Friday, September 7, 2012

RefrigeRaider: How to Organize a Healthy Fridge

My fridge, I swear it looks better in person
I love a website called Well and Good, their content is smart and they’re onto things in NYC often before we are (and our clients keep us fairly current). They have a feature called Refrigerator Look Book where they look into the fridge of various chefs, fitness instructors or other health professionals. I love this feature as I do feel your fridge says a lot about you (dating ladies, the fridge is the new medicine cabinet) but I have an issue with many of the featured fridges. You see, while I should be focused on what super healthy ingredients are displayed I really want to climb into my laptop screen and organize what I see. I’m a Virgo, what can I say?

As you reboot from summer fun, your refrigerator is a great place to start.
  • Purge, I know it’s strange coming from a nutritionist but you need to be able to see what’s in there. If you haven’t used something this summer, it can go. When we do RefrigeRaider sessions we first remove everything a shelf at a time and toss, toss, toss.
  • Put items you want to eat at eye level. You’re more likely to eat the first things you see so precut veggies, fruit front and center eye level. Use those middle shelves for a smaller middle. I’ve talked about these ceramic baskets before but I love this vegetable garage (it’s designed for picnics, you can put ice underneath but we repurposed it).
  • Have a master fridge list for basics:
Omega 3 Eggs
Organic Half and Half (Ronnybrook)
Organic Vegetables for crudité (radishes, jicama, celery, carrots, cucumbers)
2-3 Fruits
Greens for salads and juicing
Fresh Herbs
Organic cheese
Organic Sliced Turkey
Applegate Sunday Bacon
Organic Milk (2% or Whole)
2% Greek Yogurt (Fage or Siggis)
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
Almond Milk
Nut Butter
  • Success starts Sunday- this is your time to make iced tea, hard boil eggs, wash greens
  • Rewrap- I love this cheese paper from Murray’s. Cold cuts paper dry out too try foil, plastic wrap or airtight container in meat drawer.
  • Place fresh herbs or asparagus in a glass of water to retain freshness.
  • Place eggs toward back, where it is colder and not on the door.
  • Label sauces, stock or leftovers so you know when you put them in. I use these, yes I know they're called Freezer Labels, it's ok. 

  • Consider a charcoal odor absorber, I find these work best I use one called Fridge-it.
Your fridge is going to set you and your family members up to eat well. I put the veggie garage on the table when the kids come home from school and they're excited to see what's in it. They can come and easily grab organic grapes or a yogurt, they know where everything is. 
When's the last time you organized your fridge? What are your staple items? What sets you up well for the week? Tweet or post a photo, I shared it's only fair.


  1. Looove this post. People sometimes buy the goods at the store but forget to use them (or forget they even bought them) because their fridges lack organization. Such an important step.
    I love clear containers for fruits and veggies..keeps them in sight. Fridays are usually my fridge-purging day. Throw away any leftovers that are overdue and do a good wipe-down to prep the fridge for the next wave of weekend groceries!
    Now for my closet...

  2. Nice healthy looking fridge...good suggestions. My husband and father in law always put herbs in a glass of water. We are down to knowing what we will use so our fridge is in constant organized state. We always have milk...yogurt and eggs. :)

  3. love it now we need to add some veg to your "constants".

  4. Love the Friday purge very logical.

  5. Virgo to Virgo, I hear you on the urge to organize those refrigerators. My issue is not having what you might call actual food in the refrigerator. We eat like single people. I love the vegetable garage idea and may put that into use. Thanks for a great idea!

  6. Where did you buy the " vegetable garage "?

  7. Great tips Lauren. Your fridge looks amazing. Definitely beats our tiny one! HAve you seen the new one they have been advertising on tv?? It's insane!
    I try to organize my foods according to their food group. IT does help Nick and me stay organized. And, purging every once in a while is a must. I agree.

  8. i don't know Gina, I think most people fill whatever fridge they have. I seriously can fill our fridge and then boys empty it in one day. I thought my 10 year old had a tapeworm but alas he's just an eating machine. Having set places for certain items is great, when is the wedding?

  9. online and now I can't recall where. And it's not called a veggie garage, let me poke and see if I can find a link.

  10. when my boys were away it was slim pickins here. We did have the garage but very little else. of course you're a virgo.

  11. These are great tips!
    I always forget to put herbs in water.
    I try to go through my fridge every couple weeks. Unfortunately, a couple leftovers get pushed to the back at times.

  12. Andrea@WellnessNotesSeptember 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I try to go through our fridge every Sunday and clean out things that need to go. Unfortunately, I don't always get to everything... I really like your tips. If there are healthy foods visible, people will eat them. I also think spending just 20-30 minutes on Sundays to prep for the week makes a huge difference.

  13. It's so true Andrea, little investment of time and a big return.

  14. nobody's perfect and there are certainly leftovers we think we'll use (see meatloaf in my picture in tin foil) but some sort of a system works wonders. For some weird reason I obsess about herbs going bad.