We’ve all been there: You have a busy day working from home, and all of a sudden you realize you’re starving—so you head to the fridge and end up eating a handful of snacks that make you feel sick afterward. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Luckily, the experts weighed in on their favorite picks to always have on hand in your fridge or freezer. Having these essential food items easily accessible in your fridge means you’ll be more likely to grab one of these healthy snacks when you’re hungry, and you’ll feel full and satisfied without gaining extra weight.
Snack essentials for refrigerator
- Celery. High in water and fiber content with a refreshing crunch factor that comprises a satiating snack that will fill you up without tipping the scale,” says Hemalee Patel, DO at One Medical.
- Radishes. Like celery, they are fiber-rich and low-cal explains Patel.
- Cucumbers. These yummy veggies are crunchy, tasty and high in water, Patel notes.
- Hummus. “Perfect to pair with your veggies as a quick snack that is high in fiber and offers good quality fat content to fill you up,” says Patel.
- Greek yogurt. This fridge essential is high in protein, low in sugar content, great-tasting and filling. “Add some berries and sprinkled nuts for a sweet treat or add a little bit of spice and make a savory dip for your veggies,” says Patel.
- Berries. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. They are perfect for snacking on and so easy to toss into a smoothie for a quick and healthy snack or meal,” says Kelsey Riley, a registered nurse and founder of Planted in the Kitchen, a plant-based food blog.
- Peeled, ripe bananas. Put these in the freezer and enjoy this freezer essential for a snack. “Ripe bananas are a good source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin B6. Peel them and store them in broken chunks in a freezer bag (or another container). Take out however much needed at a time for a quick base for smoothies or vegan banana ice cream,” says Holly Klamer, MS, RDN.
- Avocados. Not only are they a delicious addition to any meal, but avocados also pack a nutritional punch. “I am a big advocate for healthy fats to promote energy, healthy digestion, glowing skin and all-around well-being and avocados are the perfect example of this,” says Dr. Stephanie Nichols, an Integrative Doctor and the medical advisor for Eu Natural. They are also full of vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy body and mind. Try these amazing avocado recipes to incorporate more into your diet.
- Watermelon. “Loaded with carotenoids, lycopene and vitamin C, this sweet melon’s high-water content will keep you satisfied and hydrated,” says April Olivolo, a certified personal trainer and certified nutrition coach.
- Blueberries. These blue power marbles are bursting with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, not to mention vitamin C and potassium, according to Olivolo.
- Goji berries. Stock these powerhouses in your fridge. They’re high in zeaxanthin to protect against oxidative stress, while also ideal for “taming a sweet tooth with their bitter-sweet taste and chewy texture,” says Olivolo. Try them in a superfood energy bite.
- Pistachios. They contain some of the richest antioxidants and fiber of all nuts. Plus, pistachios are a healthy snack for weight management, says Olivolo.
- Red bell peppers. Because they spend the longest time on the vine, red bells contain over 10 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C than their green cousins, explains Olivolo.
Healthy drinks to have on hand
- Seltzer water. Drinking seltzer water “plain or with fruit essence offers hydration and quenches thirst without the added sugar of other fizzy beverages,” says Patel.
- Coconut water. Perfect for those post-workout days, this essential drink gives you energy with an electrolyte boost.
- Bone broth. “Nutrient-dense, warming and high in protein, this can be heated up and consumed as a satiating beverage any time of day,” notes Patel.
- Green tea. This deep green elixir is not only overflowing with polyphenols and antioxidants, it also boosts metabolism and supports fat burning, says Olivolo. Keep it in the fridge for a refreshing glass of goodness.
Related: 12 Ways to Detox and Cut Cravings Once and for All
Best meal-time staples
- Overnight oats. Soaking overnight oats with chia seeds offers fiber, protein and is a filling and satisfying meal providing energy without the sugar crash. “Overnight oats are also rich in manganese, zinc, copper, iron and phosphorus, “says Patel.
- Hard-boiled eggs. Keep these stocked and within reach on a shelf. This fridge essential is high in protein and a portable, healthy snack, says Patel.
- Soup. Offering clear broth and tons of veggies, this is an easy-to-warm-up option to keep in your refrigerator. “If you have a soup recipe you like making, double up your batch and freeze one half to have a healthy meal ready to go,” says Laura Zea, MS, a nutritionist.
- Salmon. “Abundant in omega 3’s and astaxanthin, salmon is a near-perfect protein to support muscle recovery and appetite control,” says Olivolo.
Essential side dishes for fridge and freezer
- Sauerkraut. This keeps well in the fridge and can be added on a salad for instant umami, or it can be used as a pre-meal snack that is very nutritious, and high in pre- and probiotics, says Patel.
- Spinach. This is a must-have in any kitchen. It’s the perfect vegetable because it’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, and low in calories and sugar. “Plus, it’s easily digestible and very versatile. You can eat it for virtually any meal whether you are following a vegan, keto, plant-based paleo, whole30 or any diet in between,” says Heather Hanks, a nutritionist with Instapot.
- Kimchi. “Not only does kimchi last a really long time in the refrigerator, it also provides beneficial bacteria because it is a fermented vegetable,” says Michele Sidorenkov, RDN. It adds extra vegetables to a dish and packs a ton of flavor so you don’t have to add in other sweet sauces or salty seasonings.
- Frozen riced cauliflower. Consider this a convenient way to up the veggies in your diet in both sweet and savory dishes. “Scoop some out of the bag to add to rice dishes to extend your meal with extra veggies that no one will even notice,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. “Blend riced cauliflower into your smoothie for extra creaminess and fiber without the cauliflower taste.” A one cup serving of cauliflower has only 25 calories and 100% of the daily value of vitamin C, along with antioxidants.
Related: 23 Healthy Snacks to Pack in Your Travel Bag
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- Ground flaxseed. “It’s easy to add a spoonful to yogurt, smoothies, salads or oatmeal. It provides a good source of fiber, omega 3’s and iron,” says Klamer.
- Ricotta cheese. “Ricotta cheese is higher in protein and calcium compared to cottage cheese. It can be used as a spread on top of toast or as a base for a pasta dish,” says Klamer.
- Chia seeds. “These superfoods are high in minerals and will add a dose of protein and healthy fat like omega-3s,” says Zea. A sprinkle of these seeds will boost the nutrition of any meal. Zea suggests keeping them in the freezer so they last longer.
- Hemp seeds. These nutty gems—rich in essential fatty acids, protein and fiber—are perfect sprinkled over oatmeal or yogurt, says Olivolo.
Now that you’re stocked up on fridge essentials, try these 100+ Fridge Organization Tips to keep all of those healthy items easily accessible!
- Hemalee Patel, DO, internal medicine doctor at One Medical
- Kelsey Riley, registered nurse, founder of Planted in the Kitchen
- Holly Klamer, MS, RDN
- Dr. Stephanie Nichols, Integrative Doctor and medical advisor for Eu Natural
- April Olivolo, certified personal trainer, certified nutrition coach
- Laura Zea, MS, nutritionist
- Heather Hanks, nutritionist with Instapot
- Michele Sidorenkov, RDN
- Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club
- Antioxidants Journal: “Zeaxanthin: Metabolism, Properties, and Antioxidant Protection of Eyes, Heart, Liver, and Skin”
- Front Biosci (Landmark Ed): “Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior”