What better time to reorganize and refresh your refrigerator than the new year? Take this time of renewal to toss the bad stuff, stock up on healthy foods and organize - to set yourself up for success.
Put “green-light” snacks in plain sight
Fresh fruits and veggies should be the first thing you see when you open your fridge (along with other plan-friendly picks like fat-free yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or whatever else you like to munch on). Ideally, everything that you can eat raw should also be pre-washed and trimmed if necessary and portioned into easy-to-grab single servings. Apply the same strategy to your pantry with popcorn, nuts and other shelf-stable snacks. Budget 15 minutes after your grocery-store run to getting everything squared away.
Be productive with your produce!
Who wants to fish out slimy cucumbers, shriveled peaches, or moldy berries from the depths of the vegetable and fruit bins? You should use them sooner rather than later, of course, but how you store them makes a difference, too. For instance, did you know that there’s a reason you have separate fruit and vegetable drawers? It's because some fruits give off a gas called ethylene that can speed up ripening and therefore spoilage in certain vegetables (try these other smart ways to keep vegetables fresh longer.) So what to do with all that bounty at the peak of its freshness? Get cooking! Just enter your chosen ingredient(s) into the search bar on your home page and filter by meal occasion or type to get delicious options. Or whip up our Cajun Shrimp Sauté.
Keep treats out of sight or out of the house
This one seems like a no-brainer, but can be hard to heed! If a certain food, like cheese or ice cream, is a true trigger food—meaning you have trouble controlling portions and/or working it into your SmartPoints Budget—you’re better off not having it at home at all (even low-fat or fat-free varieties, if you might consume them in large quantities.) If you can work them into your plan now and again, stash them in the back of the fridge or freezer, so they’re not so in-your-face. Similarly, ditch restaurant leftovers if they’ll just taunt you. Bringing home half of a healthy but oversized meal is one thing. Hanging onto containers of your husband’s Chinese food or your daughter’s leftover pepperoni pizza is only a good idea if you know you’ll be able to resist them, or can work them into your daily budget. If not, toss them.
Tip: If your leftovers can be frozen, that’s another option – it’s hard to impulse-eat a slice of pizza straight from the freezer!