9 Healthy Foods for a Diet-Friendly Fridge
Must-have items for quick, healthy snacks and meals.
How many times do you open your refrigerator door each day, peering in and
hoping to be inspired? It stands to reason that if you keep your refrigerator
stocked with appetizing foods that also happen to be good for you, you're much
more likely to eat healthy meals and healthy snacks.
But keep in mind that the "out of sight, out of mind" principle
applies to your fridge. Many of us, for example, have colorful fruits and vegetables on hand
-- but keep them buried in the crisper drawers at the bottom of the fridge. You
are more likely to see, eat, and enjoy healthy foods if they're in a
ready-to-eat form, staring at you from the eye-level shelves in your
Here are nine must-have healthy foods for a diet-friendly refrigerator:
1. Fruit Salad
Take that fruit from your crisper and fruit bowl and turn it into a tasty
fruit salad, drizzled with a high-vitamin-C fruit juice (to keep the fruit from
browning), and packed in a see-through, covered container. You might also find
bags of pre-sliced organic apples in your market that you can keep front and
center in your fridge.
2. Crunchy Raw Vegetables
Try cucumbers, celery, zucchini, jicama, and carrots, cut into sticks or
slices, rinsed, and kept in a see-through covered container.
3. Ready-to-Eat Green Salad
A salad made with high-nutrient spinach or romaine lettuce, and embellished
with cherry tomatoes, beans, and even nuts, is more likely to be gobbled once
liberated from the crisper. Looking for a healthy meal in seconds flat? This
salad can quickly transform into an entree with the addition of grilled chicken
breast, cooked shrimp, or lean steak slices.
4. Whole-Wheat Pita Pockets and/or Tortillas
Switching from refined (or white) grain products to whole grains is one of
the most powerful dietary changes you can make. Research has suggested that
eating plenty of whole grains may lead to an assortment of health benefits,
including lengthening your life span, helping with weight control, and reducing the
risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
Keeping a pack of whole-wheat pita pockets or whole-grain tortillas in the
refrigerator can inspire quite a few quick, healthy meals or snacks. The pita
or tortilla can serve as a base for quesadillas, pizzas, and hot or cold
sandwiches or wraps. These items tend to get moldy fairly quickly at room
temperature, but will last at least a week in the refrigerator.
5. Low-Fat Dairy Foods
I'll leave it to you which low-fat dairy items you want on your refrigerator
shelf. I'm a yogurt fan myself, but you'll never see me willingly eat cottage
cheese (I can't get past the lumpy texture). Other low-fat dairy options are
fat-free or 1% milk and reduced-fat cheeses like part-skim mozzarella or
reduced-fat cheddar or provolone.
Low-fat dairy products have impressive levels of two nutrients many of us
need: calcium and protein. Just a cup of fat-free
yogurt, for example, takes you a third of the way to your daily recommended
calcium intake, and satisfies 17% of your estimated daily protein needs. A bag
of pre-shredded, reduced-fat cheese also comes in handy for making many of the
healthy snacks and meals mentioned in this list.