Jul. 24. 2015
Home & Garden
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A simple guide to which 10 Foods to Always Keep in Your Fridge.

Trust me, this was a hard task trying to whittle down a list of 30+ ingredients that I love keeping in the fridge, to these bare basics everyone and anyone should keep in their fridge. Let’s get to it!

What to keep stocked in the fridge

Being prepared with your favorite healthy ingredients in the fridge and in the pantry are vital to keeping food fun, versatile, and consistent for your health goals.

I know when I don’t have my pantry or fridge stocked, that’s when I crave not-so-healthy food the most and are more apt to reach for it due to convenience; but I promise once you get in your Batch Cooking day groove and are meal planning like a boss, you’ll have no challenges keeping your fridge and pantry stocked for the week ahead (sometimes month ahead depending on the ingredient).

1. Homemade nut/seed milk

Pretty straightforward, these are not only so easy to make but I promise you’ll love the taste far more than store-bought, and they’re budget-friendly. Try: Guide to Nut Milks | Strawberry Brazil Nut Milk | Vanilla Cashew Milk | Chocolate Almond Milk

2. Homemade nut/seed butters

Making your own nut and seed butter is incredibly fun because you can add flavors like ground cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, etc. to give it a boost of flavor. You also have total control over how much sodium/sea salt is used and no sugar! Try: Classic Cashew Cheese | Lemon Cashew Cream | Whipped Almond Butter 

3. Fermented foods

Fermented foods are so important in our diet to get probiotics straight into our digestive systems which helps improve digestion and keeps us feeling and looking great. Try: Ultimate Kimchi | store-bought kimchi or fermented veggies that are organic and raw (these will retain and have probiotics)- no canned sauerkraut here folks!

4. Mustard

Okay, some of you might be thinking, really mustard? In the top 5? YES! This is totally out of personal preference because I adore mustard- especially all the fancy flavored ones and high-quality mustards but also because mustard is one of few condiments that are negligible in calories/sugar/fat/etc. and add heaps of flavor in small amounts!

Choose organic brands as much as possible and have some fun with the flavors making sure all the ingredients are ones you can pronounce and there are no added refined sugars.

5. Fresh vegetables

I think this goes without saying, but it’s gotta be on this list! Frozen vegetables are totally fine if that’s the only way you can find organic sweet corn in the dead of winter or organic spinach in your region- but the top priority is finding fresh vegetables.

You’ll have more culinary variety and the nutrition is at its peak! A tip is to clean and wash all the vegetables, cut and slice any for quick snacks (like carrots, cucumbers, etc.) and store them in airtight glass containers. Reference the “How to Store Produce” blog post to get a full detailed list of how long to store each vegetable.

6. Fruit

Reference the “How to Store Produce” blog post to get a full detailed list on which fruits are best left out at room temperature and which ones do great in the fridge. In a nutshell, fruit that has been cut into should immediately be put in the fridge or those fruits that are getting really ripe like berries or even bananas.

7. Already Batch Cooked Foods

I feel like a broken record, but I have to say meal planning and spending some dedicated time every weekend to plan ahead with your cooking is KEY to your health and success in the long-term and that’s what I’m all about here!

No quick overnight fixes, fads, or diets, just teaching yourself how to be healthy for life. Storing your batch-cooked items such as cooked quinoa, rice, hard-boiled eggs, roasted veggies, hummus, homemade nut milk, etc. will keep you on track and be simple to reheat for a quick dinner or top on a large salad for a simple lunch. Read more about how to batch cook here + shopping lists and more.

8. Green Smoothies or Juices

A must-have on my list of things to always have stocked in the fridge! I make these in large batches to last me at least 2-4 days depending on the serving size; these are full of nutrition packed into a small volume and always keep my energy lasting throughout the entire morning. Read more about the Stripped Green Smoothie and why it’s not just another “green smoothie”- this one’s powerful and purposeful!

9. Unsweetened Beverages

Think beyond the homemade nut/seed milk, such as coconut milk, coconut water, iced Turmeric Tea, chilled Turmeric Milk, Chia Fresca, Stripped Green Juice, Simply Infused Water, etc. These will keep you hydrated throughout the week and can be a nice way to curb what you think is hunger, but is most likely thirst.

10. Meal Prep Components

Stocking your fridge with healthy food and healthy food that you just made on your batch cooking day is half of the puzzle, you always want to make sure you’re storing things in airtight containers as often as possible to keep food fresh for the week. My new obsession are these glasslock containers, I’ve been using them for everything in the fridge and they stack well (which is amazing for small spaces!).

A couple of other resources you may enjoy too!