Have you ever opened your refrigerator to discover that things aren’t quite as organized as you’d like? Or perhaps you’re craving something you typically keep on hand, only to find it’s not there? Because I’ve had moments like these arise in the past, learning how to stock your fridge became a top priority. And friends, I’m confident that I’ve found the answer.
Well, maybe not *the answer* per se, but I’ve developed an effective stocking and organization system that works for me and my family. I’ll admit that I get a tiny thrill from peeking inside my friends’ fridges to see how they keep them stocked. I have friends whose fridges look like an ad for the local farmer’s market, and there are others who only stock a bottle of champagne and their ice roller. A fridge speaks volumes and can shed a little insight into how we live.
How To Stock Your Fridge: My Go-To Tips
Today I’m turning the tables and opening up my own refrigerator. The following is a little tour and tutorial on how to stock your fridge. There are several items (eggs, butter, and salad greens) that I always keep on hand. Let’s take a look inside!
Let’s start with beverages
Milk. We always have milk in the fridge. My son Henry is obsessed with hot chocolate. 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.
Almond milk. I put it in my tea, coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies. When buying almond milk at the store, 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 latte 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). My kids like it though, and it’s a good way to make them feel like they’re having something “fancy” without sugar. I do, however, love to make “ranch water.” It’s an 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, with dairy, it’s 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. Oftentimes, a good organic half-and-half is 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 glasses 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 in a pasture and eat food that’s actually good for them. The eggs taste better and have deep yellow yolks. We eat tons of eggs at our house: one of my go-to lunches during the week is to soft boil an egg and eat it on toast with smashed avocado, sliced tomato, and everything bagel seasoning. I also know I can whip up a frittata for dinner if all I have are eggs and a few veggies.
Pre-cut veggies. When I’m really crushing it at life, I keep containers of pre-cut carrots, celery, and cucumbers in the fridge. If my kids start whining that they’re hungry five minutes after we’ve eaten a meal, I send them straight to these! I also keep hummus or guacamole on hand so that when I’m in a hurry, I can 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. They’re easy to clean 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 are so good for you.
Apples and clementines. Another one that I always have around for my kids. They’re 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 creamier and more satisfying than the lower-fat versions. I love to eat it for breakfast in the morning with berries and almonds.
Cottage cheese. Again, I like plain, full-fat cottage cheese. 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. The result is a snack that’s packed with so much fiber and protein. I swear it’s the 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. I throw them 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 2-3 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 family is obsessed with Brianna’s Poppyseed dressing. It’s a bit sweet and honestly 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, it would be dijon. 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. Right now, I’m really enjoying this one with a spicy kick of horseradish.
Miso. Another great ingredient for any type of Asian cooking. Miso 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—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. If I have a good, aged cheese, plus some crackers, nuts, and olives, I can put together a pretty great last-minute appetizer. 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. This one’s key at our house—I truly panic if we run out of corn tortillas. I try to buy the freshest possible white corn tortillas available. There’s a grocery store in Austin called Fiesta that makes them fresh every day (and you can buy a huge stack of them for incredibly cheap). 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 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, but it doesn’t always happen. The vegetables that I keep on hand definitely vary with the seasons, but I generally always have the following:
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. Phoebe loves sliced red bell pepper in her lunches, and I also 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
I keep our leftovers in the bottom drawer. I like having 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 have leftover grilled chicken that I’ll probably shred up and throw into a soup or salad. I also always have half an avocado in here. I cover one side in plastic wrap, and if it starts to turn brown, I slice that part off and it’s good to go.
Wondering how to store leftovers? I keep them in deli-style containers and label them with the date. It helps me keep tabs on what we have and know when it’s time to toss.
I hope this gave you some fresh ideas on how to stock your fridge. I’d love to hear in the comments if I left any of your fridge essentials off my list!
This post was originally published on May 23, 2021, and has since been updated.
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There’s no meat drawer?
I usually keep our meat in the freezer, and any that’s in the fridge I either throw in the cheese drawer (like bacon) or the bottom drawer, which is the best place to prevent cross contamination of other foods.
Go to know I am on the right track. Good suggestions and ideas.