How to stock a fridge/pantry to help you reach your health goals

I often say, “I can tell a lot about someone’s diet just by looking in their fridge and pantry.” Maybe you need to ask yourself, “What does my fridge say about me?”

There are two main decisions you need to make in order to stock up on healthier food:

  1. What to buy
  2. How to store it

To start stocking your fridge right, check out my own shopping list. You can print this list and circle/underline what you will be adding to your fridge and pantry this week. If you have items that are not on this list, ask yourself, “Why did I purchase this?” and “How will I feel after I eat this?” and even “Is there a healthier alternative to eat instead?” These three questions will help you determine what to throw away and what to keep. Starting with a freshly stocked fridge and pantry is the first step to a nutritious meal plan.

REMEMBER, choose produce and items that show the rainbow and have a variety of textures. This will keep you enjoying your healthy foods every meal.


Vegetables (50% of your shopping list)Fruit (10% of your shopping list)
Spinach, kale, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, beans/peas, cabbage, sweet potato, cucumber, squashes, mushrooms, lettuce/leafy greens, onions, Swiss chard, tomato (fits into the veggie part of your list though it is a fruit)Apple, berries, dates, pears, oranges/tangerines, banana, melons, grapes, peach, nectarine
Frozen vegetablesFrozen fruits
Brussels sprouts, green peas, stir-fry veggie mix, spinach, and many others! Canned veggies can be higher in sodium, so I recommend you choose frozen. Beans are the exception: Choose low-sodium beans and rinse for 5–15 minutes in running water to eliminate as much salt/sodium as possible.Berries, banana (will turn brown, so use it for a baked good), grapes (great as an ice cream/cold snack alternative)
Grains (20% of your shopping list)Dairy/Protein (20% of your shopping list)
Whole wheat, amaranth, quinoa, rice (brown, wild), barley, corn bran, couscous, kamut, millet, oats, rye, spelt, and teffLower-fat dairy or dairy alternative, low-fat yogurt and Greek yogurt Protein: A main source of protein will come from your vegetables, beans, and grains. For meat protein: Choose chicken breast, fish, eggs, or pork/beef “loin” (loin cuts are lowest in fat).
Avocado, olive oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, toasted sesame oilFresh garlic, fresh ginger, fresh cilantro, fresh green onion/chives, fresh parsley, basil, Thai basil, salt-free spice mixes, and SO many others! Go spice crazy!
Soy sauce (tamari sauce is gluten free) or liquid aminos (more healthy!), mustard, salsa, pesto, tomato paste, lemon juice, vinegar, hummus, guacamole, and nut buttersWater (seltzer, mineral, or purified), fresh vegetable juices, coconut water, water infused with fruit (lemon, berries, etc.), herbal tea (cold or hot)


IN A COOL, DRY PLACEProduce: bananas (stored separately), tomatoes, potatoes, lemons, limes, mushrooms (washed), eggplant (use within a few days), potatoes (ventilation is key), garlic, gingerOils: Oils will be fine if they are stored below 70°F and used up regularly. If you purchase bulk olive oil, the bulk should be stored in the fridge.
IN THE FRIDGEMost fruits and veggies can be stored in the refrigerator. And using a crisper drawer will help protect your produce and keep the moisture in to maintain freshness longer.Lettuce and leafy greens should be washed before refrigerating. Dry the leaves and store them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels. Asparagus, celery, green onions, and fresh spices like cilantro/parsley should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped with a moist paper towel, or you can stand them up in a glass of cold water wrapped with a damp paper towel. Dairy/meat: Store in the back of the fridge! Do not store them in the front or in the door for food safety. Whole grain breads last a bit longer in the fridge.
IN THE FREEZERThe freezer is great for lower-moisture produce (high-moisture produce, e.g., lettuces, will get mushy). Examples: berries, beans/peas, spinach, kale, peppers, etc. Also, if you find an item of fresh produce is looking a little poor, then freeze it in an air-tight container and you won’t have to throw it out. Whole grains or grain flours: Most last longer and stay fresher in the freezer or back of the fridge in an air-tight container.
STORED FOR SNACKING AND MEALSStore your snacking produce (washed and chopped) in glass containers! Keep them front and center in your fridge for quick access for those snacky cravings when we find ourselves peeking into the fridge. Portion your cooked meals into “eat now,” “leftovers,” and “freezer meals.” If you triple your recipe portions, you will save lots of time and also make choosing your healthy meals a lot easier since they are ready to go.

Here are my easy staples that I keep in my fridge ALL THE TIME. Why? They last a long time and are easy to prepare and add to my favorite healthy meals:

Vegetables/Fruit: cabbage, squash, onion, peppers, apples, cucumbers, spinach (freeze after a few days), lettuce, tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans

Grains: whole grain bread, quinoa, brown jasmine rice

Dairy: Low-fat milk/soy/almond milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese

Meat: Chicken breast, shrimp, cold-water marine fish (great source of omegas)

Oils: Olive oil, grape seed oil, toasted sesame oil (great for flavor!)

Remember, just looking at your fridge and pantry will tell you how healthy you will eat that week. Make sure it is telling you all good things. Then add in a healthy exercise routine, and before long people will be looking at you and correctly guessing that you have mastered diet and supplementation!

If you are looking to reach your health and fitness goals find more information on my social media channels: Facebook-personal training with lisa, Instagram @ptwithlisa

This article was written by : Sarah Elijah Scherer, Shaklee Pure Performance Team Dietitian/Nutritionist