When you open your refrigerator, what catches your eye? Fresh, healthy foods…or highly processed, high-fat, high-sugar foods? Best: Front-load your refrigerator with easy-to-grab healthy foods and fresh ingredients that allow you to prepare nutritious meals. Here are some suggestions on what to keep and what to jettison from your fridge…


Skinless chicken or turkey breast is the healthiest choice. Unhealthiest: Dark meat and skin.

Eggs are a good source of protein. But if you are at high risk for heart disease, discuss with your doctor whether you should limit egg consumption to a few times per week as it can raise risk for cardiac events. Healthiest: Eat eggs hard- or soft-boiled, poached, scrambled or in an omelet with vegetables. Unhealthiest: Eggs fried in large amounts of butter.

Nuts and seeds are plant-based proteins that provide vitamins and minerals, fiber, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Consume one handful a day for health benefits.

Red meat is a good source of protein but can be high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Processed meats, such as ham, sausage and hot dogs are linked with health risks. Buy only lean cuts of meat, and drain excess fat during cooking. Or: Replace meat with vegetarian dishes containing tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils and/or whole grains at least once a week.


Yogurt is healthy, but best are low-fat, low-sugar or plain yogurt or a soy yogurt. Low-fat Greek yogurt has more protein than regular. Unhealthiest: Highly sweetened and full-fat yogurts.

Full-fat dairy milk contains high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Healthier choices: Soy milk, almond milk, and low-fat or nonfat milk. Unhealthiest: Sweetened dairy creamers that contain saturated fat and added sugar.

Cheese does have protein and calcium, but it can be high in saturated fat
and sodium. Healthiest: Low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim ricotta and mozzarella. Also try plant-based cheeses made from nuts and seeds.


Soda is never a healthy choice. Regular sodas contain too much sugar, and diet ones contain artificial sweeteners that may lead to harmful changes in blood sugar levels.

Fruit juice in moderation can be a healthy choice, but only if it is 100% fruit juice without added sugar. Light juices typically contain stevia or artificial sweeteners, which are not a healthy alternative to sugar.

Filtered water, unsweetened seltzer, sparkling water and homemade unsweetened iced tea are healthiest. Drink at least eight glasses of fluids a day.

Alcohol. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women should have no more than one drink per day.

Fruits and vegetables

Ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables should be at the front so you see them first.

Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and chard, are nutrition powerhouses. Packaged salads can be healthy as long as they don’t contain add-ins like dried fruit with sugar added, croutons and fatty dressings.

Tomatoes lose flavor when left in the fridge.

Buy fresh produce in season, and freeze it before it starts to go bad. Also opt for frozen fruits and vegetables, which are as healthy as fresh.

Fats and Condiments

Regular butter is high in saturated fat and linked to increased risk for heart disease. Healthier: Choose a buttery margarine spread with a healthy oil such as olive oil, nut butters and avocados.

Mayonnaise products contain unsaturated oils that are better for heart health than saturated fats. Healthiest: Light mayo products.

Illustration by Alayna Paquette.

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