Thursday, March 7, 2013

Now Is The Time To Organize Your Healthy Whole Foods Refrigerator

Since I changed the foods I eat to organic whole foods and not processed foods as much as possible, when people come over to our house they want to look in my fridge! Kinda funny! So what exactly 'IS' in my fridge? Lots of plants, nuts, and seeds of course! Yes, I have other stuff in the refrigerator too! So let's find out what is in the Queen's refrigerator, and freezer today! Inquiring minds want to know!

Visitors to my home have told me that I am very organized with my new food lifestyle. Since others have commented about my fridge and pantry, I thought I would share my method of food storage with you in case it helps you to eat more healthy too. I think my 'fridge feng shui' helps me to eat better! This post will deal specifically with how I am arranging items in the fridge and freezer only. I will do the dry pantry in another post. We moved to a different home this past fall that we call our little 'Hobbit House.' I took that opportunity to start fresh with my refrigerator and come up with ways to have quick access the foods I use most often in making smoothies, green juices, and healthy meals. 

I realize everyone may have a slightly different fridge and freezer model. Regardless of your configuration, you might pick up a few ideas here for your situation. I have done this system in the smallest refrigerator that I have ever used. I am sure those with bigger cold storage units could do even better than me. I used to have the standard American diet refrigerator, which looked just like everyone's inside, kind of a mess. Here's what I do now! Let's peek inside my fridge the day I took the photos for this organizational post.

My main secret is using clear bins for those items I use daily, and so the bottles and jars cannot fall over. It makes life so much easier to just pull the bin out a bit, or all the way to get to what you need. There is no spillage or bottle run off rings on the shelves either! Since it was a new refrigerator, I first lined all the shelves with ribbed liner sheets. You can see for yourself that the top shelf of the refrigerator is all clear bins. There is just enough room left to slide the nut milk in between the bins too. One bin is for the squat jarred foods, another is for my smoothie superfoods, and the other is tall bottled items. No these things are not on the door, you will see that area is utilized for other things.

I previously did a post you can find here about my smoothie superfoods organization, and there is a nice close up photo of that handy little bin below. While in my morning zombie mode I simply slide this out of the fridge every day, and set it on the counter next to the blender! So easy, especially since I do not have to dig around the refrigerator and locate the four superfoods that I need add to my smoothies while in my fog. One pass in and out! Not four! Such a great time saver!

I highly recommend you get these clear organizing bins! If you live near a 'Bed Bath and Beyondo' you can get the supplies there, and don't forget your coupons! If you prefer to purchase these items online, I will post links at the end of this article for you, so you can order them while you are thinking about it. We know how that goes...

The second shelf in my refrigerator is for foods that need to be used first, are more perishable, or are recent leftovers. I can see those foods quickly and they do not get lost or forgotten under all the bags of fresh vegetables. I then know just what needs to be used in the next salad or meal. Hubby also has his free range organic fed chicken eggs on this shelf, and I keep my boxed sprouts that I use in smoothies and salads here as well. We got rid of all plastic food containers, using only glass containers for our leftovers now, and they stack nicely on this shelf too. The pullout white drawer below is generally for hubby's goat cheese or small bag items. If you still need to have bit of dairy for a snack, goat cheese would be the healthiest of those choices. Hubby used to store his organic lunch meat here, but he recently gave that up. Eventually you do change your mind about some of the foods you still hang onto when you are getting healthier.

The bottom area of the fridge is for all the fresh produce, either from the CSA or the market. The bottom drawers are my salad, juicing, and root veggies. Since this is a small fridge I cannot fit the cucumbers and carrots in there so they go on the shelf above, just under the lighter produce. If you have a larger refrigerator with bigger drawers you could arrange things differently. There is another clear slide out bin down there that I use for the little bags of seeds, nuts, dried fruits, or grains. Keeps them from getting lost in other places. Yes these things need to be refrigerated, we don't want to eat rancid seeds.

Okay next up is the door! Now you can see the door is filled with mason glass jars filled with whatever nuts, seeds, or grains that I am currently using. I also keep my coconut water for smoothies on the door. Hubby likes cold water so he usually has a bottle of spring water in the door too. Instead of butter in the door we have fair trade dark chocolate! I think that is an excellent switch up don't you?! On the day this photo was taken there were two kinds of probiotics and some maca powder in the door. I also keep any bottled supplements like vegan dha, vitamin D drops, and my recent probiotics in the bottle bin located on the first shelf of the fridge. That works out nicely. You can see I also have a handy hemp seed shaker that I made from my old Parmesan cheese shaker. This is located on the top of the door for easy pullout. I use this everyday on salads and when I am finished I just cover it with a small baggie and rubber band. I love hemp!

Now into our crazy freezer area. This area kept changing, because we no longer eat meats. So as the old grass fed organic meats get used up they are not replaced. Hubby will have some chicken or fish when we eat out, or when he is on a gig, Generally at home he is not eating meat. I also found that I do not use as many grains as I thought I would either. If you are going to have grains and baking flours around for months it is best to keep them in the freezer. I think in anticipation of starting this new food lifestyle I just assumed I would need this stuff. Turns out we rarely use it because I do not do much baking. Since I am trying to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as I can, there is not that much cooking to do as before. No greasy pots and pans to clean up either! Gotta love that! Don't really use ice cubes so that container is better used for broth or pesto cubes. In the warm months leftover smoothie mix would be a better use for ice cube trays! Feel free to click on any of the photos in this post to see them larger.

So for those of you starting into transition, I would say do not overbuy flours and grains, and just get what you need to use for now. You will find your own happy medium. Lately I have been freezing very ripe bananas and having them as ice cream like treats! Oh yum! Along with the spouted and whole grain seed breads, we also keep a supply of organic frozen vegetables and mushrooms handy in the fridge.

The freezer door is for my daily cancer fighting berry supply. In the winter frozen organic berries are the norm in smoothies. When berries are in season I will have them fresh in my daily morning smoothie. Coconut flakes and veggies may end up on the door too.

I hope sharing how I store my produce and organic perishables in the refrigerator and freezer has been of help to you in arranging your healthy life! Let me know if anything you do may be of help to the rest of us too! Soon the weather will change and even more goodies will be ready for us to eat! So now is the time to organize and get your refrigerator and freezer ready! As promised, I am listing a number of the products available on Amazon that are similar to what I purchased to do my organizing in the fridge. Hope this helps too.

Check out whats in my pantry!
Check out how to organize super-foods for morning smoothies!

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