You had the best of intentions when you purchased three grocery bags’ worth of fresh fruit and veg, but then you tucked them in the fridge drawers and never thought of them again—until you found them weeks later, looking all sorts of rotten.
You already know, of course, that healthy weight loss may require making more of your diet come from fruits and vegetables, but getting yourself to actually eat that fresh produce is easier said than done. Taste buds tend to become hooked on sweet and salty foods, making it tough to choose an actual apple instead of an apple danish.
Thankfully, scientific research shows that a few tricks will make you more likely to go for that kale you bought. Here’s how to organize your fridge for weight loss.
Store the healthy food front and center. Studies have found that people are significantly more likely to eat the first thing they see than the fifth, so keep your healthiest options in the front and on the middle shelf. On the other hand, keep high-fat or high-cal foods, spreads, and condiments (like the cream cheese and leftover pasta salad) in the back.
Pair up foods you commonly eat together. If you open your fridge and see celery and hummus sitting together right in the front, you’re more likely to be inspired to snack on it. Keep your apples with your nut butter, your yogurt near the berries, and this artichoke and hummus dip by the sugar snap peas.
Make a DIY salad bar. In clear, easy-to-grab containers, store salad ingredients like chickpeas, edamame, roasted beets, pre-washed spinach, shredded carrots, and cooked quinoa. Making a hearty, flavorful salad is only minutes away if all the ingredients are already prepped. Certified health and wellness coach Claire Brown suggests letting each member of the family build their own bowl and using leftovers for an easy stir-fry.
Prep fruits and veggies right when you come home from food shopping for easy snacks all week long. Dice the melon, peel a few carrots, and hard-boil some eggs so you always have a healthy snack readily available. If you leave the carrots unpeeled, you probably won’t feel like putting in the effort to peel them once you’re hungry and running to the kitchen for a snack. Here are more ideas for simple healthy snacks you can try.
Make fruit-infused water in a pitcher (and nix the soda and other sugary beverages). This is perfect if you’re having trouble drinking enough water every day. “Add chopped lime, lemon, and berries to a pitcher of water and keep it at the forefront of your fridge,” says Maya Rams Murthy, MPH, RD, of Mountain View, California. If you’ve been struggling to kick a soda habit, keeping fruit-infused water in the fridge may be a game-changer for you and your weight loss goals.
Organize with stackable containers. To take it a step further, use clear containers for healthy bites and go opaque for the treats. Remember, you’re more likely to grab the food you see. Out of sight, out of mind. (See #1.)
Ready to organize your refrigerator? Make these swaps and do a little work upfront and you’ll be eating light and right all week long. Another proven weight loss tip? Try keeping a food journal.