Fridge Stocking Tips That Make Healthy Eating Easy
Written by: Kavata Kithome
Imagine for a moment:
You just got home from work, you have been in traffic for 45 minutes and had to use all the forces within not to ram the red car in front of you that kept haphazardly braking every 5 minutes. The first thing you do is go straight to the kitchen – you are looking for that spark of joy that helps you forget how hectic and stressful your day was.
Chocolate chip cookies? Yep. Potato chips? Yes, please! Pizza? You bet! Can you relate?
While many of the foods in your kitchen might spark joy on the lips, your waistline and hips may think otherwise. The reality is, if you want to clean up your health, you have to clean up your kitchen first. Here is my take on how to do just that:
1. Clean Your Cupboards
Pull out every food or beverage in your cabinets. Hold each one in your hand and answer these questions about the Nutrition Facts label:
- Are there more than 100 calories per 3 grams of fat per serving?
- Are there more than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving?
- Are there more than 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving?
- Is there more than 1 gram of trans fat per serving?
- Is one serving enough for that food item or would you eat more than one serving per sitting?
- Are there at least 7 grams of protein in a serving?
- Are there 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving?
If the answer to the first four questions is yes, place these items in a group labeled “treats,” or better yet, consider throwing them in the trash, maybe giving them away.
Treats are foods that lack nutritional value and are higher in saturated fats, sodium and added sugars. If you are going to eat these, they should account for a maximum of 10% of your diet. The key is to stock your kitchen in the proportion you want to eat throughout the week.
If the answer is yes to two of the first five questions, but also yes to 6 and 7, this item should go in the “occasional foods” category, but it should not be one of the foods you intake daily.
Occasional foods have some of the good and some of the not-so-good in them. They may have vitamins and minerals, but they also have lots of sodium or added sugars. They can fit into a healthy lifestyle if you enjoy them only occasionally and balance them out with real foods.
If you answered no to the first four to five questions and yes to 6 and 7, then this item likely fits into your healthy lifestyle. Put this into the “healthy everyday foods” category.
These foods are low in saturated fats, added sugars and sodium and they provide good sources of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. So go crazy and stock your kitchen with these foods and eat them every day.
2. Retrofit Your Refrigerator
Think about the arrangement of your fridge. Stock your healthy everyday foods at eye level in clear containers so you can see inside each one. Make sure these foods are washed and prepped, making it as easy as possible to reach for them when you open your fridge. This is where prepping comes in very handy.
A balanced plate consists of 25% protein, 25% grains and 50% produce, so stock your fridge accordingly. This will help you follow through when it comes to mealtime.
3. Free Up Your Freezer
This tip is a hard one for me, most times my freezer is so jam packed, that if I move something even slightly, an avalanche of frozen foods comes tumbling down. To help with this, I place frozen fruits, veggies and convenient, low-calorie foods at the center, where I can easily grab them. Make plenty of space for leftovers and batches of healthy meals. And if you must have treats like ice cream, put them at the back of the freezer, where they are not so easily accessible.
One of my favorite quotes is from Napoleon Hill, when he said, “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” I believe this thought can be translated to your health and eating habits. Changing your eating habits is challenging if you don’t change your environment first. Remember you are in charge of how you stock your kitchen.
Do you use any tips I have not mentioned above? Please share yours and take it a step further, share a picture of your fridge in the comments below.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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