How to Stock the Perfect, Healthy Fridge

Crafting the perfect fridge takes a lot of effort, and often times a lot of money! Don't be discouraged. For the amount of money most college kids cough up for video games, WiFi and cable, you can buy healthy and organic on a budget. While he loves his games and we do indulge in our Netflix and Hulu, Jared and I choose not to purchase cable TV. We allow ourselves to invest this extra cash into pricier, healthier food that truly nourishes.

First off, you've gotta find a local farmer's market or farm stand that has a reasonably priced selection. For us in Olympia, WA, it's either the Olympia Farmers Market (which can get pretty pricey), or my location of choice: Jay's Farm Stand. 2 minutes away from the local Safeway, Jay's is a convenient, cheaper choice.

I can't lie: over half of the items in my fridge are from Trader Joe's--it's definitely my go-to grocery store. However, if you aren't seeing a nutritionist, it's sometimes hard to tell if their"healthy" snacks are very healthy at all. I've had some luck: their eggplant hummus, dried fruit bags and selection of nuts. Other than that, better safe than sorry.

Here are the staples of my gluten-free, paleo fridge (and freezer):

  • Smoked, pre-cooked salmon fillets, great on salads.
  • Regular fish fillets (salmon, cod, etc.), perfect for baking with some veggies and rice.
  • Canned tuna and salmon, great for salads.
  • Selection of vinegars, tahini and oils to make a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
  • Sauerkraut (I love local OlyKraut brand - original).
  • Unsalted/unsweetened creamy peanut and almond nut butters.
  • Zuccini, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, cilantro, cherry tomatoes.
  • Coconut oil--great for just about everything.
  • Unsweetened coconut milk, perfect on oatmeal or in your morning coffee.
  • Organic oats with no additives (for oatmeal).
  • White jasmine and brown rice.
  • Regular white quinoa.
  • Canned black and organic refried beans.
  • Marinated canned veggies (olives, red pepper, etc.).
  • Hummus, delicious with veggies or veggie chips.
  • Avocados, great source of fat.
  • Strawberries, kiwis, tangerines, raspberries, blueberries, gala apples.
  • Plain tofu (I cut it up into small squares and broil "tofu tidbits" to put on salad and in stir-fries).
  • Eggs.
Things to avoid:
  • Soy milk. Substitute: unsweetened coconut milk.
  • Dairy (if you can help it). Substitute with the above.
  • Any sweet drinks: juice (even "natural"), soda. I will admit, Jared likes his TJ's tangerine juice!
  • Canola and safflower oil (hint: these are in almost everything you might think is "healthy"). Substitute: olive and coconut oil.
  • Processed foods and all salty/sugary snacks (hint: throw out the crackers and bread!)
  • All sugary sweets except the occasional dark chocolate.
  • All wheat and carb-heavy grains. Substitute: rice, quinoa and oats (all GF).
  • Banana, or at least limit your intake (hint: way too much glucose). Substitute: berries or kiwi.
  • Category two vegetables: potatoes, carrots, yams, etc. (hint: moderation is key). Substitute: anything green.

They're not the healthiest things in the world, but if worst comes to worst, I opt for some gluten free sweets, dried fruit or dried veggie chips with light salt (I love dipping veggie chips in hummus).

Most importantly, you want to switch your diet every so often to ensure that you don't get bored of your daily intake. Also, be sure to hit your metabolic rate in calories or you won't burn fat, regardless if you exercise or eat healthy. It can be a challenge, but a healthy stock of food is the first step to leading a more balanced, nutritious lifestyle.

Any questions or suggestions? Leave your comments!

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Kathryn CoffmanComment