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Fridge Makeover Challenge

by Arielle J on January 12, 2015

arielles fridge makeover

Last week I led a “Be Well Fridge Makeover Challenge”
on instagram to inspire healthier kitchens in 2015!

Congrats to @cynpearls! You’re the winner of the FIRST challenge!

As a thank you for participating, below are 5 tips from me
on how to healthify your fridge.

And surprise! As a thank you to all of you who participated,
I also included a tip on what you add to your refrigerators too.

All suggestions are based on the intentions/goals
that were posted on instagram using hashtag #bewellfridgemakeover


be well fridge makeover winner

@cynpearl intentions:
1. To learn how food can be thy medicine for each of the 4 bods in mi casa so we can ween off traditional medicine.
2. To better prep for the weeks mad rush around dinner time so its easier to make a healthy family dinner
3. To find healthier substitutes for my go to staples that I’ve known for 40 years

1. Looks like you have TONS of deliciousness in that fridge! But you have SO much that I can hardly see anything!  I presume you probably forgot about a few of the items, especially that are placed in the back too?! Even if you know every single thing in that fridge, time to clean it up and organize it a little more. It’s a new year so now is the perfect time to renew your space. My recommended steps: take everything out of the fridge. Toss out anything (or giveaway) that you don’t need, will never use or is expired.  Wipe it down with a wet washcloth. And then inspect your goods! Anything you can’t pronounce, toss out or give to someone in need.

2. Speaking of organization, here’s a tip to help you better prepare dinner so you’re not in a mad rush to make an entire family dinner: when you get home from the supermarket, allot an extra 30 minutes to cut up the vegetables you have, wash them up and place them in tupperware containers. If you already have the lettuce cut up, the peppers and tomatoes cut up, all you need to do it toss them into a bowl for salad, or into tomato sauce for a fresh pasta dish. Not to mention, the nicer the strawberries and tomatoes look and the prettier your fridge, the more apt you are to opening up the fridge and snacking on them, instead of other snacks, like chips, or ice-cream.

3. I see someone likes soda in the fam. I don’t it if you’ve been addicted for 40 years — soda is delicious…and hard to give up! But since one of your intentions is to stock your fridge with “food as medicine,” I would recommend trying other sweet, carbonated beverages to satisfy that persons sweet tooth that taste similar/will give you a similar satisfaction.  Try these healthified versions: Zevia soda (made with stevia), club soda with pomegranate juice and lemon or lime or un-sweetened grape juice.

4. I see you have some ice-cream (which happens to be my FAVORITE food). I would recommend purchasing organic ice-cream. I can’t tell what type of dairy you have in there, but dairy should be organic. If you’re going to splurge on organic, splurge on organic milks, eggs and ice-creams. The extra hormones that non-organic dairy has in it may have an effect on the little ones bodies in the future.

5. Again, I can’t really tell what you have in the fridge and freezer, but another go-to tip that I love is stocking your freezer with frozen vegetables. They last FOREVER and they’re super versatile, especially for a last minute family dinner. Toss frozen spinach into a pan with a little olive oil and garlic, add some eggs and quinoa for a “fried” rice quinoa, throw in some frozen peas to tomato sauce for a fresher pasta dish, etc

Hope this is helpful!

And to all of the other participants, here are some recommendations for you too:


1. Cook more
2. Eat out less
3. Family friendly ideas that work

1. Since your intention is to cook more and have family friendly dinners that work, I would start thinking about what the kids typically like to eat and how to make that a little more gourmet/adult-friendly so you would eat it too!

For example, you mentioned they like chicken nuggets. What about making your own healthier chicken fingers or tempeh parmigiana and cutting it up into bite size pieces, strips or fun shapes with a cookie cutter?

Or, what about trying a home-made mac and cheese? A family friendly “mac and cheese” dinner could be brown rice pasta spirals and melted mozzarella cheese on top. The kids can even sprinkle their own shredded mozzarella on top so it makes them part of the meal and provides a little activity for them. My nephews love this. If you want to make it a little more gourmet for you and your husband, you can throw in some broccoli, or kale to a pan of tomato sauce and drizzle on top. Hope this inspires you!


1. healthier alternatives to coffee creamer
2. healthier alternatives to diet pepsi and carbonated flavored waters
3. not to be embarrassed about my fridge anymore!

1. in response to your question about carbonated flavored waters — some have “natural” flavorings and even added sugars. So, I would suggest plain water, as its better for digestion (carbonated beverages have carbon dioxide in it which makes the bubbles). If the only way you will drink water is if its carbonated (which is totally ok!), then I suggest making your own flavored water! Like strawberry flavored water? Add some frozen strawberries into a glass of water, wait 1-2 minutes or leave overnight in a pitcher. You’ll be surprised how delicious and flavorful it becomes!


1. Cook more


1. I hope you get to cook more in the new year too, cara! I would purchase some fish (you can always keep it frozen until you cook with it).

This honey-mustard pretzel salmon is super easy. Also, here are 9 other delicious fish recipes, including pistachio-crusted cod. Delicious and SO easy to make!


1. eat less dairy
2. cook more frequently
3. update fridge with essential cooking ingredients


1. sounds like you really want to cook more this year – that makes me so happy and excited for you!

Looks like you have a lot of the staples – tomato sauce, string cheese, tortillas. I suggest adding some eggs (you can throw them into a fried rice quinoa, or you can make eggs on the weekends with them and even healthy french!). I also suggest some miso paste (sweet white version) – you can make miso soup with it and a quick salad dressing for lunch or dinner or even this miso-lemon salmon!


1. staying healthy
2. losing weight
3. easy, convenient meals my husband can grab for lunch

1. her michelle! since one of your intentions is to make more easy, convenient lunches for you and your husband, I would first ask him what he typically would BUY for lunch. Getting inspiration from your favorite salad bars is also really helpful. For example, if he likes mexican salads, I would purchase boxed lettuce at the beginning of the week (tip: place a wet paper towel inside to make it last longer), a can of corn (which lasts forever in the pantry), some fresh peppers (slice them right when you get home), can of chickpeas (for protein), blue corn chips (for some crunch) and his protein and dressing of choice. Also, if he likes sandwiches or wraps, get some  brown rice tortillas and toss the salad inside of that (you can always put them in the freezer and defrost over night) A quick salad dressing is my mustard dressing using dijon, lemon, and sea salt. And you can turn it into honey-mustard dressing too with a little honey! Check it out here. Hope this inspires you…at least for one meal!


1. clearer clutter
2. easier meals in
3. romantic year ahead

1. hey krissy. thanks for participating! since one of your intentions is for easier meals in, I would first make a list of you and your husbands favorite meals by theme. For example, if he loves mexican, stock up on some shredded (organic) cheese and gluten-free tortillas and fresh or frozen peppers and you can make quesadillas! I always keep organic turkey bacon and organic chicken sausage in the freezer – lasts forever and its easy to just toss in the oven and cook and goes well with mexican or italian night! Hope this inspires you to have some  more romantic nights in. Don’t forget the candles!


1. quick, easy foods to prepare and cook AND eat on-the-go – good for traveling
2. eat healthier foods to keep me alert and energized
3. foods that wont go bad within a couple of days

1. hey laurel. Since you travel a lot and are looking for foods that wont go bad in a couple of days, I always recommend stocking up on frozen foods, like soy-free veggie burgers, frozen vegetables, like butternut squash and chopped kale, that you can just throw into a pasta sauce or sautee on a pan. I also love stocking the pantry with jars of tomato sauces, brown rice pasta and canned beans for last minute dinners. Hope this helps!


1. eating clean
2. experimenting with fresh recipes
3. incorporating the rainbow


1. I love the idea of incorporating the rainbow into your daily meals! It’s tough to tell what veggies and fruit you currently have in those drawers. but my favorite thing to do at the supermarket is to try one new colorful vegetable every time I go to the supermarket. It’s also helpful to get your kids involved — you can make it a “taste-test activity of the week!” Some of my recent favorites – jicama, purple carrots, okra and tomatillos.


1. cook more and eat out less
2. eat non-processed and organic food
3. make healthy and nutritious lunches for my picky husband. He likes: bread, meat and cheese! He likes tombstone pizzas, ham sandwiches, red meat and caesar salad. He has liked healthy substitutions I’ve made for him such as cauliflower rice with tomato sauce, sandwiches on ezekial bread and most veggies. He won’t eat apples, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, peppers or hard boiled eggs unless they are in a salad.

I would try to find healthier ingredients to food he already loves. But be careful about going way too overboard or he’ll associate with healthy = crazy and disgusting! Ezekial bread is a great alternative to regular bread. I particularly like the ezekial buns. They’re a little heftier than the sliced bread. If he likes meat,


1. make more meals at home. I love: gluten-free pizza, mac and cheese and gluten-free cupcakes
2. start mornings off with prayer and meditation routine
3. sleep before midnight

Since one of your intentions is to make more meals at home, I would
stock your fridge with one new vegetable per week to inspire you to cook.
For example, next week, you can stock it with fresh kale and you can make your
gluten-free kale pizza (swap the sprouted grain tortillas with brown rice tortillas)!


1. knowing which foods will give me the most energy
2. more variety within my diet
3. go-to snacks

Since one thing on your list is more go-to snacks, like I mentioned above to @cynpearls, I would
cut up the veggies you already have in your fridge so they’re easy to just whip out
of your fridge and eat or pack up in a little baggie and bring to work.
Also, once they’re cut up, they can become really
versatile. For example, when you get home from the supermarket, instead of putting your
whole veggies int he fridge, which will actually go bad fast, I would
invest in some plastic tupperware at the supermarket and when you get home,
cut it all up.
easy snacks: cut up peppers dipped in hummus (you can even make your own in a blender chickpeas, olive oil, garlic HERE), celery with almond butter and a drizzle of honey, cucumbers or radishes dipped in pesto (you can buy or make your own HERE with almonds to get a dose of protein)
easy lunch: salad with lettuce + your (already cut up) sliced peppers, cucumbers, radishes and a can of chickpeas (rinsed) with a drizzle of flax oil or olive oil + sea salt. Hope this gives you some helpful ideas!



1. confession! although John and i cook pretty healthy, he is obsessed with condiments! He doesn’t use salt and instead pours these over EVERYTHING.

2. Start using more spices and herbs

3. Make my own “healthified” condiments and dressings


1. hey christina. nothing wrong with loving condiments — I am obsessed with condiments too! Since of your intentions is to swap the condiments for healthier spices and herbs, here are some of my favorite condiments to start:

 ketchup, BBQ, teriyaki sauce, tamari soy sauce. This is one of my favorite sea salts. I also love cayenne (makes everything spicy). And this is one of my favorite salad dressings: Carrot-Ginger-Miso Dressing made in the blender in 3 minutes! Hope this starts you on the right track for now!

If you’re interested in having your Fridge Makeover by Arielle, click here. *Sign up by January 15, 2015 and get it for only $35

And if you’re interested in having more of an in-depth conversation with Arielle on creative ways to get healthier this year, click here.


be well,


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