Over the last few weeks, I have desperately tried to figure a system of better meal prepping, eating healthier and consequently greatly reduce eating out! Ever since I started working- I kept telling myself this is the weekend to figure it out and meal prep and yet we got lazy and ended up getting take-away/dining out three-four times a week. The truth is there was no real motivation to prep and eat well. I was happy the way our lives were going; we enjoyed lunches with colleagues and dinners with friends. The social aspect and Instagram stories looked great. However, the reality is far from it. I started putting on weight (a lot!!) and my skin started breaking out to a level that frightened me. I blamed it on hormones or “adulting” for the longest time but that clearly was my denial phase.
I could go on about my skin issues but this post isn’t about that- bottom line I figured I had to change my dietary habits. I started reading multiple blogs on healthy eating and meal prepping and pretty much all of them stated that the fridge is the best place to start. I was so enamored and obsessed with Hello Nutritarians fridge that my goal became that. I don’t entirely follow her diet plan but coming to a colorful fridge – something that is so visually appealing seemed like a pretty good way to avoid wanting to eat out.
Step 1: Remove Everything
I started with the basics-taking everything out. My future fridge had to work for my lifestyle and currently it was not it.
Step 2: Clean, Clean, Clean
I wiped and cleaned everything inside out with warm soap water. Got rid of the grease, spills and everything nasty that had accumulated over time.
Step 3: Purge & Mark Short Dated Items
Throw away items that don’t match your image of a healthy lifestyle and anything old and expired. Anything with a short use date- mark with a sharpie. This is also a good time to start making a list of produce/items you may need for the week.
Step 4: Categorize & Allocate Space
Start categorizing and planning your meals. Place relevant foods with each other. I.e. Fruits together, Dairy, condiments, drinks etc. Also think of how to allocate space in your fridge. Every family is different and your food needs might drastically differ to mine. You may have kids that require a certain amount of storage space for their foods etc. Do what works for you and your family.
After a lot of back and forth we finally came up with a system that works for us! Top shelf for drinks and pre-made sauces/chutney, salad dressings and parfaits. Entire middle shelf for meal prepping, fresh juices and condiments. The bottom drawer is used to store fruits/salads and all our drawers were used to store cut veggies. We used the doors to store larger drinks, dairy and probably the most unhealthy- Cadbury! It’s hard finding Cadbury in the US so whenever we have visitors (from the UK), we make a special request for these!
Step 5: Planning & Storing Meals
Once you’ve allocated space. The rest of it comes quite quickly. In an effort to really organize our meals I found the weekly meal planner from dailybloomplanners that is super helpful! The magnetic pad is an added bonus as it just sticks to the fridge. It has also resulted in zero to no wastage of food since we only buy what we truly need for the week. The next to help organize the fridge better and to make cleaning a breeze for next time; I used these fridge bins. They really help holding fruits, veggies, condiments and drinks in place and next time I won’t need to clean the entire fridge but simply wash the bins- making life so much simpler! Finally, during this process I tried to eradicate most of our plastic containers and switched to glass to store food. The main reason was simply because storing food in glass just stays fresh for longer. If we are going to continue doing this week after week then I wanted something that helps us match our lifestyle. Mason Jars with their various sizes and ease of availability are truly ideal- but I kinda got sick of all the lids rusting after a few washes so I switched to Weck Jars.Mostly used for canning in Europe- these jars are slowly becoming more popular in daily use. All of them come with glass lids and you can buy additional plastic lids for ease of use. Amazon, William Sonoma, Crate & Barrel are some stores in the US that sell them but I found the best price from their US Division. Shipping is a bit steep so make sure to get everything you’re looking for in one go.
I hope I’ve inspired you to undertake a fridge-rehaul. It’s totally worth it and truly is the first step to a cleaner, healthier diet! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and ask any questions you may have in the comment section. I would love to hear more from you!