You’d like to think that when you reach in your refrigerator to grab something to eat, you’re making choices based on exactly what you want.
Science, however, says otherwise.
Take, for example, a recent study conducted in Iceland, which evaluated the purchase behavior of grocery store shoppers according to shelf placement. The results of the study found that shoppers who purchased potato chips at the store were most likely to purchase potato chips from the middle shelf of the aisles — regardless of brand, flavor, price, or packaging.
So, what does this mean for you and your fridge?
Well, it means that if you thought you’d been making your own voluntary choices about what and how you eat up until now… you may have been wrong. After all, if this study is correct, buyers have been blindly purchasing the most high-calorie, bad-for-you, so-so-tasting potato chips not because they wanted them. But because they were on the middle shelf.
There’s good news here, too, though.
You can harness this power, and make it work for you.
Below, we’ll outline several kitchen hacks to help you organize your refrigerator for healthier eating habits. You’d be surprised at the big effects these seemingly small changes can have!
Small Tips To Organize Your Refrigerator for BIG Change
Tip #1 – Put the healthiest food in the center of the top shelf.
Take a tip from the Iceland study, and keep healthy foods where you can see them. The center top shelf is perfect for all your healthy snacks and ingredients.
Tip #2 – Wash and prep fruits and veggies as soon as you return from the grocery store.
How many times have you proudly popped melon, cucumbers, celery stalks, and grapefruit into your cart … only to toss them in the garbage at home a week later because they never got eaten?
It’s a sad truth, but fresh foods usually go bad simply because they get forgotten — or seem too time-consuming to prep. Do your future snack-hungry self a favor then, and prep those healthy snacks as soon as you get home from the grocery store. It may be annoying, but it’s worth it.
Tip #3 – Put fresh fruits and veggies in clear containers.
This helps you remember they’re there. Also, keep these containers on shelves instead of in the crisper drawers — that’s where stuff gets forgotten and goes bad.
Tip #4 – Keep your drinking water in a separate place.
This one may sound odd, but there’s a method to the madness.
Every time you go for a bottle of water or a glass of filtered water from the pitcher, you’ll be tempted to grab a snack too. Sometimes, that’s okay, but you should be drinking more water than you are eating snacks.
So, to help you sway toward water and away from snacking, keep your water elsewhere. Consider simply drinking tap or bottled water and adding ice when you want it cold. Keep water outdoors if you live in a cold climate (as long as it won’t freeze). Just put it away from the snacks.
Tip #5 – Keep a written list of your fridge inventory.
This might sound militant, but it works.
All it takes is a pad of paper with a magnet on the back. Stick this on your fridge and keep a running list of what’s inside. It will help you remember what you have so that healthy food doesn’t get wasted just because you forgot about it.
Tip #6 – Clean your fridge often.
Finally, keep your fridge clean and clutter-free. Every time you come home from the grocery store, clean out those crumbs from the crisper, toss old leftovers, and clean up spills before putting in your new food. Organize your refrigerator according to food-type, and space things out.
All of this will motivate you to be more positive about digging in the fridge and finding the healthiest snacks. When the fridge is cluttered and gross, we’re less likely to want to mess around in there — another reason good, healthy food often gets tossed.
Remember: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
As a final tip, remember the old adage, “Out of sight, Out of mind,” which can work two ways to help you in your goals to eat healthier. First, it helps you remember that if you can’t see healthy foods … you can’t eat them. Keep those apples on the counter. Put the carrot slices on the top shelf in a clear container. If you have to store foods on top of the fridge in plain sight, let them be whole wheat crackers or nuts.
Next, if you do have junk food in the house, literally hiding it (or at least putting it out of sight) can be a great way to avoid it. Keep the cookies on a high shelf behind canned goods. Make potato chips harder to get to in the back of your pantry.
Organizing your refrigerator and practicing all of these tips can go a long way on your journey to a healthier you.