Stocking My (small) Fridge

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With how much fresh produce I consume, I am often asked, “How much do you spend on groceries? How often do you go shopping?”

First off, I think it’s important to note that groceries are a high-priority item in my budget. I would rather spend my money on high-quality food over clothes, shoes or random purchases any day. That being said, I do, of course, try to keep my grocery budget within reason!

One of my best tips for doing that is by making sure I buy only what I need–> wasted food = wasted money.

By shopping often (3-4x a week) I prevent over-buying, because I’m always aware of what’s in my fridge, and use it immediately!

A typical shopping trip for me:

  • 16 oz. carton of salad greens
  • 3-pack of organic romaine hearts
  • Bunch of organic “dino” kale (best kind for juicing!)
  • 2 organic cucumbers
  • 2 avocadoes
  • 3 organic peaches (for Austin)
  • Bag of organic lemons
  • Head of cauliflower
  • 5 lbs bag of organic carrots (juicing for Austin)
  • Pint of local cherry tomatoes
  • 2 blocks raw goat feta

Total money spent: $35-ish

These are my “staples,” and I probably replenish this stash about every 3 days. You’ll notice that I almost always try to buy local or organic– this is very important to me, and I think it’s worth the extra few dollars each trip! Obviously, some trips are more expensive than others, too. Once or twice a month, I usually buy a jar of Paesana marinara sauce, a jar of raw tahini, and there is usually a jar of raw almond butter consumed somewhere in there, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course, since I don’t buy meat to cook at home, I’m also saving money there… it usually goes towards my raw goat cheese or organic eggs, instead.

How I arrange my fridge also keeps me aware of what we have on hand:

We have a pretty small fridge, so there’s only ONE veggie drawer–> and it’s devoted to “juicing” produce! Austin’s 5 lbs bag of carrots, and my romaine, kale, and lemons all fit in there. When the drawer’s empty, we know exactly what we need!

Our top shelf is usually devoted to salad ingredients, and random condiments:

On this shelf:

  • Mixed salad greens (1 box = 3 salads for me)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Heirloom tomatoes (leftover from our CSA box)
  • Raw almond butter
  • 3 blocks of raw goat feta

Random condiments:

Below that shelf, are my “supplemental” veggies, which tend to vary by week:

  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby carrots
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kerrygold butter
  • (usually there’s a carton of organic eggs there, too)
  • HUGE romaine head (leftover from CSA box)
  • Cabbage
  • Red bell pepper
  • Head of Cauliflower
  • Jar of raw tahini

As you can see, everything’s in plain sight–> so I don’t forget about some veggie that I need to use!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but our fridge is a hand-me-down, of a hand-me-down… which saves us money, but comes with sacrifices.

Like, no door shelves. (they fell out!)

But, we know how to make due with what we’ve got:

My “egg” spaces, which still remain in the door, are the perfect holders for ripe avocados! (room for my soft goat cheese and refrigerated probiotics, too)

*I usually have a couple avocados ripening on my counter top, and a few ripe ones ready-to-use in my fridge–> so I’m always prepared for my Choco-Cado milkshakes!!

Our teeny-tiny freezer doesn’t have room for much:

But you can usually find in there:

  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • Macaroons!!! (these freeze SO WELL)
  • Frozen pesto dinner from Trader Joe’s (emergency dinner for Austin) ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Gluten-free tortillas
  • Millet Veggie burgers (I thaw these one at a time for Austin’s dinner)
  • Sprouted Grain Buns (for the veggie burgers)
  • Green peas (for icing knees, headaches, etc… probably will never eat that bag!)

When it’s fully-stocked, you can barely shut our freezer door…

Having a stocked fridge that’s easy to navigate is KEY to a healthy lifestyle! This system works well for me, and I’d love to hear what works best for you.

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Comments

Christina

Thanks for the refrigerator breakdown! Ours look freakishly similar.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I just bought the living socials deal too! Any little bit helps, right?

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

I have a weird fascination with seeing what’s inside other people’s fridges. So, thanks for indulging me. ๐Ÿ˜›

Heather

I haven’t seen any living social deal but a girlfriend texted me about it – I’m going to have to check it out!! The best part of my move is a Side-by-side fridge!! I’m SO pumped!! I agree with the meat though – I stopped buying and it saved TREMENDOUSLY on my bills.

Ashley

Why don’t you eat peas? Any reason?

Mary

I think she wont eat “that bag of peas” because (if it’s anything like at our home) the bag has thawed out more than a couple of times serving as an ice pack for headaches, twisted ankles, sore knees, etc. The peas seem to mold nicely to any part of the body. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cynthia

How do you keep produce fresh? Mine keeps spoiling after a few days.

    Megan

    I typically go to the grocery store every few days, so I only buy enough to last for 2-3 days in the fridge. I think they sell bags that will make your produce last longer though, if shopping that often isn’t feasible for you.

Brittany

I’ve found lately that buying frozen vegetables to save money and cut down on spoiled food. Does the freezing process affect the nutritional value of the veggies?

Malka

I like to keep plain yoghurt and fruits in my freezer, to blend them with dates, nuts and chia/flax seeds to make delicious and healthy frozen yoghurts.

Also, I like to use fried onion in many foods but I don’t like the way it smells up my studio flat for a few days, so I make a big batch once in a while and freeze it in portions in bags, flat and thin, so it thaws in no time when I want to use it.

I also freeze portions of semi-prepared fenugreek, so that I don’t need to sprout the seeds for 2-3 days every time I want to make good fenugreek.

I usually also make big batches of tahinni dressing and of a tasty pepper-tomato-onion dip and freeze them in containers with the amount for one week in each.

And of course, some healthy chocolate truffles from this site, and a delicious healthy pie I make….

    Malka

    Oh and my Georgian brother-in-law’s delicious ‘Satteni’ recipe…
    Made with walnuts, onions, parsley, corriander, tomato paste, etc is also a great staple to keep in the freezer in portions.

    Malka

    Oh and my Georgian brother-in-law’s delicious ‘Satteni’ recipe…
    Made with walnuts, onions, parsley, corriander, tomato paste, etc is also a great staple to keep in the freezer in portions.

    Instead of pitting dates (and checking them for infestation) every time I want to use them, I pit and check 1 KG at a time and keep them in a container in the fridge. That way I can easily use them as desired with no hassle.

    I also keep cartons of coconut cream and milk in the fridge, so I can prepare things without needing to plan in advance.
    And plain yoghurts and apple cider vinegar etc.

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