It’s more than fruits and veggies — it’s a lifestyle!

Megan Anderson, NAU’s registered dietician, gives us a sneak peak inside her fridge and her healthy lifestyle.

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One of the comments I hear the most as a registered dietitian is “I’d love to see what’s in your fridge!”

I get it, I promote healthy eating for a living, and people want to make sure their foods are dietitian approved. Well today is your lucky day!

Here’s your exclusive peek to the inside of my home refrigerator.

What’s inside my fridge

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At first glance, my fridge looks crazy clean and empty...

While it might not always look this good, I do try to clean it out once a week. Keeping it somewhat organized also ensures I can quickly find the healthy stuff without having to put too much effort in.

Typically, there’s also a few different containers of leftovers, but I took these photos on a Sunday before the work week started.

I don’t buy many drinks to keep in the fridge, but I will admit that I hate water! I buy sparkling water to help break up the monotony. I also have some grapefruit juice that I like to enjoy every so often.

When it comes to calcium, I stick to dairy products as my main source. With yogurt, I try to buy brands that are higher in protein and lower in sugar, as well as lower in fat. Cottage cheese and yogurt are great because they are so filling and quick.

If you’re not a dairy eater — no worries! You can get calcium from fortified soy products, broccoli, and leafy greens. My partner and I also like to eat eggs for a quick dinner after a long work day, so we tend to keep a dozen on hand.

Fun fact: If you didn’t already know, I went to culinary school before becoming a dietitian. This means I love to cook with fun, interesting flavors — hence the abundance of sauces in our fridge. We usually have 1–2 kinds of salsa, upwards of six different hot sauces, curry paste, lower sodium soy sauce, sambal oolek, and hoisin sauce in our fridge at any given time.

A word of caution — some of these sauces get pretty high in sodium. Stick to the low sodium versions when you can.

Produce Power

I tend to keep my produce in the crisper drawer so they’re always in the same space. Smart food storage can greatly extend the shelf life of your food as well as make your life a lot easier during the week.

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Storage tips

  • There’s a paper towel in the bag of kale — I try to keep a towel with any greens to help absorb the moisture and stay crisp. There’s actually a bag of spinach under the kale, which will also end up with a paper towel in it.
  • I pre-cut EVERYTHING that I can-so, there’s carrots, celery, bell peppers, and watermelon for snacks or lunches. We’re also having green beans one night for dinner, so those are cut and ready to go when I get home from work.
  • Never-I repeat never- wash your berries if you’re leaving them whole. This introduces water and bacteria quickly, and fruit will go bad incredibly quick. I just leave them in the container and wash them just before I eat them.
  • Citrus and apples can also be kept in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life.
  • Some foods, such as potatoes, bananas, and unripe fruit shouldn’t be kept in the fridge. Instead, I keep those foods in a basket on the counter for quick, easy access.

Meat eaters —

I always keep uncooked meat in the bottom drawer so that it if it drips, it stays in that drawer and doesn’t drip into my produce. I buy lean choices, such as chicken, turkey, and fish during the week.

This chicken will actually be roasted and used not only for dinner one night, but salads and sandwiches during the week. The turkey is going into spaghetti-my favorite food to eat as leftovers!

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I’m a big fan of turkey sandwiches for my lunches, so I try to keep some on hand. Purchasing from the deli counter means you get exactly what you need for the week.

Bonus: you can buy lower sodium products and products with less additives when buying them from the deli counter.

You’ll notice I have cheese in the drawer as well. Lately-I’ve been tossing goat cheese crumbles into my salad, and we typically have a hunk of parmesan to grate on to fresh pasta.

The Freezer

Last, but not least — I couldn’t write this blog post without including the contents of my freezer!

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I firmly believe that freezers are one of our best tools for healthy eating. You can store leftovers, fruits, veggies-everything!

I always keep frozen veggies on hand for those late work nights, because you can pop them in the microwave and have cooked vegetables in under 10 minutes (no excuses!).

I also keep lots of fruit on hand to throw into smoothies in the morning with the greens that were in the fridge. My partner and I tend to buy meat in bulk and freeze it to save money.

Also-yes, there’s a gallon of ice cream. Even though I’m a dietitian, I’m still a human too! Plus, life is too short to never eat ice cream.

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice — Pantry Goods

  • Dried goods: This includes nuts, seeds, and whole grains. I buy most of these foods from the bulk section at the grocery store to save money and just keep them in large jars.
  • Canned goods: Usually, we have canned beans, tuna, and tomato puree on hand. These are all quick, affordable options. For beans, I just rinse them before using them to remove the excess sodium.
  • Spices: Stock up on dried herbs and spices to add lots of flavor to your meals. They can be expensive, so look for them to go on sale then stock up! My favorite go to is Italian seasoning.
  • Liquids: This includes oils and vinegars to add healthy fat and flavors to my meals.

Your fridge might not always look like mine-and that’s okay! We all implement healthy eating a little bit different from each other. Just be sure to have the basic food groups covered, and you’ll be good go. Happy eating!

You can meet with Megan at the Health Promotions office in the Health and Learning Center to learn more about eating healthy on campus and how to eat for your lifestyle! Check out her schedule and make an appointment here!

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