Do you want to eat healthier? The key can be behind the door of your fridge. When you’re hungry, you grab what you see–the quicker the better. Why not plan for those moments and fill your refrigerator with healthy foods that will satisfy your cravings. Also a decluttered fridge helps you keep track of staples so you never run out of healthy snacks like Greek yogurt or breakfast basics like eggs.
Here are some tips for bringing the Chaos To Order in your refrigerator:
1. Whittle it down-25% of the food we purchase, we don’t even eat! Is it time for a big clean out of your fridge? If your fridge is overstuffed, you may be tempted to head toward the pantry for cookies rather than spend time sifting through the clutter, so conduct a purge to get rid of any unwanted and expired food. (Generally, cooked leftovers last three to four days and raw poultry and ground meats are good for one to two days.) Your de-cluttering goals: (1) Leave a half-inch space between items, and (2) avoid making stacks whenever possible.
2. Have a “Mustgo” Night-Regularly make a plan to serve leftovers in the fridge &/or freezer by the appropriate date when these items “must go”.
3. Manage produce wisely-In many cases I find the produce at Sam’s or Costco is a good value even if I can only use half before spoilage. However a little planning can usually help me wisely use it all (although we have only 2 adults in our home). Try freezing produce for use in smoothies (my daughter even uses spinach and lettuce she has frozen for green smoothies). Another idea is serving fresh fruits and veggies to company or taking it as a treat (rather than cookies etc.) to church or other gatherings.
4. Clean regularly-Before doing your regular grocery shopping wipe down the fridge and weed it out. Doing this regularly will help you to know what’s in there, what you need, and what you can use for planning meals.
5. Snack Center in the Fridge-You might want to gather items in clear plastic bins or colorful plastic baskets so you have a go-to spot to find healthy munchables when hunger strikes. Place the bin in front at eye level, and stock it with premade 150-calorie baggies of popcorn, cheese and crackers, trail mix, cereal, pretzels, fruit and nut bars, fruit leather, and other healthy faves.
6. Precut Veggies. Veggies are low in calories and jam-packed with fiber; when you eat them you feel full longer, which keeps hunger at bay and prevents mindless snacking later. But your veggies can't help you lose weight if they sit in the crisper and go moldy before you have a chance to eat them. You're more likely to nosh on veggies if they're ready to eat. After hitting the grocery store, immediately wash, cut, and store carrots, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, celery, and cherry tomatoes in reusable containers. Place the stack of precut veggies next to a tub of hummus, a bottle of low-calorie salad dressing like Annie's Gingerly Vinaigrette. When you're really hungry, you don't want to peel a carrot if you can just open a bag of chips," says Wansink. The trick is to make vegetables and fruit more convenient to eat by cleaning and cutting them up so they're ready to go the next time you raid the fridge.
7. Fruit Bowl- Fruit is also a perfect snack or dessert because the sweetness satisfies your sugar cravings, but it's much lower in calories than a chocolate bar or cookie. Ensure that you eat those nutritious apples, pears, kiwis, peaches, melons, and citrus fruits by displaying them in a bowl in the middle of your refrigerator, so when you open the fridge door you're inspired to grab a piece. A team of psychologists at the UK's University of Chester found that when subjects are asked to select an item from a group, they tend to choose the item in the center. The rule holds true for food, too, according to a study published in the Journal of Marketing that showed that products on middle shelves in grocery stores gain more attention than those on lower shelves.
8. Ditch the Junk- If unhealthy, nutrition-less food is in your fridge, you'll quickly push the carrot sticks out of the way to reach them. Get rid of everything from cans of soda to the half-eaten jar of nacho cheese sauce. What's that? You buy that stuff for your hubby or kids? Well don't. If it's there to tempt you, it will. If this health kick you're on rubs off on your family, it'll be that much easier to stick with it and drop those pounds; and your loved ones will be healthier too.
9. Store Healthier Alternatives to Your Faves- You know that ice cream is your weakness, so don't deprive yourself — it'll only lead to cravings. Make sure you have a lower-calorie option, such as sorbet bars, available to satisfy your sweet tooth. The same goes for other high-fat or high-calorie foods. Stock up on healthier alternatives so you can still enjoy the foods you love without derailing your weight loss train.
10. Put Indulgent Snacks in Opaque Storage Containers- Being able to see a food makes you more enticed to eat it, says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. He has found that when study subjects are given chocolates in a clear bowl, they'll eat nearly 70 percent more than when the treats are placed in an opaque bowl.
YOU GUESSED IT OUR CHALLENGE FOR WEEK 3 IS TO DO A THOROUGH SCRUBBING BUBBLES CLEAN OUT OF YOUR REFRIGEATER AND TO FILL IT FRONT AND CENTER WITH SOME PREPARED FRUITS, VEGGIES AND OTHER HEALTHY FOODS—IF YOU ACCOMPLISH THIS AWARD YOUSELF 35 BONUS POINTS.