Here’s a comprehensive list for some easy, healthy must-haves when stocking a healthy refrigerator. Many items combine to make simple meals at-the-ready.
I’m excited to share a new series of posts here at Good Dinner Mom. Whole Foods Market and I have teamed up to help you with your healthy eating journey – starting with a comprehensive list of good-for-you items to always have stocked in the refrigerator.
The following points highlight where I’ll be focusing the bulk of this article:
- If you’re someone who’s just now deciding to stock up on options towards healthy eating (congratulations, by the way!), you can benefit from this list.
- If you’re already well established in a healthy lifestyle (good for you!), you can find new items or ideas in stocking your already healthy refrigerator.
- Many foods from the list are easily combined for quick meals, any time of day.
- Healthy grab-and-go snacks are here. These are critical ingredients during times when you can’t wait to create a meal but need a little something to subdue your hunger.
- Several items on the list are recipe ingredients I use almost daily, so it makes sense to always keep them in stock.
- I’ve included what you might call “survival meals”, a list of freezer items for days when you’ve eaten through the week’s menu and don’t have time to shop again or just don’t feel like it.
Here you go:
Spinach (Baby spinach is even more nutritious than regular and has a milder flavor)
Leafy green lettuce
Bell peppers – At least a green and a red bell pepper
Hot peppers of some sort – Jalapeno or milder Anaheim
Onions – At least yellow and green
At least one of the following: Asparagus, broccoli, zucchini
Lemons and limes – Have some cut up and ready to add to a glass of water or green tea, or to squeeze over just about anything.
Berries – Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries- at least have one of these in your arsenal.
Salsa. I try to have two kinds because salsa seems to run out quickly and it’s also nice to have variety, like a peach salsa and a garlic salsa.
Hummus. Homemade Hummus is easy, but some fresh store-bought varieties are excellent choices.
Fresh guacamole or sliced avocadoes
Olives- Buy a couple varieties and if you’re lucky enough to have access to an olive bar like the one at Whole Foods, be creative and experiment with a variety.
Pickles of some sort, whether cucumber, beets, or even okra (tasty!). Pickles are not a hugely healthy option, but are great at staving off hunger and satisfying a savory craving. Plus, pickle juice adds zip to homemade tartar sauce and fry sauce.
Dairy and condiment miscellaneous items-
Milk and/or Almond milk
Cheese- One hard, like Parmesan or Romano and one soft, like cheddar and mozzarella.
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Pesto of some kind, whether basil or tomato based
Jam or fruit spread
Fresh ground nut butter, like peanut or almond
Mayonnaise or Vegenaise
Mustard with real turmeric (read the labels and compare)
Don’t forget the Freezer-
Frozen berries (great for smoothies and pancake batters)
One frozen main dish or protein item like lasagna, pizza, burritos, even frozen homemade soups and spaghetti sauce.
There’s a method for my choice of foods listed above: Many items may be combined to make easy dishes that don’t require a written recipe- For breakfast or lunch, whip up an omelet or frittata with peppers,veggies, onions, eggs and some cheese. My husband makes THE BEST healthy breakfast using items I always have in stock (I’m not at liberty to reveal it JUST YET, but stay tuned, I’ll share it soon). Have some dried pasta in the pantry? Then you can make lunch or a light dinner with the pasta, butter, spinach or asparagus, then toss everything with the Parmesan cheese and some smashed garlic.
Salsa doubles as a dip or is wonderful over fish, chicken, scrambled eggs…. You get the idea. If you can keep most of these items in your refrigerator, you can build a quick meal. And those crucial snack cravings I mentioned? Carrots, apples, olives, cheese and berries all have super flavor and texture (not to mention nutrients) to help curb your appetite. Dip carrots or apple slices in nut butter for a sweet craving. If you make smoothies, any combination of the spinach, carrots, celery, and berries make a great smoothie. My family makes smoothies every day so I also have fresh pineapple, cucumbers and frozen cranberries on hand. Cranberries are seasonal, so I stock up at the end of January and then have them available for the rest of the year- they’re worth their space in the freezer.
For sweet tooth cravings, I try to have on hand bite-sized snacks like my Nutty Chia Energy Bites. These little morsels are low in calories and high in protein and healthy fats. So it’s a smart idea to make a little snack like that to keep stocked in the refrigerator too.
This is a true list of what I keep stocked in my fridge. I almost always have these items on hand and in doing so, I’ve increased healthy meals and snacks for me and my family. Maybe you won’t be buying exactly what I have on MY list, but I hope some foods you see here will help you with ideas when forming your own list in stocking a healthy refrigerator.
So there you have it. Whether you go out and buy everything on this list at once or add a few of these items to your own list of favorites, I hope you find this helpful. And one last thing… Let’s be real for a moment. Having these items in the fridge does not mean you’ll only eat healthy from here on out. We all need to indulge now and again. But having this arsenal of healthy standbys will help keep you on the right track most of the time. At least whenever you turn on the refrigerator light.
This post is part of an ongoing paid series with Whole Foods Market but the opinions are my own.