So, you might remember that last week I did a post on 15 Foods That Belong in Your Healthy Pantry. And, I promised that it was the first post of series of 3. Today’s post is all about stocking a healthy fridge and 10 basic items that can help you create well rounded meals and snacks.
10 Healthy Fridge Foods
What to buy: Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, tomatoes, kale, and cucumbers are all on the dirty dozen list and should be bought organic. What would a healthy fridge be without some veggies. Vegetables that I use frequently and keep on a regular basis include: onions, carrots, and garlic. Also, I always keep greens in my fridge (spinach, kale, lettuce, etc.) It’s a good idea to rotate your greens as they all have different nutrients. Additionally, you will want to buy some different vegetables each week such as broccoli, cucumbers, and cauliflower to eat raw or throw in green smoothies. Last, buy any veggies that your weekly meal plans call for.
What to buy: Strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, grapes, and cherries are on the dirty dozen list and should be bought organic. Buy fresh fruit dependent on the season. Berries, melon, and cherries are great in the summer. In the winter I buy things like apples, pears, oranges, and bananas.
Organic Plain Yogurt
What to buy: I recommend plain organic greek (or regular, depending on your preference) yogurt. It’s best to sweeten it yourself at home with fresh fruit or even honey. You can also use greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in recipes. I choose to buy organic dairy because farmers must pasture organic dairy livestock during grazing season, and therefore the dairy has a higher level of omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, organic dairy is raised without endocrine disrupting chemicals such as hormones and steroids.
Plant Based Milk
What to buy: When buying a milk alternative I usually choose almond milk or coconut/almond milk. Make sure you avoid carrageenan which some studies have linked to inflammation, and also avoid any added sugar.
Organic Dairy Milk
What to buy: If you drink dairy milk, I do recommend choosing organic (see above in what to buy in yogurt for more information.) However, many local farmers practice organic farming without being certified organic. I don’t drink much milk, but when we lived in Tennessee I bought Casey Homestead Creamery brand non homogenized milk. The farm was nearby, based in Virginia and the cows are mostly grass fed. I really value being able to find a brand/farm locally that you trust and in many cases this can be better than buying actually certified organic products. Additionally the milk came in a glass bottle which is more environmentally sustainable and it was not ultra pasteurized as many of the big brands are. Ultra pasteurization actually kills more of the beneficial bacteria in the milk. In more remote locations or other circumstances you may have to buy the big brand ultra pasteurized organic milk and that’s okay.
What to buy: Remember from above that tomatoes are on the dirty dozen list. Therefore, tomato products are great place to go organic. You can find organic salsa at many stores. I usually buy it at Aldi’s. Even better, you could make your own.
What to buy: Personally I prefer homemade of both of these items. However, my goal is to make eating healthy doable for not only others, but also myself. I have definitely picked up store bought hummus more times than I can count and that’s okay! When you buy guacamole and hummus, try to stick to the 5 ingredient rule and consider the names of things on ingredient lists. Basically, try to avoid foods containing ingredients you wouldn’t keep in your kitchen. Note: Avocados are on the Clean 15 list and actually tested to have the least exposure to pesticides. So, no need to spend extra on organic avocados.
What to buy: Look for a mustard that doesn’t have any “added” ingredients that seem unnecessary. Basically, it should include some variation of mustard seed, vinegar, spices, and maybe salt. Mustard is one of the “cleanest” condiments you can keep in your fridge. Many condiments, like traditional ketchup and mayonnaise, contain added sugar (ketchup) and soybean oil (mayonnaise.)
What to buy: If you can buy your eggs from a local farmer that’s the best option. Eggs from chickens which are truly free range is best. However, buying “free range” eggs in the store is a bit of a marketing scam. Often, the chickens stay inside all day receiving a grain diet. If you don’t have a local farm you can purchase them from and your budget allows, organic eggs from the store are the best alternative since the grain they are fed is organic. However, the price difference between a carton of eggs at Aldi’s on sale compared to a carton of organic eggs is huge. If you choose to, or need to buy the regular eggs, remember this isn’t going to make or break your whole diet. Eggs will still give you a good source of protein.
What to buy: If you choose to eat dairy, cottage cheese can be a high protein snack to enjoy and help keep you full. I recommend buying organic since it’s a dairy product.
I hope that that these tips will help you you continue to stock your kitchen and create a healthy fridge! Remember, a healthy fridge makes a healthy family. Coming next week will be the third and final in this series… my recommendations for stocking your freezer.