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How to Clean Out Your Refrigerator the Right Way

Clean Out Your Refrigerator

I recently asked my followers on Instagram, what they would like to hear more about this next year – and the number one ongoing trend was – “How do I continue eating healthy not just in January or during a Whole30, but all year long.”  There are so many easy ways you can save yourself a lot of temptation and build up some good will-power when it comes to your eating habits. The very first step I encourage you to take is – clean out your refrigerator the right way.  What do I mean by, the right way? Below are 8 steps to effectively clean out your refrigerator to set yourself up clean eating that will last.T

1. Think Through What You Are Wanting to Accomplish

Before you start purging everything, you first need to think about your goal.  

…Are you satisfied with what’s in your fridge and just need to clean it out?  

…Do you want to maintain a 80/20 lifestyle with Whole30 or another eating program?  

…Are you going Paleo after Whole30?  

…Are you wanting to cut gluten out of your diet?  

…Do you want to eat more whole/fresh foods? 

(Answers to these questions, will help you create an action plan for your purge.  For the sake of this post, I am going to keep things pretty general, and share with you the foundations to purge for any healthy lifestyle you are wanting to maintain).T

2. Take Everything Out

Before you can actually see what’s lurking in those hard to reach places of your fridge, you have to take it all out.  Spread everything out on your kitchen counter and empty every single thing out of your fridge. Yes, I mean everything. Down to the dijon mustard that never seems to expire in the back corner.

3. Scrub, Wash, and Clean Your Refrigerator

Can we talk about how gross refrigerators can get? It happens to all of us.  But, I’m convinced a clean fridge makes you want to fill it with clean food. I’m sure if there was ever a study done about this, they could prove these findings.  

Recently our refrigerator broke down and we had to completely empty it. After I cleaned the whole thing out – I wanted to keep it “pretty.” Full of colorful fruits and vegetables – all in their designated containers.  Staying clear of the “fluff” that junked up my new astatic.  Total mental thing here – but definitely real.

4. Throw out anything expired, starting to rot, or doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle

Your garbage can will be pretty full after this step.  It’s time to part ways with that half-eaten carton of ice cream that you’ve been saving for a rainy day and throw out the salad dressing that expired a year ago.  

Clean Out Your Refrigerator

5. Look at Ingredients and Throw Away the Crud

Ok – this is where things get really fun.  There are so many gross ingredients lurking in some of the products in your fridge.  If you want to maintain clean and healthy eating habits that stick – you’ve got to throw it out all of those products that have cruddy ingredients – and never buy them again! 

I promise there are so many great alternatives available – you won’t even miss some of these products you’re going to throw away.  Below is a list of some ingredients that do nothing good for you and simply need to find their way into your garbage can.

6. Go Grocery Shopping

Your fridge might look pretty bare about now! That’s a good thing.  You’ve parted ways with all of those products that do absolutely nothing good for you.  But now it’s time to re-stock with good products that will fuel your body.  

The best piece of advice I received when I started to truly change our eating habits – was to focus on shopping on the outer parimeter of the grocery store.  This is where all of the fresh – whole food is.  You’re not going to find a lot of great things in the middle of the store.  Try it out.  Go grocery shopping and fill your cart with fresh, colorful ingredients and avoid the inner aisles as much as you can.

Clean Out Your Refrigerator
Clean Out Your Refrigerator

7. Prep Your Refrigerator

After you do your grocery shopping haul – wash, cut, and store all of those fresh foods you just bought. I say it over and over, but you are more apt to grab some strawberries for a snack instead of chips, if the strawberries are washed, cut, and ready to eat. This is also when your fridge starts to look pretty, clean and colorful!

If you need some new containers to store all of this good new food, I recommend these for meal prep, and these for miscellaneous.  Durable containers that are an easy grab and that will keep your food fresh, is crucial!

8. Maintain Your New Clean Eating Habits

So, you’ve purged your fridge, gone grocery shopping for clean, fresh food, cut it all up and stored it. But how do you stick to this new routine without falling back into the convenience trap where your fridge starts to get cluttered with all of the things again.  Below are a few tips that will help you maintain your new eating habits:

  • Check out this blog post about buying organic food on a budget: I’ve included some great resources to help you maintain a clean lifestyle without spending a small fortune
  • Pick one day out of the week that is always grocery shopping day: Even if you think you can stretch out what you have for a few more days, don’t do it.  Go and restock on the items you need so that your fridge is always stocked with good fresh foods.
  • Find a system that works for you:I order all of my fresh food on Instacart and have my groceries delivered every Sunday. Best service ever.  You don’t have to step food in the store, and it also helps you avoid filling your cart with things you don’t need.  I order all of my non-perishable items on Thrive Market. Another favorite membership of mine and a great place to start if you need to restock things like condiments, baking and cooking supplies.  They offer all organic, non-gmo options for much cheaper than you will find in your local grocery. You can read my full review of Thrive Market here.
  • Know what your temptations are and stay away from them.  If chips are your weakness, don’t even walk through this aisle of the grocery store. Or sign up for Instacart to save you time at the store, and a wandering eye!

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