By Linda Williams
For those striving to live a long and fruitful life, maintaining healthy habits and behaviors is essential to fulfilling your goal. Alongside engaging in physical activity, keeping a solid sleep schedule, and avoiding inhibiting substances, a key piece of health and wellness is a nutritious, balanced diet. You may not want to swap out that second cookie for a bowl of greens, but ultimately your body and mind will thank you.
That said, the road to a nutrient-rich, wholesome diet requires detailed planning, especially if you’re looking for long-term results. One way to ensure you’re always locked and loaded in the health food department is by stocking your refrigerator with nutrient-rich staples. That way, you’ll have your favorite snack at the ready and can avoid last-minute scrambles to the grocery store.
Before you head to the store with your list of essentials, consider splurging on a fridge equipped with ample space to accommodate your healthy lifestyle. High-quality models like these enable you to customize shelving to maximize space and will keep your food fresh longer. With your fridge availability in mind, read on for five tips for a perfectly stocked fridge.
While fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients, they tend to perish quickly if not stored correctly. Thankfully, most refrigerators have designated drawers that help regulate humidity levels so your produce can stay fresh for longer. For foods that ripen quickly, like apples or avocados, set your drawer to a low-humidity setting, and for fast-wilting produce, like lettuce and herbs, increase humidity as needed.
When stocking your fridge for nutrient-rich meals, protein should be at the forefront. However, keeping protein fresh before you have time to whip up a meal can be challenging. Luckily, meats store well in the freezer and preserve for months. That said, thawing protein takes time, and sometimes you need quick and easy, which is why stocking up on eggs is a must for any health enthusiast.
Eggs pair well with nearly any meal, are easy to prepare and are long-lasting in the refrigerator. Simply add a potato, vegetable, or slice of whole wheat bread, and you have a hearty, healthy meal.
It’s common practice to keep your milk in the door of your fridge, and although convenient, it may not be the best spot for dairy longevity. Instead, try keeping your dairy products near the back towards cool, dry spaces to keep cow’s milk, cheeses, and butter at peak quality. Additionally, check the product’s 'best by' date and keep an eye out for funky smells or odd coloration to determine its freshness.
When it comes to eating a balanced diet, monitoring your water intake is critical. However, spicing up your drink options can keep meals interesting, and in some cases, act as a substitute for smaller meals and snacks. Make sure you stock up on meal replacement drinks, like smoothies and protein, shakes, natural juices for a sweet retreat, and a jug of fresh citrus water for added nutrients.
When building your grocery list, it’s easy to focus on your main meals and forget healthy snacks. Although it would be wise to avoid overly processed treats and sugary sweets, keeping quick fixes like overnight oats, pre-cut fruit, and string cheese on hand can tide you over between meals. Plus, they’re easy to grab on the go during busy mornings or mid-afternoon breaks. Simply place snacks in a bin towards the front of your fridge for easy access.
When it comes to perfecting your weekly fridge restock, purchasing fresh produce, quick-prep proteins, and nutritious snack options are essential to maintain a healthy diet. Don’t be afraid to switch things up depending on which foods you gravitate towards most often.
Linda Williams is a University of Illinois at Chicago alumnus who has nurtured a successful career as a legal secretary over the last 20+ years, supporting some of the most esteemed attorneys in Chicago. When she's not writing legal documents at lightning speeds or developing her personal writing portfolio, she enjoys spending time with her beautiful children -- especially her new granddaughter! According to Williams, "nothing sparks joy quite like quality time with family, a good book, and opportunities to find your creative voice."
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