Stocking your Fridge

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on August 9, 2011

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You told me that you loved reading about how I stock my pantry, so I just had to follow up with a stocking your fridge post! The two really go hand in hand.

Lets get this party started!

Regular cleaning

Choose a day of the week that you’ll alternate between organizing your pantry and cleaning out your fridge. I like doing this on Friday mornings, before I go to the grocery store in the afternoon.

It only takes 10 minutes or so to check the expiration dates on your condiments, organize things, give the shelves a quick wipe.

My favorite fridge cleaning solution:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Figuring out what to put on your list

I like to plan my meals for the week so that I don’t need to worry about what nutrients I’m missing out on during the hustle and bustle of running my own business, training, blogging, and holding a full-time job.

Basically, if I didn’t plan I would be living off the worst kinds of foods, and we can’t have that, now can we? Here’s the approach I take to planning my weekly menu:

  1. Chose a couple of recipes that you plan to enjoy the following week. I like to pick:
  2. Write down the ingredients you’ll need for those recipes.
  3. In addition, include quick foods on your list like apples, berries, carrots, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, crackers, etc. that you can add to your lunches throughout the week.
  4. Go shoppin’
  5. Once you have the ingredients you can prepare your chosen meals on the weekend and freeze for the upcoming work week, or make as needed.

Avoiding clutter

Make a list and check it twice. Now that you have your list, make sure you compare it to the items in your pantry and fridge before you go shopping to make sure you haven’t listed items you already have. The last thing you need is to purchase yet another box of oats when you already have 2 boxes sitting in the corner of your pantry.

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Condiments

You’ll find condiments, a couple of old beers, and loads of fruits and veggies in our fridge.

Our go-to condiments include:

  • Maple syrup
  • Flax oil
  • Eggs
  • Canola mayonnaise
  • Unsweetened homemade apple sauce
  • Pickles (a necessary evil)
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi
  • Braggs soy sauce
  • Miso
  • Daiya cheese

Fruits & Veggies

When we moved into our house from the condo, we chose a fridge that was at least 30% bigger. It has 3 produce drawers! It’s a tight squeeze at time, but it works.

Depending on the season, we usually have:

  • Gala apples
  • Granny smith apples
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, oregano and basil
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Bananas
  • Mango
  • Field greens
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Grapes
  • Berries – fresh or frozen

DO’s

  • Organize your grocery list. Once you know what you need, map out where it is in the store. For example, I use the following sections on my grocery list – organic isle, meat and refrigerated, middle section [this is where you’re going to find most of the processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, juices, etc. Stay away from this section as much as possible!], produce, deli. Once you have it mapped out you’ll find you will save so much time at the store!
  • Try 1 new fruit or vegetable each week. When you go to the store, pick up something different. When you get home, checkout recipes using this ingredient online that interest you and go for it! Variety is the spice of life!

DONT’s

  • Keep cooked grains in the fridge for more than 2-3 days. Although you may not see it, or smell it, funky bacteria can grow on your grains pretty quickly!
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey

Great tips! I am an organized grocery shopper as well. I haven’t been meal planning lately because of summer break, but once I go back to work I have to!

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Jess@HealthyExposures

Oh my gosh. You are so organized – your pantry and fridge are spotless and so tidy! (i make that sound like i’m some slob…i’m not, but my fridge doesn’t look quite so tidy, haha. i’ll blame it on sharing with parents…)
i never knew that about storing grains longer than 2-3 days. lesson learned!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Love the tips and suggestions!

so keeping condiments in my fridge that are 18 mos old is probably not a good idea then, eh? :)

Kidding.

Well, the thing is, I buy things, take one or two bites, decide I dont love it, then dont throw it out as fast as I should. But I will say, it’s incredibly neat and organized what I do have. Everything is in it’s spot and I HATE messy fridges, both the clutter or *yikes* spots/stains/leaks/food traces..ick! Never. I am a wipe down girl, for sure.

The 1st pic of the veggies is so brilliant and perfect it almost looks fake. Your camera skills are amazing! :)

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Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well.

Great tips! I tend to keep a lot of the same things on hand. I try to meal plan, but there are just some weeks I have to brainstorm on the way home about what to make based on what I have in the pantry and the fridge! Thanks for sharing all of this info!!

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Meredith

Your organization amazes me, I’m inspired!

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over

Brilliant tips Leanne! This is one area of my life where I’m totally organised :)

At the moment I’m working from home so I’m enjoying not having to ‘stock up’ at the store – I can just pop out for fresh food every two or three days. I’ll have to go back to super organisation in September though!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn

Forwarding to my mom, done and done.

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Clarkie @ Beloved Green

You are so much more organized then I am. Usually I think of a recipe, hop on my bike and venture to the store to pick up the ingredients, and then venture home. I wish I had your planning ability!

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Lisa @ Healthful Sense

Love you stocking pantry and fridge posts!! And love how organized you are ;)

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Andrea

You’ve mentioned how you freeze a lot of the things that you bake and I was wondering what way do you freeze them? I mean do you put things in containers, wrap them in foil, what is the best way? Thanks! :)

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char @ char on a mission

This is all great info. It’s weird because I normally, in life, am a planner, but I can’t plan a weeks worth of meals for the life of me! I like to browse (sometimes) daily and if I see one I like, I make it! I definitely will need to start meal planning once back in school though so I stay on the right track!

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Samantha

Great post! My mom (and mother-in-law) need some SERIOUS help in the fridge department. They have stuff in there from last year! I never truly knew where to begin before but now I have some tools to help them out. Crowded fridges are so stressful. I hate it when people waste food!

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jill conyers

Great information! Now I’m off to google Daiya cheese :)

About 5 months ago I changed to clean eating and with my weekly menu plans my fridge pretty much stays clutter free.

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