nosy curious by nature, so it may not come as a surprise that when I’m visiting a friend’s house, I get a tiny thrill from peeking inside their refrigerator. It’s weirdly interesting to see what other people are eating, plus the fridge gives a little insight into how they live, too. I have friends whose fridges look like an ad for the local farmer’s market, and I have friends who only stock a bottle of champagne, and their ice roller—a fridge speaks volumes. So, today I’m turning the tables and opening up my own fridge to give you guys a little tour. There are several items that I always keep on hand; those things like eggs, butter, and lettuce that cause near-panic when we run out of them. So, let’s take a look inside, and read on for my checklist of exactly how to stock your fridge so you’re ready for anything.
Overall, I’d say our family follows a pretty Mediterranean-ish diet. We eat a ton of veggies—my rule of thumb is every meal should have at least one veggie (preferably more)—plus fruit, whole grains, good proteins, a little dairy, and meat (but not too much), lots of spices, and herbs. Oh, and some wine and chocolate (always.)
Let’s start with beverages.
Milk. We always have milk on hand. Honestly, my five-year-old, Henry, is obsessed with hot chocolate, so every morning I make him a healthier version with organic whole milk and this probiotic drinking chocolate made with raw cocoa powder and monk fruit.
Almondmilk. I put it in my tea, coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies. When buying almond milk at the grocery, I look for an organic version with the shortest ingredient list. One of my best friends, Jordan makes this nut milk called Fronks that is the absolute best—it makes an incredible latté in my little milk frother. The “original” is made with almonds, cashews, dates, cinnamon, and sea salt.
Sparkling water. I’m honestly not the biggest sparkling water person (if I drink more than a little, it tends to hurt my stomach) but my kids like it, and it’s a good way to make them feel like they’re having something “fancy” without sugar. I do love to make a “ranch water,” which is the Austin-famous cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and bubbly water—this is my favorite.
Half-and-half. My husband, Adam, puts it in his coffee. Again, I think with dairy it’s especially important to buy organic if you can since you want to make sure it’s hormone-free and doesn’t have a lot of additives. I think a good organic half-and-half is often healthier than the plant-based substitutes that tend to have a long list of ingredients and preservatives.
Kombucha. I’ve been on a major kombucha kick lately—it’s really good for when I want a cocktail but maybe I’m taking a break from alcohol since it feels fizzy and festive. It’s also full of gut health-boosting probiotics.
Filtered water with lemon. At night when I’m packing school lunches for the next day, I fill up a pitcher with filtered water, throw a few lemon slices in it, and pop it in the fridge. The next morning, I set it out on the counter for Adam and me while we work from home. It makes drinking water so easy, we have no excuse to not refill our glass all day.
Wine. We have a separate wine fridge where we keep most of our wine, but I always like to keep a bottle of rosé in the fridge because I like it to be really cold.
How to stock your fridge with healthy snacks.
Eggs. Eggs are one thing I always try to buy organic and pasture-raised, which means that the chickens were allowed to roam around in a pasture and eat food that’s actually good for them. The result is that the eggs taste way better with deep yellow yolks. It really makes a huge difference. We eat tons of eggs at our house: one of my go-to lunches during the week is to soft boil an egg, and then eat it on toast with smashed avocado and some sliced tomato with everything bagel seasoning (always!). I also know I can whip up a frittata for dinner if all I’ve got left in my fridge is eggs and a few veggies.
Cut up veggies. When I’m really crushing it at life, I keep containers of precut carrots, celery, and cucumbers in the fridge so that when my kids start whining that they’re hungry five minutes after we’ve eaten a meal, I can send them straight to these! I also keep hummus or guacamole on hand so that when I’m in a hurry I can just grab something healthy and satisfying. I order these deli-style containers in bulk so I can see what I’ve got on hand and keep it all organized, and then I just wash them on the top drawer of the dishwasher.
Berries. I eat tons of blueberries and raspberries: on my yogurt, in smoothies, or just on their own. They’re truly nature’s sweet snack and they’re so good for you.
Apples and clementines. Another one that I always have around for my kids: perfect for throwing into their school lunches.
Yogurt. I looooove yogurt, but I’m very particular about it. Plain Greek full-fat yogurt is my jam, and I always keep it stocked in my fridge. It’s so much more creamy and satisfying than the lower-fat versions, and I love to eat it for breakfast in the morning with berries and almonds.
Cottage cheese. Again, I like plain, full-fat cottage cheese, and here’s how I usually eat it: I’ll spread it on a GG’s Cracker, and top it with a couple of apple slices and a little honey and sea salt for a snack that’s packed with so much fiber and protein. I swear it’s my weirdest, most delicious snack that I eat all the time.
My must-have condiments.
Homemade salad dressing and pesto. I love to have a good homemade salad dressing (like this to-die-for peanut dressing) and pesto or chimichurri ready to go in the fridge—they keep for a couple of weeks at least and make dinner prep so much easier. Usually, I blend them up in the blender and then pour them into a mason jar. I keep masking tape and a sharpie in my kitchen so I can label them with the date and what’s inside.
Herbs. I put fresh herbs on almost everything I make—it’s the quickest way to make a dish feel restaurant-worthy, and herbs are packed with nutrients and flavor. I usually keep two to three fresh herbs in my fridge at once, stored in a mason jar (like a vase) with a little water at the bottom. Cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, chives, and dill are in my regular rotation.
Store-bought salad dressing. I also always keep a store-bought dressing on hand to use in a pinch. My whole family is obsessed with Brianna’s Poppyseed dressing—it’s a bit sweet and makes salad taste kinda like dessert. Phoebe will happily eat an entire bowl full of chopped romaine topped with Brianna’s Poppyseed, and I’ll never complain about that.
Dijon. Multiple types of mustard are a must-have in my fridge, but if I had to choose just one, dijon would be it. I love throwing a scoop into a salad dressing (like this maple-mustard vinaigrette) or a marinade for fish or meat. It adds such good flavor, acidity, and texture to any type of condiment, and right now I’m really enjoying this one with a spicy kick of horseradish.
Miso. Another great ingredient for any type of Asian cooking—it adds so much umami and depth of flavor to everything. When I make a dish that feels bland or boring—think soup or pasta sauce—usually stirring in a scoop of miso fixes it all up.
Sour cream. We use sour cream for two things at our house: loaded baked potatoes (my favorite “I don’t know what to make for dinner” solution), and nachos.
Let’s take a peek in the cheese drawer…
Parmesan. Gotta have parmesan for obvious reasons—pizza, pasta… I really couldn’t live without it, nor do I want to. At the store, I look for a wedge of actual Parmigiano Reggiano and (depending on how big I want the shavings to be) use my microplane grater or my vegetable peeler to grate it over a finished dish.
Gruyere or blue cheese. I try to keep a few things on hand for last-minute cheeseboard supplies, so if I’ve got a good, aged cheese, plus some crackers, nuts, and olives, I’m all set to put together a pretty great last-minute appetizer situation. My favorite blues for a cheese plate are stilton or cambozola.
Shredded cheddar. Always gotta have a good shredded cheddar or Mexican blend for my kids’ quesadillas and Adam’s breakfast sandwiches.
Tortillas. Oh, this one’s important at our house—I truly panic if we run out of corn tortillas. I try to buy the freshest possible white corn tortillas available to me. There’s a grocery store here in Austin called Fiesta that makes them fresh every day (and you can buy a huge stack of them for incredibly cheap), and our household eats them like they’re going out of style.
Bacon. This is usually the only “processed” meat we buy, partially because my kids refuse to eat lunch meat, and partially to avoid nitrates. That said, we love a good BLT (or my BLT salad!), and on the weekend, it’s hard to beat that pancakes and bacon combo.
In the vegetable drawer.
Vegetables really are the backbone of our meals, so my veggie drawer is always loaded up with all kinds of variety and goodness. I try to prewash my veggies when I get home from the grocery store or farmer’s market as an advance prep step, but I admit, it doesn’t always happen. The vegetables that I keep on hand definitely vary with the seasons, but I generally always have:
Lettuce. Romaine, arugula, spinach, butter, or my fave: little gem.
Carrots. I buy organic, and we eat them cut up as snacks or roast them for a cozy and healthy side dish.
Bell peppers. My daughter loves sliced red bell pepper in her lunches, and I also love to pop the sweet mini bell peppers under the broiler for a five-minute healthy appetizer.
Cucumbers. I slice them into “spears” for Henry and sprinkle them with a little sea salt—it’s one of the only veggies that he’ll eat with relish.
Leftovers on the bottom.
This bottom drawer is where I keep our leftovers—it’s nice to have them contained, because, let’s be honest, they’re usually not very pretty to look at. It’s a good idea to keep anything that could leak or drip on the very bottom of your fridge so that it doesn’t contaminate foods on the higher shelves.
Right now, we’ve got some leftover grilled chicken from Fresa’s that I’ll probably shred up and throw into a soup or salad. I’ve also always got half an avocado in here—I cover one side in a little plastic wrap and if it starts to turn brown, I just slice that part off and it’s good to go.
So, wondering how to store leftovers? I usually keep our leftovers in clear deli-style containers so I can easily see what’s inside, and even label them with the date if I need to. It’s a great way to keep tabs on what we have, and know when it’s time to toss.
Hope this gave you guys some fresh ideas on how to stock your fridge, and I’d love to hear in the comments if I left any of your fridge essentials off my list!
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