How to Stock Your Fridge for Success
It’s Back to School time! I recently sent out an informal survey to all you OvenHuggers asking what would be most helpful in terms of organizing and reducing stress at the start of the school year. As a culture we are bombarded with shopping ads for back to school clothes and school supplies. Do we really don’t need more ‘stuff’? Will more ‘stuff’ help your family be successful and ready to deal with the stresses of school demands and being on a schedule? I personally do not think so. What we all need is more time and more sleep!! How to Stock Your Fridge for Success was the most requested topic from you all and it is a great place to start.
Taking a small step back, we have to start with grocery shopping and take a look at stocking the pantry as well. Prepare yourself for how your family will react to the changes you are about to make in the kitchen and around eating.
Our family has come a very long way in a couple of short years. You may read this post and think that your family will never go for this much health food! If these changes are new I guarantee you will hear complaints…that there is nothing good to eat. However, something interesting starts to happen – suddenly those sliced pineapples and juicy peaches look really good! That nonfat yogurt in the fridge sounds like just the thing! Some crunchy avocado toast with salt satisfies a savory craving.
Be patient with yourself and be patient with your kids. Take your kids or your life partner along with you when you are grocery shopping for the week. Always ask them for their favorites when it comes to fruits and veggies!! Give them a choice between two or three things and they will feel more in control of what there is in store and what there will be in stock.
Before restocking your fridge and pantry do a quick inventory and compost or donate processed and sugary foods like chips, cookies, boxed macaroni and cheese, and protein/breakfast bars. Clear out sodas and juices. Get rid of full fat milk, yogurts and cheeses. Make changes slowly if you need to and again, be patient with yourself and with your family.
How to Stock Your Fridge for Success starts with the grocery store…
Categories for your Grocery Shopping List – Customize for your Family’s Dietary Needs and Tastes:
- Fresh produce – I put this first on the list because I always start here at the store. I focus on stocking up on Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies! It’s the one thing I never say no to when the girls join me grocery shopping. Remember fruit tastes sweet and can be cut up and served in the place of dessert after dinners! Learn what produce is your family’s favorites. Leyla loves raspberries, watermelon, pineapples, peaches, carrots and green peas! Ava loves cherries, big blueberries, plums, cucumbers and fresh snap peas! Bob loves Granny Smith apples. Get frozen fruit and veggies to supplement out of season produce
- Dairy – In our fridge we typically have a variety of milks – nonfat organic milk, nonfat Lactaid/lactose free milk, and unsweetened almond milk. We always have a large carton of organic eggs and a variety of nonfat yogurts, mostly plain
- Lean Meats – we buy organic chicken breasts and ground turkey enough for the week keeping one pack in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. Occasionally we have lean red meat, salmon, and shrimp
- Legumes – our family likes black beans, kidney beans and lentils, how about yours?
- Nuts – if you are fortunate not to have nut allergies in the house, stock up on raw almonds. Almonds are the lowest fat of all nuts and make for a nutritious snack (in small portions – think small handful)
- Pastas & Rice – we buy penne pasta and capellini for pasta; we choose Indian Basmati white rice, and Spanish brown rice for rices. Which are your families favorites?
- Breads – whole grain sliced bread for sandwiches (we love Dave’s Killer bread!) , whole wheat pitas for Bob, whole wheat or corn tortillas
- Cereal – anything 6 grams of sugar or less – these days our family likes Honey Bunches of Oats, plain Corn Flakes, and home-made granola (low fat, low sugar), we like to switch it up keeping the low sugar rule in mind
- Spray Oils – I keep a variety of spray oils in the cupboard – canola spray oil, olive oil spray, baking spray oil (with flour and oil), and spray oil for grilling (can withstand higher temps without burning). We have worked hard to cut down on oil used for cooking and in salads. Spray oil is suitable for cooking most things and lemon juice is our stand by in salads. We do keep a small amount of regular olive oil and canola oil and use it on occassion
- Flavored Waters – our favorite unsweetened, flavored waters include lemon La Croix waters and watermelon Hint water. Flavored waters can help kick soda and/or juice habits
- Coffee and Tea – we drink both. I love coffee and Bob loves tea. Neither has sugar, fat or calories so enjoy them in moderation if you choose
- ‘Red light’ foods (red light foods are foods with caloric density, usually high in fat and/or sugar) in moderation of course! The red light foods we normally have in the house include nut butters, Kind bars, and dark chocolate chips
- Spices – you more than likely already have the spices you like to cook with. I tend to go through garlic and onion powders quickly, sea salt, cumin, and Italian seasonings. I also like to use fresh onions and garlic in most of the dishes I prepare – I keep a jar of fresh, minced garlic in the fridge.
- Vinegars, low sodium soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, light dressing – dips and dressings are very personal so choose what your family likes but watch the sugar and fat content, for example, barbecue sauce can have quite a bit of sugar.
Choosing a healthy Yogurt can be very confusing! There are so many on the market and most have very high sugar content. Buy non-fat yogurts and look closely at the sugar content. Yogurt works great as a healthy substitute for sour creams and mayos in recipes. It also is a great energy booster after school or for breakfast with fresh cut fruit and a touch of honey. If your family is hooked on flavored yogurts, find one with the low sugar – – black label Oikos triple zero brand yogurt is one of the lowest sugar flavored yogurts we have found
Now it’s finally time for you to do some shopping! Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind while you are at the store.
Tips for Grocery Shopping:
- Always stay on the outer rim and avoid the aisles. It’s a simple rule and helps navigate the fact that most grocery stores stock fresh produce, dairy, breads and whole foods on the outside. Processed foods and canned foods tend to be in the center isles. Do your best to avoid the center aisles! You may need to sneak in there to grab a low sugar cereal and some pasta, nuts, and grains – otherwise steer clear of all those boxed and canned temptations!
- Write a weekly shopping list and stick to the list
- Try to do one trip on the weekend to stock up for the week ahead
- Take one of your kids and work together
As I’m wrapping up this post I feel like I should touch on the topic of keeping temptations out of the house. Although I highly recommend you purge most the high fat and high sugar temptations from your house, I’m not recommending that you cut out all your favorite treats. A great strategy is to start a tradition of going out for dessert on the weekends. Go out as a family for ice cream on Fridays or Saturdays or have a baking day. Have a few cookies, then pass the rest along to a neighbor or friend. It is so much easier to make a healthy choice when you’re hungry if there are not temptations in the house.
Thank you for encouraging me to write about How to Stock Your Fridge for Success. I sincerely hope you found this information to be helpful. However, now that you have the ingredients for success, you may find you still need the extra support of a personal health coach. Would I be biased to recommend having a Kurbo coach since I am one myself? Probably, but I’ll tell you about it anyhow! Before I became a Kurbo coach we used one ourselves. Leyla loved working with Coach Allison. I can tell you first hand it is so nice not to have to be the food police as a parent and to have your family guided by a helpful, kind, and motivating coach. For more information on how to sign up for your own Kurbo coach follow this link:
Thank you for responding to my survey questions about blog content for the next few weeks. I’ll cover healthy breakfasts and snack ideas next, followed by sack lunch ideas, and wrap up with dinner ideas that go beyond one night. Lastly we’ll explore decluttering our lives together!! I can’t wait.
Your input and direction for OvenHug for these next few weeks has been so helpful – keep it comin’! Your support means a lot to me and I want you find the content interesting and useful. I look forward to letting you be my guide and seeing where we venture together next!