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Spring cleaning for your fridge…and you!

May 18, 2018

Rosemary Mueller, MPH, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center

If you’re motivated to freshen up your home this spring, why not your eating habits? Your fridge is a good place to start. The benefits are improved nutrition and perhaps a few pounds lost in time for summer fun.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove fridge contents and while doing so throw away any expired items.
  2. Wash down the fridge with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
  3. Put in a fresh box of baking soda to absorb odors.
  4. Toss out junk food items and replace with fresh foods.
  5. Keep fruits and vegetables in clear containers (the kind that prolong produce life) and make sure they’re the first items you see when you open the door. You’ll be more likely to grab an apple or a handful of baby carrots/sweet pepper slices.
  6. Get into the habit of washing and cutting up fresh fruits and veggies when you get home from the grocery store.
  7. Simplify what’s inside. If your fridge is stuffed to the max, it creates stress and makes a trip to the cabinet for higher carb/sugar/salt items an easy default.
  8. Emphasize water. If your fridge doesn’t dispense fresh water, consider keeping a pitcher with filtered water readily available. Don’t like the taste of water? Try infusing lemon, lime, watermelon or strawberry; cucumber or jicama; ginger, rosemary, thyme, basil or mint.
  9. Stock protein-rich foods for grab and go. Include lowfat cheese sticks, portioned cottage cheese or yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, pre-portioned hummus, tuna salad or nut butters, and pre-rolled turkey slices.
  10. Avoid storing dairy foods in the door of your fridge where temperatures are more variable.
  11. Label protein leftovers and use within five days of preparation.
  12. Box it out: Don’t keep sweetened drinks or alcohol as regulars in your fridge. Go out and enjoy these items in moderation elsewhere. You’ll save empty calories.

Why not get started today? You’ll be surprised at how a fridge makeover can help you feel better.

Spring Strawberry Salad with Orange-Poppyseed Dressing



  • 6 cups baby spinach, washed and water extracted with salad spinner
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted*


  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Pinch/salt
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

Servings: 3 side salad servings

Prepare Dressing:

In measuring cup or bowl, combine orange juice, olive oil, honey, white wine vinegar and salt. Whisk mixture together until blended. Add poppyseeds and whisk again to combine.Yields approximately 1 cup/dressing. Store any extra dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for a week.

Prepare Salad:

In a large bowl, toss together spinach and green onion; gently add strawberries and combine. Sprinkle/scatter toasted almonds into mix. Chill mix until ready to serve. Portion out salad into three servings. Before serving, top each salad portion with 2 Tbsp. dressing.

Suggestion: Serve with a small portion of brown rice or quinoa and lean protein, such as grilled chicken or baked fish.

Salad – Per serving: Carbohydrate: 29 g. Protein: 6 grams Fat: 8 grams; Calories: 212; Diabetic exchanges: 1 Fruit, 2 Vegetable, ½ Protein, 1 ½ Fat

*To toast slivered almonds:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spread almonds in a single layer on cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Check almonds, shake pan to stir almonds.
  5. Check every minute until they’re desired color.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately pour onto a plate or platter to cool in a single layer.
  7. Cool completely before adding to salad.