Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

I believe in the power of a tidy, happy refrigerator to promote healthy eating - even if I don't always succeed. And those of you who follow me on Instagram know I like to take a few minutes to freshen up my refrigerator each weekend. I'm working on a more detailed post about my favorite fridge storage strategies, best containers, produce preservation tips, and the like, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share some of the refrigerators I've come across and taken note of. Especially in this era of KonMari ;). These are refrigerators on their #fridgegoals A-game. Masters of refrigerator organization (or simply deploying a super clever tactic or two).

Before we start, there are a few best practices I've come to embrace. The aforementioned weekly tidy is key. I typically do mine on Saturday after getting home from the farmers' market. Wash and prep as many of your ingredients as possible at this time, and you'll thank yourself later. It might sound strange, but I think of this exercise as merchandising my refrigerator. And when you do it, far less goes to waste, and you'll feel more energized about cooking throughout the rest of the week.

1. My Refrigerator
This is where I'm at - a work in progress, but I have a few set-in-stone strategies. First, like I mentioned up above, try to tidy it once a week. Second, store things in clear containers, preferably glass. That way you can see everything you have at a glance. I LOVE our counter depth refrigerator, because it doesn't allow things to hide in the far back corners. Everything is up front and in your face. I want to get a wine bottle insert (mentioned below), and love anything stackable, like the Weck jars, which come in a range of sizes. These containers have been great, these (w/ compartments) are great for lunches on the go, and keeping things separate. I post refrigerators shots here now & then.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

2. Kristen's Eat to Live Fridge - (Hello Nutritarian)
Woah. I'm not sure I've seen a stronger fridge game. Look at all the color here! And the prep! And when you get past that, look at the storage strategy. A lot of super smart suggestions on all fronts here. More shots from Kristen.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

3. The Home Edit's Updatable Labeling
Labelling is key, especially in the freezer, or for anything that isn't going to get used in a few days. Until now, I've always used washi paper tape to label jars and baggies, but I'm loving Clea and Joanna's chalk marker strategy as well. Super clever, and easily helps your family put things where they're supposed to go. More details here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

4. How to Stock Your Fridge (& Cook) Like an Adult - (Refinery 29)
A nice snapshot of three culinary pros - Karen Mordechai, Lauren Godfrey, and Barrett Prendergrast. You can see some clever strategies in the photos - bowls for produce, wrapping greens, the catch-all nut drawer, etc. See the profiles here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

5. Beyond Meal-prep & CIY meals - (Coveteur)
I thought this portrait of Samantha Wasser's refrigerator was interesting because it shows how things might come together if you're more likely to buy your meals vs. cook them. There are a lot of people who don't cook much, and I thought this seemed like a better option than ordering lots of take-out. Lunch, dinner, breakfasts, and lots of drinks for a few days at least.
More photos of Samantha's kitchen here, and check out Sarah Britton's kitchen / fridge while you're there.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

6. Jen's Counter Depth Fridge & Freezer Strategy - (I Heart Organizing)
I love Jen's use of those little mini-bins, and the can holder. Super clever. And her detailed freezer drawer write-up makes me feel like there might be hope for mine. Some great ideas, aprticularly for anyone with a counter depth, French door, and freezer drawer configuration. Mini-bins on order ;) More details here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

7. Lots of Jars & Baskets - (The Intentional Minimalist)
This is one of the few examples I could find with clever use of natural fiber baskets. I like how Kristin has used them here, and look at her smart use of large jars for greens. More tips from Kristin here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

8. Merchandise Your Healthy Drinks - (Brit + Co)
I'm a big fan of this strategy (as you can see in the opening photo). Storing hydrating, healthy beverages in glass containers and carafes is a sleek, beautiful way to showcase drinks. I also like the vote for clear containers here. There are a lot of fridge organization articles that highlight opaque containers, making the contents hard to see, and easy to forget about. Get the recipe here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eatings

9. Wine & Tall Bottle Inserts - (The Container Store) I find myself short on space for tall items like wine bottles and sparkling water. Not sure why it didn't occur to me to add some bottle inserts, but this post got me thinking. More photos here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

10. Wide Open - What European Chef's Keep in their Refrigerators - (Bon Appétit) In case you weren't sure how a chef can differ from a home cook, their refrigerators lend some fascinating insights. Bon Appétit highlights Inside Chefs' Fridges, Europe, a book by Adrian Moore and Carrie Solomon. Read the article & browse the pics.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating
Lastly, I want to note, this post is focused on refrigerators. Freezers are another thing altogether - laugh/cry. I'm still trying to get a handle on mine, and haven't quite been able to nail down a great system, it always turns into a dumping ground. More to come on that front, in the meantime, hopefully there is something here that will inspire!

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  • I love your blog and cook from it at least once a week. So I'm a fan. A big fan. But as much as I might dream of a photo-perfect fridge, it's out of reach for me and many other families where kids are in the picture and both parents work outside the home with little extra support. In our world we settle for semi-functional and not too many science projects in the back corners. But we keep cooking!

    Erin O'Brien
    • That's 100% all that matters Erin! I will say, that even if I do a 5-10 minute clean out on the weekend, it makes ALL the difference. And we've all had the science experiments at one point or another ;). xx!

      Heidi Swanson
  • Thanks, Heidi! I wonder, though, with produce out in the open in the fridge, doesn't it dehydrate/wilt? And using baskets in the fridge - I question how clean I could keep them. Do you think these are issues?

    Alison
    • I only keep veggies in the open if I'm going to use them that day. With baskets, I think for some people they can work. Nothing wrong with taking a vacuum to them if a good shake doesn't do the trick. I think the main thing with anything like this, it to put a system and structure in place for what works in your life, not someone else's. :)

      Heidi Swanson
  • In the photo of your fridge, where did you get your bottles with the glass stoppers? They are wonderful. Thinking you might have a shrub in them?

    nicola
    • Hi Nicola! Its hibiscus tea :) And the decanters are from LSA. I have a few and I brew & chill different teas and shrubs in them.

      Heidi Swanson
  • Loved this post!! I also do a weekly bit of a clean up, the day before i do my weekly big shopping trip (i always stop for additional produce at some point in the week). After my cleaning through the fridge i have all the bits that need to be used up and have made some fun impossible to replicate meals- the Salad of Everything, Random Things in Stir Fry, and All of the Herbs Sauce to name a few :) I reuse a lot of jars that would otherwise be recycled and write in the glass with a Sharpie, the writing comes off easily with the srubby side of a sponge

    Ttrockwood
  • More shots of small fridges, please! Our apartment doesn't have full-sized appliances, and it's haaaard to keep it under control.

    Elizabeth
  • I don't do it weekly, but my fridge is probably the only place in my life where I am pretty consistently organized! It never looks as pretty as any of these though! Thanks for sharing - I've got more inspiration to up my fridge game!

    Things2Eat
  • Thanks Heidi!!!!

    Adrian
  • This is so inspiring! There's nothing better than a clean, organized fridge. Which reminds me...I need to give mine a once-over. :)

    Erica Lea | Buttered Side Up
  • I loved this post! I have become obsessed about storing everything in glass jars. After staying in a B&B in southern France many years ago with access to the owners fridge, I fell in love with the way Europeans stock their fridges and also waste so little. Storing in glass Makes it so easy to know exactly what and how much of it you have. Love Kristen's frig with the Ball jars and sprouting lids for greens. Definitely want to try that.

    Sue Peters
  • Wow, inspiring! I wonder, though--don't vegetables wilt when plunked in the fridge naked? I feel as if carrots and kale spoil faster if I even leave their plastic produce bag too open to the cold air. Am I imagining that? Obviously the best practice would be to clean everything and stash it in a glass container right away...I try!

    HS: Hi Robin, if I'm going to use them in the next meal or two I might leave them. Goes for herbs too. But I'll wrap herbs in a damp paper towel and place in a baggie if I want them to last for a few days. I try to break down kale asap if I'm not going to use it for the next meal...

    Robin
  • Great post!! I just gave a question about the metal lids on your ball jars - do you find these ok? I always wondered if these were a good option ... :)

    Kim
  • Beautiful fridges but none of these seem to be for families/people with kids. The amount of food in most of these would only last couple days in our house.

    Maya
  • For anyone interested in this topic, I would recommend the book "Slim by Design" by Brian Wansink. It's more than a "diet book", despite the title, and includes lots of information about manipulating your environment to encourage healthy eating. He has a section about arranging your fridge to optimize your chances of selecting vegetables and fruits.

    Anne
  • My husband and I created a photo stream for the freezer. Every item that goes in gets photographed and dated so we always know what is in there and what needs to get used. We delete photos out of the stream as we use them.

    Em
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