Top 10 Refrigerator Essentials

by Kay Lynn


Having to run out to the store (or worse a restaurant) because you don’t have groceries is a waste of your time, gas and money.  Earlier I shared items always stocked in the pantry and freezer. Part three of the trilogy a list of the 10 essentials in the refrigerator.

1. Dairy. I try to get three servings a day of dairy so have a variety of products including cheeses, milk and yogurt.  They are all low-fat or nonfat.  I’m a fan of non-fat greek yogurt which I mix with fresh fruit.  We often have child-friendly yogurt for my grandson.

2. Hummus. It’s really hard to stop eating this stuff so I measure it out and use it as a spread on crackers or to dip vegetables.  My favorite variety is roasted pepper!

3. Eggs. This food is a great source of protein so we try to have it a couple of times a week.  I also usually have a container of egg beaters on hand.

4.Vegetables. I struggle to eat the recommended daily vegetable recommendations.  They are just not my favorite but I keep working on it.  We stock salad mix(es) which does help in eating salads more often.  I also stock baby carrots and grape tomatoes.

5. Fruit.  Whatever is in season is usually in the fridge.  It can vary from blueberries to watermelon.

6. Lunch Meats.  The usual fare at lunch is a sandwich so we stock lean ham and turkey to eat.  Sometimes, we’ll have bacon on hand, but we’re trying to make the switch to turkey bacon when we do buy it.

7. Water. There’s a Britta pitcher with water.  This keeps it chilled for us and the pet dishes.

8. Condiments. Our fridge has the usual complement of condiments to add flavor to what we eat.  This includes ketchup, mustard, relish, worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.

9. Soda.  I’m a little embarrassed to report that we almost always have three different kinds of soda pop in the fridge.  I’m a caffeine free Diet Coke fiend while my husband prefers Coke Zero.

10. Dessert. A meal should end with a sweet, right?  Well, for those times I have some sugar free pudding or applesauce on hand.

Keeping the refrigerator stocked is part of our strategy to eat healthier and save money.  What essentials would you add?

photo: Attribution Some rights reserved by Ollie Crafoord



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Everyday Tips June 10, 2011 at 7:39 am

We always have kefir, which is great as a probiotic. I also keep cucumbers on hand because my kids love sliced cucumber. We have tons of fruit all the time.

Salsa is another staple, the boys in my house go crazy if we run out of salsa.

Kay Lynn June 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

Kris, I’ve never had kefir. I’ll have to look into that. We do always have salsa. I like to put it on scrambled eggs and baked potatoes in addition to traditional foods.

krantcents June 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

You know soda is not an essential! You won me over though because of the hummus. I love hummus on pita and as a dip for vegetables. I have it every weekend. I would also go light on the luncheon meats unless they were unprocessed like turkey or chicken breast.

Kay Lynn June 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

Krantcents, I appreciate you calling me out on the soda. It is a bad habit, but we NEVER let it run out. The luncheon meats are not processed, just sliced. I have to watch salt intake so am trying to cut back on processed foods.

Maggie@SquarePennies June 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Kay Lynn, we keep yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, & lower fat cheeses for dairy. Salsa is a staple for us, as are fresh green peppers and cukes. We eat the peppers in strips or added to scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of cheese & salsa on the side. Yum. Cucumber slices are good topped with leftover salmon for a nice cool supper. We keep individual cans of lower-salt vegetable juice (V-8) as an easy way to get more veggies. We each have one can a day. Not as good as some sources of veggies, but at least it helps. If you don’t like V-8 you could try one of their juices that’s a blend of fruits & vegetables to disguise the veggie flavors. We use a lot of frozen veggies for stir-fry and for quick sides. I confess that I am also a Diet Coke addict, but I have cut back on my consumption of it. I like iced tea in the summer & I read somewhere that it counts as a serving of vegetables! Congrats on the hummus! I’m still working on that one.

Mayor of Humbleville June 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Hi Kay Lynn,
Even with all your soda, I think your fridge essentials are healthier than mine… Let’s see, my hubby and I usually are stocked up on Mountain Dew, frozen pizzas, and bagels w/cream cheese. I suppose that wouldn’t be too bad by itself, but when you consider what’s in our pantry, it starts looking pretty pathetic. Considering our food staples, I certainly wouldn’t feel bad about your soda fixation. 🙂
Humbly Yours,
The Mayor

The Saved Quarter June 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Do you make your own hummus? Especially from dry beans it is really, really cheap, along with being delicious and nutritious.

Car Negotiation Coach June 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

BB- I gotta add Cholula and beer for our house….or I should say for me, since my wife and daugther don’t go near either of them :).

Little House June 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have a problem keeping my fridge stocked and find myself running out to grab fast food! However, when it is stocked, I eat at home more. I’d also add yogurt to this list of “must-haves” in a fridge. 😉

Barb Friedberg June 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

We go with your hubby, coke zero! Also like yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, veggies, and milk! And we also like a slice of cheese every now and then.

Financial Success for Young Adults June 14, 2011 at 8:45 am

I know you said vegetables but I would specifically include the holy trinity: celery, carrots and onions. These are essential for starting any soup or flavorful meal.

Kay Lynn June 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

I’ve only learned in the past couple of years about this combination and that’s from watching the food network. Thanks for reminding us.

Maggie@SquarePennies June 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

You gotta love those 3 veggies. You can easily make carrot sticks (or just use baby carrots) and celery sticks for lunches or dips. Celery logs can be stuffed with all sorts of things to make appetizers from humble to gourmet! When fresh onions get expensive I use dried onions. That works for some dishes, but not for others.

Kay Lynn I like your idea of keeping frozen mixed red & green pepper strips with onions. ( I saw that on your thread about staples in your freezer.) That’s a quick way to make fajitas! Love it!

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