Clean your Fridge ……. PERIOD!

Forget the diet , Forget the TV Shows , Forget all those weight loss schemes !! JUST FORGET IT !!!!!.

If you want to feel more energetic, improve your health and perhaps lose a few pounds, cleanse your fridge instead. Taking stock of what’s inside your refrigerator – and deciding what to keep and what to toss – is the first step toward making nutritious food choices.

Giving your fridge – and pantry (more on that next week) – a spring makeover will help ensure you have the right foods on hand for healthy meal prep and, if stored properly, you’ll reduce food waste, too.

The thing called Refrigerator !!

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ANATOMY OF A NUTRIENT-PACKED FRIDGE

Start by emptying your fridge and cleaning the shelves with hot soapy water. As you return items, check best-before dates on salad dressings, condiments, nut butters and other packaged foods. (Read to the bottom for more details.)

Now you’re ready to stock up on nutrient-packed, minimally processed foods. Here’s my go-to guide to a healthy fridge – it’s actually a peek inside my own fridge – that will keep your eating habits on track.

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Fresh fruits and vegetables

I prep my produce in advance for the week to ensure I actually eat what I buy instead of tossing out wilted, rotting vegetables. To do this, wash and dry lettuce, SPINACH,Coriander ..blah blah in short all those leave veggies , then wrap it in paper towels and store it in resealable produce bags, or best brown baggies .

To prolong freshness, use your crisper drawers properly. Produce that releases ethylene gas, which cause them to rot prematurely, should be stored on the low-humidity setting. These include apples, pears, ripe bananas, ripe avocados, mangoes,  melons, papayas to name a few .

IMG_5976Store produce that wilts from moisture loss, as well and fruits and vegetables sensitive to ethylene gas, in the high-humidity drawer (e.g. leafy greens, fresh herbs, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant,  zucchini).

Stock produce strategically, too. I store a bowl of fresh fruit on a shelf where my family can see it as soon as they open the fridge. It makes healthy snacking easier when hunger strikes.

Dairy

My staples include plain yogurt, cheese , cottage cheese , sometimes  all the times Cream cheese !

You won’t find highly processed margarine in my fridge. Instead, I stock butter and, since I always  use it, I store it in the door of my Fridge .

Eggs

Eggs will last longer in the fridge, provided you don’t put them in the door. The cold does make them last, but constant changes in temperature can make them go off quicker. They should be kept nearer the back of the fridge, where the temperature is more constant.

Nuts

Packed with healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, nuts are a regular feature in my fridge. (They go rancid more quickly when stored at room temperature due to their high fat content.) My staples include raw almonds, cashews and walnut halves, all tasty pairings with dried fruit.

Roasted nuts also have a reserved spot in my freezer . I alternate between roasted slivered almonds, pine nuts, shelled pistachios and pumpkin seeds.

I toss roasted nuts into salads, add them to yogurt and sprinkle them over stir-fries. It takes only 3 to 8 minutes to roast them in a 350-degree oven.

Plant proteins.

Canned beans are super convenient,( bangalore has a lot of canned beans on the shelves these days ) but I have always been soaking and cooking dried beans on the weekend. It’s easy to do and can be done while you’re doing something else, including sleeping.

Cooked beans keep in the fridge for up to four days (or up to three months in the freezer). Seasoning with salt will prolong their refrigerated shelf life to one week. I add them to soup, salad and tacos.

Condiments

My condiment shelf includes mustard, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salsa, fish sauce, curry paste, sesame oil, walnut oil, capers, olives, hummus and Hot sauce . I buy small jars and bottles of everything so I can use it before the best-before date.

Leftovers

I purposely make enough to have leftovers for quick, healthy meals during the week. To prevent left-over mysteries – and food waste – I store them in clear glass containers so I can easily see what’s inside. Leftovers will keep for four days in the fridge.


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WHAT TO TOSS AND WHAT TO KEEP

“Best-before” dates indicate how long a product will retain its peak freshness, flavour and quality; they don’t tell you about the food’s safety. Once you open a food package, best-before dates no longer apply.

Many refrigerated foods can be eaten safely soon after their best-before dates have passed, provided they’ve been stored properly. That’s true for milk, yogurt, eggs and many condiments. (They may not taste as fresh, though.)

However, the quality and safety of fresh meat and poultry, deli meats and smoked fish decrease after the best-before date. Once past their prime, throw these foods out.

Resist the temptation to combine the contents of open jars of identical products since their best-before dates may be different depending on when you bought them and how long they’ve been opened.

Pitch any leftovers that have been refrigerated for more than four days.

Next post on how to Clean your fridge 🙂

until then happy Housekeeping !!

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