, juice, and even diet drinks. Nothing’s better than water! But you can still give it a twist. Stock a few different flavors of sparkling water, or try infusing with fresh fruit and herbs.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.