6 Must-Have Fridge Staples for Dieters


Broccoli Cole Slaw

Organic broccoli sprouts and carrot slaw in glass bowl
Bill Noll / Getty Images

If you're not familiar with broccoli slaw, here's the deal: It's a mix of shredded broccoli stems, carrots, and cabbage, and it's as versatile as it is healthy! When steamed until soft, it makes an amazing noodle swap. When tossed with salad dressing, it makes a yummy side dish with just the right amount of crunch. It's also an easy way to bulk up meatloaf. Find it in the produce section—it comes in bags as well as plastic tubs.

1 cup: 25 calories, 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 5g carbs, 3g fiber, 2g sugars, 2g protein


Extra-Lean or Lean Ground Meat

Must-Have Fridge Staples: Extra-Lean or Lean Ground Meat
Courtesy of Getty Images

Ground meat is a classic in many households, but the wrong kinds can be fatty messes. In terms of ground beef, look for those labeled extra-lean, with 4% fat or less. They might also be labeled as 96% lean. When it comes to turkey, go for lean types, with 7% fat or less (93% lean). While extra-lean turkey does exist, it tends to be very dry, which is why I recommend the lean kind.

4 oz. raw extra-lean ground beef: 145 calories, 5g fat, 71mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 23.5g protein 

4 oz. raw lean ground turkey: 160 calories, 7.5g fat, 92mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 22.5g protein


Ready-to-Eat Vegetables and Fruit

Must-Have Fridge Staples: Ready-to-Eat Vegetables and Fruit
Courtesy of Getty Images

We all have those moments where we want to mindlessly munch, and it's easy to reach for whatever's ready to go: usually packaged snacks like chips and cookies.

Having precut vegetables and ready-to-eat fruit is perfect for these moments, as well as other smart snacks you're probably not eating. If convenience is most important, buy veggies and fruit that are already sliced. If budget is more important, buy produce whole, but spend some time on the weekend getting it prepared. 

Some of my favorites? Jicama sticks, red bell pepper strips, Fuji apples, and mango chunks.


Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt

Must-Have Fridge Staples: Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt
Courtesy of Fage

Talk about a protein-packed find! What’s more impressive is its adaptability. It's a great swap for sour cream, perfect as a base for creamy dressings (try stirring in a little ranch seasoning mix), and ideal as the main ingredient in a tasty breakfast bowl.

If you think it's too sour, just stir in your favorite no-calorie sweetener or spice it up with salsa or fruit. Still can't get over the tart flavor? Go for flavored options, which are sweeter.

Be mindful that whole milk and 2% Greek yogurt look extremely similar to the 0% fat-free kind. Read labels carefully!

6 oz.: 100 calories, 0g fat, 70mg sodium, 7g carbs, 0g fiber, 7g sugars, 17.5g protein


House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodle Substitute

Must-Have Fridge Staples: House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodle Substitute
Courtesy of House Foods

Pasta lovers, listen up! At just 10 calories per serving (20 calories per bag), these noodles are life changing. Use them to make guilt-free versions of fettuccine Alfredo, pesto pasta, and more. For best results, drain and rinse 'em. Roughly chop, and cook in a skillet to remove as much moisture as possible (drying them well is key).

4 oz. (1/2 bag): 10 calories, 0.5g fat, 15mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 0g sugars, <1g protein


Light String Cheese

Must-Have Fridge Staples: Light String Cheese
Courtesy of Getty Images

Protein-packed snacks are great for keeping your hunger satiated between meals, and these portion-controlled cheese sticks are a fantastic way to avoid going overboard. Pair one with some of that ready-to-eat produce for a super snack. You get the one-two punch of protein and fiber!

And here's a little-known trick for string cheese: Pop a stick into a food processor or blender and you’ve got a perfect portion of shredded/chopped cheese for topping pizza, potato skins, or any place you want a single serving of cheese. No blender? No problem! Just pull apart the cheese stick, and roughly chop.

1 stick: 60 calories, 2.5g fat, 190mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 7g protein

For guilt-free recipes, food finds, tips 'n tricks, and more, sign up for free daily emails or visit Hungry Girl!

Was this page helpful?