As promised, this week we are going to see how the healthy fridge and freezer look. The lists below are my idea of what you will need to put together healthy meals and snacks all week long for you and your family.
Take a critical look at your fridge and freezer. How healthy are the contents ? Can you tell what the contents are, or how old they are ? Let’s hope so, otherwise send it to the compost. Take a gratifying step further and clean out the whole refrigerator. Here are some tips to having what you need, being sure of it’s safety, and making it easy to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
- Shop twice a week
- Buy only healthy items such as those listed here.
- Make a deliberate point to use what you buy. Do not plan a meal without looking in the fridge first. Factor in the what needs to be used as well as the balance of the meal. Do not, however, be tempted to save a couple bucks and use questionable items.
- Make sure to have a set of good clean containers to use for subdividing bulk purchases and for storing leftovers. Containers which hide their contents tend to go unused and spoil.
- Have a couple sizes of ziplock bags also for subdividing bulk purchases and for storing leftovers. Sometimes it’s easier to store things this way instead of in a giant clear box.
- Label and date all your unlabelled containers.
- Search for recipes or even techniques which use your healthy ingredients, and keep them simple.
- Use your freezer to enhance your nutrition. Buy good food on sale, in bulk and in season, divide it strategically and freeze it.
Here are some healthy contents which should be in your fridge and freezer.
nuts: i.e. cashews, pecans, almonds, walnuts
pestos in ziplock bags
frozen concentrated juices i.e. orange juice concentrate for sauces
chili paste, clearly labelled
coffee or cacao (raw chocolate) bean
bags of frozen fruits, home made or store bought, for pie, cobbler, tarts, smoothies
frozen vegetables such as corn and peas
fish, meats, poultry, in bulk or divided by you into single servings
bulk items like ziplock bags of garlic cloves
ziplocks of good leftovers which you can’t use quickly enough
dried fruits which are moist and apt to spoil
cheeses : block parmesan, shredded cheddar, shredded parmesan
ice creams and sorbets
milk, half and half, cream, butter,
certain oils like toasted sesame
soft cheese: cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, mozzarella
hard cheese: cheddar, pre-sliced and shredded, shredded real parmesan
eggs- at least two dozen
Meats, poultry and fish which are thawing, marinating, preserved, or leftover.
Cultures for home made yogurt, yeast to make bread
salad greens like romaine, spinach, arugula, cooking greens like kale and chard,
Hard vegetables like carrots, beets, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, cucumbers,
red and other various colored peppers
vegetables ad infinitum
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, other soft fruits like pitted fruits, i.e. peaches, apricots, etc (Tomatoes, bananas, apple and oranges are stored at room temperature )
pickles, sweet and dill, olives, ketchup, mustards, mayonnaise, salad dressings, opened jams, jellys, chutneys, salsas, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, Siracha or other hot sauce, lime and lemon juice, fresh ginger, garlic
It takes some time to adjust your meal planning, cooking and eating habits to include all the good things all of the time and very few of the bad things very seldom. But having fridge, freezer, and pantry filled properly will help. It is also necessary to realize that healthy eating takes a little extra time at first. But healthy cooking, once learned is minimalistic simple cooking, and can be made to be very time efficient.
I hope these lists will help healthy eating become easy and enjoyable.