In my house, it’s my job to organize the refrigerator. This isn’t because I’m a master organizer by any means, but more because the kitchen is my domain. It’s my happy place. I spend a lot of time there and I love playing and experimenting with food and new recipes. And on top of all that, it’s my job to make sure my family eats well.
I often get asked how I am able to eat a clean diet when I’m constantly on the go, and it mostly boils down to one thing: optimal refrigerator organization.
While I can’t claim to be a pro at organization, I do know that I’ve learned some tricks throughout the years that have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle. These are things that now are just second nature and it all starts with having a plan.
One of the most things we hear from people all the time is, “I don’t have enough time to make healthy food.” And boy do I ever get that. We have this idea that grabbing food from a restaurant or salad bar will be quicker than eating at home.
However, when we consider the time it takes to drive to the restaurant, place an order, pay for the food, and drive home again, we could have already made our own meal at home for a fraction of the cost. Besides, food we make ourselves is always healthier because that’s the only way to be 100% sure of what’s actually in our meals.
So what’s a busy working mom of two to do? One of my favorite ways of ensuring I always have a quick meal ready to go is by building a salad bar in my fridge. After grocery shopping, I clean, chop, and store my produce in glass containers (mason jars work great too) so that throughout the week when I need something quick, I simply throw the ingredients together in a bowl and voilá – I have a healthy meal in a matter of minutes!
You might be thinking, this all sounds nice in theory, but I’m far too busy to do all of this.
Wrong! If I can do it, so can you. It’s all about working the plan. Below are five steps to help you transform your refrigerator into you favorite salad bar.
Now I want to hear from you! Are you ready to turn your fridge into a salad bar? Please share your ideas and comments with me below and have fun!
With love and salad bars,
Build a Salad Bar in Your Fridge in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Clean out your fridge
That random condiment that’s been sitting there for 6 months? Toss it – it’s likely filled with extra sugars anyway. Aim to dedicate two to three shelves to your salad bar.
Step 2: Gather the right tools
It’s all about the containers. We definitely recommend glass containers whenever possible. The chemicals in plastic containers can break down and actually leach to your food – gross! Plus, glass is a bit easier on our environment. We like to use a combination of good ole’ mason jars and lockable glass storage containers.
Step 3: Prep your veggies
Take time to prep your food as soon as you bring it home from the store! I find that if I leave it for later, it’s much less likely to get done. Wash and chop your veggies. Clean and dry your leafy greens and fresh herbs then wrap them in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Having all of the veggies in their containers and ready to go in the fridge makes tossing a salad a cinch.
Step 4: Prep your extras
One thing I love the most about a good salad bar is the array of extra toppings that I may not always have readily available at home. Buy fresh olives and/or artichoke hearts and transfer them to a glass container for freshness. Cook a big batch of tri-colored quinoa or chickpeas. If you’re a meat eater, cook up three extra chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces and place in another glass container so you can turn your salad into a hearty meal. Keep a jar of nuts and seeds handy for another good topper.
Step 5: Make a big batch of your favorite dressing
No salad is complete without a yummy dressing but one of the most dangerous places of any salad bar is choosing a healthy dressing. Store-bought dressings are often filled with manufactured oils and sugar so we always advocate making our own. Some of my favorites are our Garlic Caesar dressing and East Meets West.
So there you have it! Now you’re fridge is stocked and ready to serve you up a yummy, nutritious meal in a matter of minutes!