Healthy Refrigerator Guide

How to Arrange Your Fridge for Weight Loss and Wellness

What Is a Healthy Refrigerator?

healthy refrigerator

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Do you have a healthy refrigerator? Does your refrigerator help you to lose weight or does it sabotage your best efforts to eat a healthy diet? In many cases, the state of your fridge can make or break your weight loss plan. 

A healthy refrigerator helps you to make the best food choices for wellness and weight loss. It is a fridge that is clean, organized, and puts fresh, nutritious foods front and center.

There are several different ways to organize your home to make weight loss easier. But if you just have a few minutes, you can learn how to arrange your fridge for faster weight loss. A complete refrigerator makeover is easy to do. First, you'll give the fridge a thorough cleaning, then shop for healthy foods to fill it up.

Refrigerator Makeover Supplies

  • Paper towels or cleaning rags
  • Cleaning solution or plain hot water works
  • Sturdy trash can
  • Container for recyclables
  • Optional: Stackable, single-serving resealable containers; refillable water bottles

Step One: Remove and Sort Food

You'll start the cleaning process by removing all refrigerator foods. Once the entire fridge is empty, evaluate each item and decide if it supports or sabotages your weight loss plan. Many successful dieters throw away these foods that are often high in fat and sugar. 

  • Condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, or barbecue sauce
  • Commercial salad dressing 
  • Sodas and sweetened teas
  • Juice products 
  • Processed jams and jellies
  • Margarine or other spreads that contain trans fat
  • Convenience or processed meat products
  • Cheese spreads or cheese food products

Of course, any outdated or expired food should be thrown away as well. And those leftovers from last week? Toss those in the trash, too. The key is to make as much space as possible for healthy, whole, unprocessed refrigerator food.

Step Two: Clean and Scrub

Now that your refrigerator is completely empty, it will take just five minutes to wipe down all surfaces. Remove shelves and racks, scrape off any food residue and rinse under hot water. Take out the refrigerator drawers, too. Wipe down the inner and outer surfaces and even clean the refrigerator surfaces where the drawers sit. Wipe down each interior wall of the refrigerator, including the back. Once each surface is washed, re-assemble your new clean fridge.

A clean refrigerator will make healthy, fresh foods look more appealing. You'll find that it's easier to enjoy diet-friendly foods when they are displayed nicely and when they are easy to find and grab when you're on the go. 

Step Three: Arrange Your Fridge

Now that the cleaning process is complete, it's time to organize your refrigerator with healthy food. But you're going to organize your food differently than before to make sure that diet-friendly choices are alway easy to find. Use this guide to organize your fridge, but make adjustments as needed to keep the entire space tidy.

  • Bottom refrigerator drawers. Even though these drawers are usually labeled for fresh produce or meats, you don't want to hide your healthiest food in a place where it's harder to see. Instead, fill these compartments with diet sodas (if you choose to drink them) or other drinks that you want to consume less often, like wine or beer.
  • Side refrigerator doors. Use the refrigerator doors to hold healthier drink options. Fill plastic bottles with water in the morning and chill them on these shelves throughout the day so you always have a cold, healthy drink ready to go. You can even make flavored water to help curb your snack cravings. I also use these shelves to hold fresh herbs and cold cuts like turkey or lean roast beef. On the lower sections of the door, I keep dairy products that I eat less often like milk and cheese.
  • Center shelves. The most important part of an organized refrigerator is the center shelf area. This is where you display your healthiest food. If you've prepared healthy single-serving snack packs, stack those neatly at the front of the center shelf so that you see them right away when you open the refrigerator door. I also make sure I have plenty of single-serving protein snacks in this area. Put whole, fresh produce and lean meats next to these containers. 

Every appliance is built differently. Organize your refrigerator in a way that makes sense with its design. Just be sure that the healthiest foods are the first thing you see when you open the door. Keep indulgent foods tucked away in less convenient compartments.

Step Four: Healthy Foods to Have in Your Fridge

When your refrigerator is clean and organized, it's easier to see which healthy foods you need to buy when you go shopping. It's also less likely that you'll waste money on groceries that you already have. 

Tip: Keep a dry erase board on or near the outside of your refrigerator. Use it only for your grocery list (so it stays tidy, too!) As you run out of your favorite weight-loss-friendly items, like berries, crunchy snack vegetables, and lean meat, add them to your list. When it's time to go shopping, snap a photo of the list with your smartphone and take it with you to the store. 

Step Five: Maintain Your Healthy Refrigerator

Now that your fridge is clean and organized, keep it that way to help you lose weight efficiently. Take five minutes each week to scan each section of the refrigerator and toss any items that have gone bad. Then reorganize items that are left to make sure that your diet-friendly items stay front and center. Smart dieters often do this as part of their weekly healthy meal planning process, before they go grocery shopping. 

If your refrigerator starts to fill up, skip your weekly trip to the grocery store. Instead, eat the healthy food you already have. Get creative. Use low-fat recipes and ​healthy meal ideas to keep your budget on track and your diet in place.

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