Monday, November 15, 2010

What's in Your Kitchen?

So, of course I know what's in your kitchen. A refrigerator, a stove, a microwave, food . . . but, what's really in your kitchen?

I admit it, I have found "science projects" deep in the back of my refrigerator and some that look like crystal farms in my freezer, but those days are long past. When trying to get my family onto healthier eating, I realized I had to make the kitchen a healthy place, too. Part of that is keeping the kitchen not only clean and full of healthy food, but keeping it organized!

Getting into the habit of regularly cleaning and cleaning out the fridge is important. No one wants to eat moldy cheese, fruits or veggies and let's not even talk about sour milk. Scraping weeks old, dried on, spilled juice literally requires a jack hammer and sticky anything is aggravating when you are in a hurry (and who isn't?).

The good news it it's EASY to keep a fridge clean and organized. You don't need anything fancy and you don't need Kelly Ripps'a Electrolux fridge, either! Here are some steps to take to reclaim your fridge and get yourself and your family on the fast(er) track to healthy!

  • Open the fridge and pull out the things you see immediately that need to go: wilted and moldy are a good place to start.
  • Look through the items on the doors. Anything expired needs to go. Clean out the containers and send them off to recycling.
  • Pick ONE SHELF AT A TIME. Pull things out and wipe down the shelf. Wipe off the bottoms of containers and place them back in BEFORE you start another shelf. You don't have to do more than one shelf a day, either.
  • Now, for the scary part . . . open up the tupperware, ziploc or other containers and try to figure out what's inside them. Toss anything suspect, clean the containers and save them as long as there isn't an odd smell and you can get them clean.
  • Repeat with your freezer.
Ok, so your fridge and freezer are cleaned out and cleaned up. Now what? We need to try to keep it clean. One of the best ways to do this is to clean out your fridge and freezer when you make your weekly grocery list. As you check through to see what you have versus what you need, double check that nothing has spoiled. This is a good time to get spills you may have missed at other times during the week.

Organizing the inside of the refrigerator doesn't have to be expensive. Even small fridges can accommodate a variety of foods, neatly. Most fridges have movable shelves and at least two drawers. Here are some steps to take to organize the inside.

  • Place vegetables (except leafy greens and lettuces) in one of the two drawers.
  • Place fruits in the other drawer.
  • If you have a third drawer, this is a good place for lunch meats and cheeses. If not, look through your tupperware. If you have some pieces that will fit the meats and cheese, place those items in there and find them a new home in the fridge.
  • If you have leftovers, and who doesn't, find ONE spot in the fridge for them and be sure to use them. If something is in the fridge for more than three days and hasn't been eaten, toss it. Use masking tape to label the containers.
  • Adjust the shelves to give yourself one area for tall items like milk jugs, milk cartons and juice containers. If you have spots for these on the door use them!
  • Your leafy greens should stand up if possible. This keeps them from getting smooshed. I stand mine up in the door of my fridge.
  • Condiments should be grouped by both type and size. This way you can move the shelves around as needed and you'll ave a general idea of what goes where . . . no more "where's the jelly?!?" when your toddler is screaming hungry!
  • If you are unable to move shelves around, adding small shelves purchased from department stores or value stores will work wonders. Try to get the ones marketed for use in cabinets as they will fit better than larger sizes.
So, congratulations! You now have a clean, organized fridge! You will save money at the store by not over buying items, food won't spoil since you will be able to see what you have easily and every time you open the door you will be smiling! You are on the fast track to a family replete with wellness!

If you want or need help with your fridge contact me and I'd be happy to help! Another good website for info on how to clean is!

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