I just noticed Dr. Oz had a special article in this month’s O Magazine about this very topic. I wanted to create my own version of what a healthy fridge should consist of using my own fridge as an example. In this article I’ll help you determine what to keep, clean up or clear out of your fridge. What are the best and then the not-so-good ingredients lurking in your Frigidaire?
So here’s how to keep your fridge COOL and not scary. Let’s review what you should keep. Consider the following as your healthy refrigerator basics:
1) Nuts & Seeds: They are a must in every healthy fridge and diet. Store them in the cool fridge to maintain optimum freshness and preserve the delicate natural fats inherent in these nutritious morsels. This list includes almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and pine nuts.
2) Vegetables: Load you fridge with the freshest veggies available. Keep the crisper brimming with crunchy delights from the garden. In my fridge I have a pull out drawer filled with Romaine lettuce (the 3 bunch bag), lemons, limes, onions (1/2 portion), green onions and cucumbers. In my larger pullout I have all the rest – kale, chard, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, red cabbage, turnips, etc.
3) Fruit: As I’ve shared before I have another fridge in my garage where the overflow goes – it’s filled with grapefruit, oranges and apples and extra cauliflower, or sometimes I purchase a huge bag of baby spinach and put it right in there as well.
4) Probiotics: Although not a food item most probiotics require refrigeration to preserve their potency. More companies are starting to manufacture non-refrigerated versions giving you more flexibility for traveling.
5) Dairy: Best to keep butter and cheese in special sections in your fridge especially your cheeses. Butter like eggs has a much longer shelf life than cheese. When you need a quick protein food choose low fat cheeses. Don’t be afraid to use butter – just use it sparingly.
6) Eggs: It’s a must to keep eggs cool in order to maintain quality. Eggs have an excellent shelf life and are always good to have handy for a quick protein meal or for a special recipe.
7) Coconut Milk and Coconut Butter: Here also you want to keep coconut products cool in order to maintain freshness. Coconut has gained a well-deserved reputation as being a healthy dairy alternative.
Here’s what to dump:
1) Leftovers: If they are more than 3 days old, best to discard. The longer you save prepared/cooked foods the more degradation and loss of nutrient value. So avoid cooking too much at one time. This does take practice but it’s best to eat your food as fresh as possible.
2) Salad Dressing: Most dressings in the marketplace are heavily sweetened or have less than pure ingredients in them. Best to stick to olive oil and either apple cider vinegar or balsamic as a suitable and healthier salad dressing option. There are also several vinegar and oil gourmet shops starting to crop up everywhere. They offer some great varieties like Blackberry or Persian Lime Vinegars. Or how about Hazelnut Oil anyone?
3) Mayo: Unless its non-hydrogenated best to avoid. Hydrogenation is a processing method that damages fragile oils deeming them toxic when consumed. Best to either make your own version of mayonnaise or try using plain yogurt instead. It may taste a little more sour but it’s better for you.
4) Sauces: Avoid most prepared sauces. They are usually loaded with artificial ingredients and add unnecessary calories to your meals. Think of using fresh herbs like dill, mint, basil or rosemary instead. Or use warming spices like curry, cumin or cayenne. Or cooling spices like oregano or Herbs du Provence, for example.
5) Ketchup: This condiment is nothing more than sugar and artificial ingredients. You can’t really even claim any redeeming vegetable/fruit contribution of the tomato because it’s just tomato flavoring nothing more. Try instead using chili powder or sriracha sauce instead but beware these two have more punch than ketchup.
Chill out and keep your Fridge Healthy.