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How to Stock Your Fridge Like a Health Coach

June 27, 2014

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Every Health Coach knows that eating a healthy, balanced diet full of whole foods is the very best way to nourish your body. The problem is, buying all that fresh food can be expensive. Fortunately, you can get more bang for your grocery store bucks by learning how to properly store your healthy food in the fridge. Instead of throwing everything in haphazardly, stock your fridge like a pro by using these simple storage tips. Some of them may even surprise you!

Fruit and Vegetables

The number one rule for fruit and vegetables storage is to keep them far apart from each other in the fridge! As fruit ripens, it gives off ethylene gas, which will quickly wilt your veggies. Vegetables should be loosely packed into the fridge, with some on the shelves and some in the crisper drawer, depending on where you keep the fruit. Leafy greens do better in the crisper drawer, where they are less prone to wilting.  For crunchy, water-based vegetables like radish, carrots, or celery, try cutting them up and storing them in water-filled mason jars to keep them fresh longer.

Most stone fruit, like peaches, and fruit with thicker peels such as bananas or tomatoes, should be left out on the counter. The intense cold in the fridge could cause them to ripen quickly or lose their nutrients. Other fruit, like apples and berries, can be kept in the fridge to keep them crisp and slow the ripening process.

Dairy

Ignore the spot in the door for your butter and milk: all dairy should be kept in the coldest part of your fridge to prevent mold growth. Usually this means toward the back or in the middle drawer. When storing an already open package of cheese, yogurt, or sour cream, make sure the package is completely sealed to keep it from drying out or molding.

Eggs

Eggs should also be stored in a colder part of the fridge, like the middle shelf, not the door. This will discourage bacteria growth by preventing a drastic temperature change every time the door is opened.

Fresh Herbs

Clip the very bottom of your bunch of herbs and stick them in a glass filled with about an inch of water. This will prevent them from wilting fast.  The glass can be stored on the middle or bottom shelf of your fridge where there is more room for the herbs to stand up. Herbs in water can also be kept on the counter if you plan to use them within a few days.

Meat

From the minute you leave the butcher counter, keep your meat separate from fresh produce to eliminate contamination. Meat should be stored on the bottom shelf on a plate so that if the package leaks, it won’t drip onto any other foods. If freezing meat, individually wrap each piece in plastic wrap before freezing. When you’re ready to eat it, remove the meat from the freezer and place on a plate in the fridge for at least 8 hours to defrost safely for.

Condiments

It’s not as crucial that the temperature of your condiments stay as low as your fresh ingredients, so it’s fine to keep them in the door of the fridge! Remember to check those expiration dates every once in a while! In general, condiments probably shouldn’t be kept over a year.

Leftovers

Divide the leftovers into individual portions and store in food-safe containers near the front of the fridge so you remember to eat them! If you plan on freezing your leftovers, label each food-safe, freezer-safe storage container with the date the item was made so you know when to eat them. For most dishes, plan to eat them within 3 months of freezing.

Do you have any storage tips for your healthy groceries? 

About the author

Lauren Caster is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She resides in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys cooking for friends, doing Bikram yoga, and exploring new restaurants and food carts in town. She is one part of the blogging duo behind the blog Brooklyn-Portland, she received her diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition