Diet & Weight Loss
12 Ways Your Fridge Can Help You Lose Weight
A fridge stocked with great picks can get you on a slimmer, trimmer path. We’ve curated tips from nutrition experts about what to toss, what to buy and how to create a plan for healthier eating this fall.
Do a clean sweep
Take an inventory of what’s in your refrigerator, and start your assessment with tossing expired items. “Throw outdated sauces, dressings, and condiments,” advises Anne Mathews, PhD, RDN, assistant professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. She also suggests getting your fridge in order. “A cluttered fridge can be overwhelming and an impediment to seeing and pulling out healthy foods. Arrange your fridge as it is intended and then consider what’s inside.” Use these tips for more healthy eating ideas.
At the heart of a healthy fridge is stocking it with more vegetables. Some great choices to have on hand are a variety of greens, but many people only choose romaine or spinach, says Dr. Mathews, who suggests adding other picks like Swiss chard, bok choy, and arugula to your mix. “Buy pre-washed to save time, or wash and pack immediately after returning from the store or farmer’s market,” continues Dr. Mathews. Further, she says healthful salad toppings such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or flavorful cheeses will add texture, flavor, and nutrients to your salads. Learn more ways to add new greens to your diet.
Buy a variety of yogurts
Dr. Mathews says new flavors and varieties of yogurts that are lower in sugar and high in protein can help keep you full. She recommends Dannon Light, Fit Salted Caramel Greek Yogurt, or Siggi’s Icelandic Style Yogurt. Yogurt can be stored in a backpack or briefcase with an icepack for a snack. Here are more healthy snack ideas to help you lose weight.
Understand portion control
Ally Bowen, a holistic nutritionist and clinical psychotherapist, based in West Columbia, South Carolina, says correct portion size is paramount for weight loss. She suggests using Mason jars. “Small Mason jars are the perfect size for snacks and larger Mason jars are perfect for your salads,” Bowen says. “Keep them all lined up in the fridge and ready to go. Now you have the perfect fridge set up.” Want some tips on mindless portion control?
Keep your choices colorful
Prep your fridge with eye-level foods to snack on that you will enjoy eating to reach your goals? “If you prefer carrots, sliced peppers, and hummus, then enjoy this colorful, crunchy bowl of yumminess,” says Bowen. “Pick what you enjoy; you will grab it first because you can’t wait to munch.” Here’s how to eat the healthiest food using every color of the rainbow.
Create meals that are ready-to-eat
Make your own bento boxes with nuts, cheese, fruit, boiled eggs, diced chicken or turkey, suggests Bowen. “Don’t pay for those overpriced, prepackaged, preservative-filled boxes at the supermarket when you can prep your own and reuse your bento boxes,” she says. “You can’t eat too much broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers or tomatoes on a healthy weight-loss journey, so load up that bento box full of veggies.” Here are more lunch ideas to keep you on track.
Keep hydrated with healthy beverages
If you are craving sugar during your afternoon energy slump, grabbing a bottle of soda or a sugar-filled beverage like lemonade can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, says Caitlin Hoff, Health & Safety Investigator with ConsumerSafety.org based in Syracuse, New York. “Stock your fridge with healthy thirst-quenching beverages like filtered water, flavored seltzer water, or brewed iced tea—without the sugar of packaged products,” suggests Hoff. Make sure you’re not falling for any of these top 10 hydrations myths.
Don’t forget the freezer
Fill your freezer to support your weight-loss goals. “If your freezer is full of ice cream and frozen pizzas, no matter how good your intentions are to lose weight, you are effectively sabotaging yourself,” says Hoff. Replace ice cream with frozen fruit. “One of my favorite healthy dessert combos is to mix frozen blueberries in my single-serve cup of yogurt. The blueberries actually freeze the yogurt as you mix the two giving you homemade frozen yogurt,” she says.
Also, don’t forget to add some frozen vegetables to your freezer’s inventory. “‘There are so many different frozen vegetable medleys in your grocery store freezer section that will keep your veggie options diverse and delicious every night. They are easy to cook and pair with any main dish,” continues Hoff. Check out these eight foods to store in the freezer for quick meals.
Choose your condiments wisely
Stocking your fridge with a variety of mustards, salsas, and other low-sugar, low-sodium condiments that still deliver bold flavor, Hoff recommends. “I am always a fan of a homemade salad dressing as well. Making at home sauces and dressings can keep sodium, sugar, and unnatural ingredients out of your delicious dish toppings,” she says. Don’t miss these 20 healthier versions of your favorite condiments.
Make healthy choices appealing and accessible
A little planning and prep work can go a long way in avoiding temptation. Although you may have the best intention and stock up with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are low calorie and filling, they may be overlooked if they are either out of sight or are too time consuming to prepare. “Try taking them out of the bottom drawers and feature them—pre-cut and packaged in individual serving containers, in the middle of the fridge,” says Andrea Johnson, RD, CSP, LDN, a clinical dietitian in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “If displayed this way, they’re more attractive and tempting.”
Pick protein-packed snacks
Johnson suggests keeping a batch of hard-boiled eggs ready to snack on. “Keep them available for a quick snack from time to time. They are low in calories but very filling due to their high protein,” she says. Further, she says get creative with new combos. “Fiber and protein are some of the best weight-loss tools, so use good sources of those to make fun snack packs. Examples include a baked chicken tender with hummus for dipping, grapes and a sliced cheese stick, or yogurt with pumpkin puree stirred in,” Johnson adds. Try some of these 49 health snacks to satisfy every craving.
Realize where hidden calories lurk
Salads topped with protein can quickly become fat-laden meals if topped with the wrong salad dressing. According to an article in the New York Times, a classic vinaigrette made with nothing more than olive oil, vinegar, shallots, and mustard. Plus, it takes about seven minutes to make, meaning that a bright, fresh green salad is an immediate possibility, any night of the week.