Studies show that eating whole real food is best for our bodies, which means a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Sounds easy, go to the store, shop the produce suction, take it home and eat. I bet that cucumber gets to throw in a drawer or back of the fridge and forgotten about till weeks later. Then starts the circle of discouragement of how hard and expensive it is to eat healthily.
Eating fresh whole foods takes some time and prep work. As humans, we don’t just eat with our mouths and taste. We eat with our noses and eyes. Suppose you open the fridge and see a large cucumber or your favorite fruit that needs to be washed and cut. Depending on time and mood, you might pass, move on to the pantry, and grab something quick and easy. This is why prep work is key, making all the fresh whole foods also quick and easy.
Here are some of my favorite tips and fridge organization I have used over the years of prepping my fresh food. When I don’t spend the time preparing, I find I waste more and eat more processed foods.
Fridge or Counter for best results? It is essential to know the best place to store the produce. Not everything needs to or should go in the refrigerator. Some do best on the counter. Tomatoes are one that most people don’t know, should be stored on the counter. The fridge is too cold for them, and they will go mushy quickly.
Wash & cut for grab and go. The day you come home with all your produce, take the time to wash, cut, and store everything. Wash with lemon water to make fruits last longer, or a good produce wash.
Salads: Prep all of your salad toppings, but store them separately. Doing this will allow you to build and change your salads throughout the week.
Fruits: Pre-washed and cut fruit will be easy to grab and eat. Make a fruit salad or prep them individually. Use lemon juice to help keep it fresh.
Visual is everything. If you can’t see it, think out of sight, out of mind.
The right type of containers.
Greens: Use a paper towel in a bag or get a produce keeper container. Keeping the lettuce from getting wet keeps them fresh longer.
Water: Some things like asparagus, carrots, herbs. Need water to keep them fresh and ready to eat. A mason jar with a bit of water is an excellent way to go. Make sure you change the water every couple of days.
Clear containers: Use glass mason jars, clear or glass Tupperware. Keep it stacked and front so that you can see it.
Organization. A clean and organized fridge will make it easier to see all the things there is to eat. A clean, bright fridge will make you feel happy and more joyful about the food than a dark stuff-packed fridge.
Clear containers - have a home for everything. Containers also help keep the shelf clean.
Lazy Susan - Game changer in the fridge! No more loss jars or whatever else you have going on in the fridge. Just spin and find.
Stasher or ZipTop bags - they hold lots and take up less space than bigger containers.
Mason Jars - A cheap and effective way to store produce, keeps it neat and clean.
Self-Serve Area - This is key with kids but also helps with snacking. If the whole foods are easy and self-service, it makes it easier to eat! Better to grab a handful of berries or nuts compared to a handful of chips or chocolate.
Some of my favorite organization products. Some of these links may include affiliate links:
Salad Spinner - Easy to wash ALL produce.
Here is a link to a very detailed and helpful guide of where to properly store your produce. Not my creation but one of the best resources I have found online; check it out here.