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Spring Clean Your Refrigerator

posted Apr 13, 2015, 6:22 AM by Rachel Griffin
A refrigerator seems to take on the personality of it's owner.  Some refrigerators are squeaky clean and only contain the essentials, while others are filled with what are best described as microbiology experiments.  Whichever character traits your refrigerator takes from you, there's always room for improvement, so we've compiled a list of ways to Spring Clean Your Refrigerator:
  • Check dates and throw away anything that is expired.  This is the most basic form of keeping your refrigerator clean.  Also throw out any leftovers that are more than 1 week old. 
  • Change the filter in your water pitcher or on your filtration system. Just a friendly reminder--we all forget to do this! 
  • Replace iceberg lettuce with spring mix, spinach, arugula, kale or other darker leafy green.  The deeper the color, the more nutrient dense the vegetable. 
  • Replace bottled salad dressings with oil & vinegar or a homemade dressing.  We included a recipe for our Clean and Simple Dijon Vinaigrette in this month's wellness newsletter.
  • Replace wilting and spoiling fruits and vegetables with clean, prepped, accessible fruits and vegetables. Use a few minutes of your "putting away the groceries" time to get your produce ready for consumption when hunger strikes. 
  • Replace any juice that is not 100% juice with 100% fruit juice.  Read ingredients to avoid added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Keep in mind that one serving of fruit juice is only ~1/2 cup.  Try mixing it with sparkling water for a refreshing low calorie beverage.  While you're at it, get rid of all sodas! 
  • Replace sweet coffee creamers with unflavored half and half or milk (organic if your budget allows it).  This will allow you to truly taste your coffee...and not expect dessert every morning with breakfast! If you need a little flavor boost, try adding vanilla extract, honey or pure maple syrup to your cup.  You can also sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in with your coffee grounds before brewing for a warmer flavor without added sugar.
  • Replace regular milk with organic milk if your budget allows.  The truth is in the taste.  Organic dairy products tend to have much better flavor than their non-organic counterparts.  If organic is not in your budget, look for milk from cows not treated with RBST/RBGH.  Numerous local store brands such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Wegmans offer this type of milk. If you choose to not consume dairy milk, choose a high quality alternative milk (such as almond, soy, or rice) without added sweeteners. 
  • If your budget allows, replace deli meats and cheeses with their organic/grass fed counterparts.  If your budget does not allow, purchase the best quality of these products that you can or choose to make meat-free sandwiches.  We love hummus and vegetables, natural peanut butter and jelly, or wholesome (homemade!) egg/tuna/chicken salad made with non-fat, plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise. 
  • Replace sugar sweetened yogurts with plain (Greek or Icelandic style are the most thick & creamy).  We recommend keeping a large container of plain yogurt around to be used in a variety of sweet and savory ways! 
  • Replace margarine and other tub "butter products" with sticks of unsalted butter and/or spreadable butter-olive or canola oil blends.  The ingredient lists should be short: sweet cream, olive or canola oil, and possibly salt.  While real butter does contain more saturated fat, it is free of preservatives and other "filler" found in margarine and "buttery spreads".  Like any fat, butter should be used in moderation (~1 teaspoon per serving!). 
Next time, we'll review our favorite ways to utilize every inch of our freezer space.
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