How to Ready Your Fridge for the Total Body Diet

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

The Total Body Diet is about making high-quality foods a priority in your life. When was the last time you looked in your fridge — really looked —moved stuff around, checked expiration dates, and realized what’s good for you and what’s not? It’s eye-opening!

The things in the front of the fridge get the most attention, so move fruits and vegetables to the front. (You don’t have to use the produce cooler — especially, if you forget to look in there!)

Food kept in the fridge, should be less than 40 degrees. (Use a refrigerator thermometer to verify the temperature of your fridge.) Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours (or one hour if it’s 90 degrees or hotter outside) and place foods for thawing or marinating in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (not on the countertop).

This table has some healthy food options to stock in your fridge.

Healthy Fridge Foods
Whole Grains* Fruits Vegetables Proteins Dairy Products/Dairy Alternatives
Whole-wheat flour
Whole-grain tortillas
Whole-wheat pasta
Barley
Brown rice
Bulgur wheat
Whole-wheat couscous
Farro
Oats
Spelt
Quinoa
Applesauce (no sugar added)
Blueberries
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries
Grapes
Honeydew
Mango, sliced
Prunes
Raisins
Raspberries
Strawberries
Watermelon
Fruit bowls (in their own juice)
Artichoke hearts
Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumber
Eggplant
Green beans
Hearts of palm
Jicama slices
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Mushrooms
Mustard greens
Okra
Onions
Pea pods
Peppers (all varieties)
Radishes
Romaine lettuce
Salsa
Salad greens
Scallions
Spinach
Summer squash
Tomatoes
Grape tomatoes
Turnip
Water chestnuts
Watercress
Zucchini
V-8 or tomato juice (low sodium)
Eggs
Hummus
Tofu
Nut butter (natural)
Nuts
Bison
Chicken breast
Chicken sausage
Turkey breast
Lean (95%–97%) ground sirloin
Beef (loin and round cuts)
Lean roast beef
Ham (low fat, low sodium)
Pork loin
Fat-free or lowfat milk
Kefir
Fat-free or lowfat regular or Greek yogurt (plain)
Reduced-fat or lowfat cheese
String cheese
Reduced-fat or lowfat cottage cheese
Farmer’s cheese
Butter (unsalted)
Soymilk (plain)**
Almond milk (plain)**
Hazelnut milk (plain)**
Rice milk (plain)**

* Refined grains can have a place in your diet as they are fortified with important vitamins like the B-vitamin, folic acid, which is vital during pregnancy for the brain and spinal cord development of babies. Make half of your grains whole grains, and the rest can be refined, enriched grains.

** Shelf-stable aseptic packages require refrigeration after opening.

There are lots of veggies to choose from — aim to get 6 to 11 servings per day for overall health. Check out your fridge or grocery cart. Are you stocking enough for the week?

Don’t forget to include fresh herbs and spices in your fridge. Not only are they great for boosting the healthfulness of your meals and snacks, but fresh rosemary, basil, thyme, dill, sage, and ginger, among others, offer an aromatic quality that delights the senses when you open the refrigerator door.

Keeping fresh herbs can be tricky. The hearty herbs like rosemary and thyme tend to last longer, but delicate basil, sage, and dill don’t fare as well. A trick to keeping herbs fresh as long as possible is to wrap them snugly in a damp paper towel — like swaddling a baby. The leaves like the moisture — but not too much moisture, or they’ll corrode quickly. Place them in the crisper drawer.

No need to refrigerate the following fruits: apple, avocado, banana, grapefruit, kiwi, clementine, orange, nectarine, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, and tangerine. You can keep them on the countertop to ripen. After you cut, bite, or peel them, it’s time to refrigerate.