Stock Your Fridge for a Healthy New Year

What do you see when you open your refrigerator? Let it reflect your healthy goals for 2020.

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Healthy New Year

A few years ago, feeling in a nutritional slump, I lamented to a friend, “I used to open my fridge and be so inspired by what I saw.” I pledged to get my fridge game into gear, and I did. Now during New Year’s week, I’m opening up my fridge again with an eye toward bringing it into alignment with the goals I’ve set for myself.

Here are 3 tips for how to make your refrigerator a source of inspiration, nourishment and pride this month.

1)  Don’t Live in the Past

The first week of January is the perfect time to take everything out of the fridge and only put back in items that are fresh, appealing and likely to be consumed in the near future. A bottle of teriyaki sauce you used one tablespoon of for a recipe you didn’t like? It’s probably best to wash it out and recycle it, with a pledge to shop more mindfully in the future. Three half-eaten blocks of cheese from a holiday party two weeks ago? Consolidate them into a single container—and warm up the griddle for a grilled cheese party. And that container of sour cream/salad dressing/cantaloupe/pickles you forgot you had tucked to the way back of the fridge? Deploy the hot water rinse, recycle…and let’s never speak of it again!

2)  Let Color Be Your Guide

You have probably heard the phrase “eat the rainbow” in conversations about healthy eating. The more diverse the color palate on your plate, the more nutrients you are getting into your body. Deep green? Love it! Purple? Antioxidant city! Red? Orange? Yellow? Things of beauty! Of course, in order to eat a rainbow, you have to shop a rainbow. As you browse the produce section, aim for three different colors of fruits and vegetables (like spinach, blueberries, and carrots) so your fridge is alive with healthy, tasty, colorful choices.

3)  Everything in Moderation (Including Treats!)

Sometimes you’re heading to the fridge to cook a full meal, so be sure to have a balance of nutritional categories at the ready, including protein, whole grains and fiber- and nutrient-dense vegetables. But other times (or, in my house, often), you’re cracking open the Kenmore looking for something to snack on. Make sure you offer yourself a number of easy, healthy choices, like pre-cut fruits and veggies, containers of yogurt and protein-rich vegetables like edamame beans. But don’t forget to include some treats that are not quite the definition of “healthy choices!” Having some high-quality ice cream in the freezer is probably a better idea than having some unsatisfyingly stale holiday cookies lingering on the counter. Your fridge should reflect your whole self—including the positive outlook you cultivate by making the choices that bring you joy, satisfaction and wellness.

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