Refrigerator and freezer staples

refrigeratorPreviously we covered staples that should be included in every pantry. Today we’re going to talk about the refrigerator and freezer. As always, think K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple), and balanced.

Fruits & Veggies
Like most people, I end up in the kitchen looking for a snack eventually. I find myself grabbing a piece of fruit, or raw vegetables.

It’s a good idea to keep enough of these in the refrigerator to get through the week. Don’t over do it though, or you will end up throwing some away.

Fruit is not only a fantastic snack, it can be a wonderful ingredient in many recipes. Check out some examples in various Caribbean and Asian dishes.

Vegetables should find their way into most of your meals. Don’t just use corn or celery either. Mix things up with a wide variety of veggies. Be adventurous-try one new veggie per week.

Canned fruits and vegetables are not the best source of nutrients, although, as we discussed before, they can be a meal saver. On the other hand, do not discount frozen. Most of the nutrients are still in tact. The price of frozen items is usually pretty good as well.

Condiments
Probably, of all of the items in the ‘fridge, this can be the one that gets us in the most trouble.

Lemon and lime juice can be used for many things, from flavoring water to rice. One of the little squeeze bottles is not only inexpensive, but very handy. You will never get seed in your iced tea, or get a squirt in the eye (unless you can’t handle the bottle, in which case you should probably just stay out of the kitchen).

Mustard is another of those items that can be used in such a wide variety of ways. Yellow mustard is inexpensive, and is pretty good calorie wise. The “gourmet” type mustard cost a little more, but have wonderful flavors.

Salad dressing is always a good thing to have on hand. Stay away from any of the creamy variety. I know, they are my favorite too. They are also the worst for you. Instead, oil based dressings are not only good for salads, and dipping, they can be used on pastas. If you just refuse to give up the Ranch dressing, use it sparingly.

Another item that is a big problem causer, but is a must-have, would be butter. In my opinion, use the real thing-unsalted butter. If you go this route, use as little as possible. Some people just can not go to real butter. In that case look for a yogurt based spread. Whatever you decide, make sure that the “hydrogenated” is nowhere to be seen. This is the dreaded trans fat. It should be avoided at all costs.

For the carnivores among us
The best way to obtain protein is through meat. There just is no substitute. (To any vegetarians that may be reading this-You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept that statement as fact)
When selecting meat, the leaner the better. Your selection should include red meat, poultry, and fish. If you don’t like one of these, don’t have to use it. Just keep in mind that all three categories have their place.

Look for family packs. If you shop with a watchful eye on sales, this is an excellent way to save money. If prepared properly, it freezes very well. A tip from Alton Brown is to cool the meat in the refrigerator before placing in the freezer. For some Alton’esk-scientific reason, this reduces the chances of the dreaded freezer burn.

Misc.

You would do well to keep eggs in the refrigerator. A wonderful source of protein, and about as versatile as it gets.

Bread was covered in Pantry Staples as well. Bread freezes well. Don’t eat a lot of bread. Occasionally it is a must-have though. When you need it, it is easily accessible in the freezer.

Beverages are a good thing to keep handy. Milk is an easy source of milky goodness. It tastes great, and it’s good for you (as long as you’re not lactose intolerant. In that case, step away from the milk). A pitcher of tea and or water is a great addition to any fridge. They’re refreshing, and good for you. Just keep the sugar/sweetener to a minimum.

Last, but not least I give you cheese. Limit the amount of cheese that you eat. Repeat after me, “moderation“. Cheese can be a wonderful snack, as well as a valuable ingredient in some recipes. –See milk for the lactose intolerant warning.

These are just some of the items that you should keep stocked up on. These should help make proper lifestyle changes. What are others?

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9 Responses to “Refrigerator and freezer staples”

  1. Tim says:

    That’s a pretty nice break down of items to keep in the refrigerator and freezer.

    I didn’t see it listed, but I also keep frozen fish in the freezer. Mostly halibut, but I try to get salmon when I can find it on sale.

    Thanks

  2. I agree with these foods. I also keep Activia Light Yogurt (vanilla and key lime) on hand at all times, as well as eggs. Ketchup is disgusting and so is Mayo. Occasionally I keep a jar of Miracle Whip Light around, but it doesn’t get used often. Any chance of getting a link on your blogroll?

  3. Todd says:

    I also use Miracle Whip Light when the need arises. Eggs are one of those things that we always have plenty of in the fridge. I’ve been getting brown, cage-free, organic eggs. They’re only slightly more expensive, but they are tasty, and the chickens are not given all of that crud to make them bigger.

    You’ll be added to the blogroll when I get home this afternoon. Frankly, I thought that I had you on there already.

  4. Wish I read this before I went to the store last night!

  5. phit_admin says:

    Julie, there’s always next week. :)

  6. Great list. I love fruit and veggies. I basically eat chicken breast and fish. My down fall is my sweet tooth…I love chocolate and Nutella.

  7. phit_admin says:

    @ClinicallyClueless, you’re not alone with that sweet tooth. Here in San Antonio, breakfast tacos are very popular. That is my weakness.

  8. [...] Pantry Staples & Refrigerator Staples – A big part of being fit is what you eat. Having some basics available can help you control [...]

  9. Really good material, thanks!
    Always keep Working!
    :)

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