How To Organize Your Refrigerator To Encourage Healthy Eating

Keeping your fridge reserved for healthy good-for-you foods can be a daunting task. I get it. 9 times out of 10, I’m going to want to grab that tub of icing and a spoon instead of the fresh fruit. But, fret not! Here are some seriously practical (read: realistic) tips that will help you stick to a healthier lifestyle.

Clear out all expired or unused foods:

Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. There’s no sense in keeping things that aren’t edible. Go ahead and make room for the healthier foods that will be gracing your shelves and drawers. Anyway, that casserole is starting to give the fridge a certain smell…or was it soup?

Clear out foods that don’t adhere to your goals:

Get rid of sugary jellies and jams and salty, processed condiments to open up space for some more wholesome and healthy ingredients. Oh, and you should probably check the freezer, too. That ice cream is so not on the list.

Use the FIFO method:

The “first-in, first-out” method will be especially helpful for making sure your meats, fruits and vegetables are used before they go bad. I usually use the left side of the fridge for recently bought or longer lasting items and the right for items that need to be used quickly. Using this method should also help your fridge organization correspond with your grocery list and your meal plan. I live by it!

Meal plan:

Pick up a handy magnetic dry-erase calendar for your refrigerator door and record planned meals on it. This will help you efficiently move through your refrigerator stock and keep track of foods you’ll need to restock and/or add to your grocery list. Plus, it makes things a lot easier for you later when the last thing you want to do is think about what to have for dinner. Sometimes thinking is hard, guys.

Separate cheat foods:

Just like the pantry, if you gotta cheat every now and then (and sometimes you just gotta), it will help to have those unhealthy cheat foods separated out into their own container. I wouldn’t designate a whole drawer for these, but rather, use a small lidded plastic shoe box and keep it tucked away in a corner of the fridge. Just cover it with sticky notes so you can warn yourself of the potential consequences whenever you get that craving.

Keep bones, skins and stems:

I know, it sounds weird. Save the seemingly unneeded poultry/pork bones? Save the veggie skins and stems that I won’t eat? Yes. Save them. Keep these items and boil them to make your own meat and vegetable stocks! Homemade is often way healthier than store bought. And it’s free. And you’ll feel like a master chef.

Designate more room for fruits and veggies:

Keep at least two large fresher drawers open for just fruits and veggies. This will ensure that the majority of food you have available to eat is fresh, unprocessed and just plain good for you. Not to mention the fact that fresh fruits and veggies taste way better than their frozen or canned counterparts.

Keep meats on the bottom shelf:

Keeping all meats on the same horizontal shelf will help you to more efficiently integrate the FIFO method, but will also ensure that if any leakage happens, you will only have to clean from that shelf down. Pretty smart, huh?

(Sadly) Limit cheeses, butter and dairy:

I usually try to keep processed food like dairy to a bare minimum. These foods almost always have a bunch of hidden fat and calories. I know, tragic. If you just can’t say goodbye for good, try to keep your stocked amount of these types of foods to the equivalent of one door shelf. The less dairy you eat, the better you’ll feel!

Keep leftovers and healthy snacks up top:

Many times when we open that fridge door, we just want something fast—and we probably don’t even know what we’re looking for until we find it. Making sure that leftovers and healthy snacks are the first things we see helps us make a healthy and efficient choice when finding something quick to eat.

If you’re still needing some inspiration, check out some of our favorite swoon-worthy refrigerators here.