May 2, 2016, (Gephardt Daily) – It is time to get your fridge clean, cold, and organized for summer eating and drinking. Smart use of space and containers can also help you and your family take advantage of healthy seasonal fruits and veggies.
The trick is to give yourself “elbowroom” inside the refrigerator or a way to find items, easily check expiration dates, and make sure the cold air can circulate to reduce waste, and spoilage, and avoid any health risks.
Doors. These are the best spots to store items that do not require the coldest temperatures to stay fresh. Some suggestions might include: condiments, water, soda, liquor, and pasteurized juices.
Milk and fresh juices. It is really important to store both of these heavily used items in the body of the fridge where it is the coldest. But again, make them easy to grab. One idea might be a sturdy turntable that gives everyone in the family a chance to see and reach these drinks. A spin tray is available for $14.99 at the Container Store.
Leftovers. We’re all guilty of avoiding the leftovers, especially if we can’t see them tucked in the back of the fridge. So, make sure they can be seen so someone is more likely to eat them. Since glass is best for reheating, a couple of suggestions for storage might be: Anchor-Hacking stackable containers in sets starting at $34.99 at Crate and Barrel. There’s also an affordable set of three containers from Bormioli Rocco Fido.
Meat and poultry. These are one of the few foods that don’t need to be as visible as the others. After all, they are on the menu and once cooked can go into a clear plastic container for leftovers or snacking. In the beginning, however, it is best to keep raw meats of any kind in a tray that will catch drips and place them either on the lowest shelf of the fridge or in the deli drawer where any juices won’t drip onto other foods.
Snacks. These are the healthy fruits and veggies that you want to make easy to grab and go. Fruits might be stored in large bowls or clear plastic containers. Veggies can be cleaned and placed in similar storage boxes or even in one serving plastic bags. Cheese sticks are easy to snag out of a glass and hard-boiled eggs can be stored at eye level in an open-top crate. A trendy ceramic half-dozen egg crate is available from Anthropologie for $12.
We talked with Utah-based food and fitness coach Mindy Buxton about the importance of storing healthy fruits, veggies, pre-cooked meats, and hard-boiled eggs in clear containers, open bowls, and always at eye-level for kids.
“I purposely place them (fruits and veggies) outside the crisper at eye level where my kids and I can just grab them because when we open the fridge that’s often the first things we see,” says Buxton.
In the summer, if kids find it as easy or even easier to find a healthy snack that’s cool and refreshing in the fridge, Buxton suggests they will make the healthier choice and eventually move away from the processed and packaged foods that often populate our pantries.