This is a picture of my powerful refrigerator.  I call it powerful because I believe it’s a direct link to my energy level, athletic performance, overall health and waist line.The food you keep in your fridge can either lead you to abundant health or can escort you into disease, sickness and obesity.Where’s the first place you go when you have an urge to eat?  Most likely it’s your refrigerator.   If your fridge tempts you with leftover pizza, while fruits and vegetable rot, it may be time for a refrigerator makeover. If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.

Keep Smart Choices in Reach

Something as simple as changing the location of food items can have a huge impact on your eating habits. Place fruits and vegetables at eye level so when you’re famished, you’ll be more likely to eat these highly perishable items if they are close and convenient  Conversely, you’ll want to put unhealthy foods in hard to reach places such as the back of the refrigerator.  Out of sight and (hopefully) out of mind.Keep it stocked Here are some of my favorite refrigerator items.

  • Leafy Greens (Kale, spinach, romaine, Swiss chard):  Greens are the number one food missing from the American diet, yet should be the most consumed.  They are chock full of nutrients with little calories, making greens a dieter’s best friend.    Greens cook up fast!  Sauté them with some garlic, olive oil and your favorite seasoning.   Put them in your smoothie, eat a salad or add some to your wrap or sandwich.   Variety is key.   If you eat spinach salad all the time, use kale in your smoothies.
  • Tessemae’s Dressing and Marinades:  I have just recently discovered this product thanks to my friend and teammate, Ashley. What I love about Tesse’s dressings is that I can recreate all the marinades myself if I had to – they are so clean!  Having pre-made marinades/dressings that are clean and healthy is such a time saver for me on those hectic weeknights after the boy’s tennis or swim practice.  You can find it at Whole Foods near the boxed greens section.
  • Organic Eggs:  Eggs are an instant protein packed breakfast food and can be easily transformed into a quick lunch or dinner omelet with lots of fresh vegetables.  Keep some hard boiled eggs on hand for a  convenient snack option when you need a protein boost.
  • Avocado:  What can’t you do with avocados?  Salad, wraps, smoothies, spreads, desserts and the list goes on.  They are high in heart-healthy fats and are rich in B vitamins, which support cardiovascular health.   Wrap  leftover avocado tightly and eat within 24 hours.
  • Already cooked sweet potato, quinoa or brown rice (aka leftovers) Usually on Sundays, I spend some time cooking and prepping food for the week.   I’ll dress up these “leftovers” by pairing them with a salad, wrapping them up or drizzling some fresh dressing on them.   Already prepared food can be a lifesaver on hectic days. Check out my other prep tips here.
  • Salmon is a great source of protein that won’t leave you feeling sluggish,  It’s also one of the best sources of the essential fatty acid Omega 3.  Essential Fatty Acids help you burn excess fat, relieve arthritis pain and inflammation, improve oxygen transport and muscle maintenance.  Try grilling salmon with some soy or teriyaki sauce.  Cook extra and add some to your lunch salad or make salmon burgers for a meal later in the week.
  • Seasonal Fruit.  If you have a sweet tooth like me, fruit can be your best friend.  You can use the sweet taste of fruit to satisfy your sugar craving without adding to your waistline.  Keep frozen fruit available for a quick smoothie to go.
  • Lemons:  I use lemons all the time. Lemons are a powerful fruit that packs a kick.  Perk up a glass of ice water with a fresh slice, pair it with some flaxseed oil for a simple salad dressing or squeeze some on fresh fish before cooking.  Lemons deliver a blast of vitamin C and is known for its cleansing properties.

The pay-off? Every living cell in your body is made from the food you eat, every bodily process from exercising to thinking is counting on the foods you eat for fuel.  Stocking your refrigerator with healthy vegetables, fruits and other lean fresh foods is one way to improve your overall health.   If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.  Remember, it’s a lifestyle, not a race – take it one step at a time.