How to Stock a Real Food Fridge with Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Make Eating Healthy Easy
Keeping your fridge stocked with real, whole, anti-inflammatory foods makes healthy eating easy! Here’s a peek of what’s in my fridge, complete with a handy real food shopping list you can take with you to the grocery store.
When I was first diagnosed with PCOS and Leaky Gut (+IBS), I felt a bit overwhelmed by the anti-inflammatory diet my doctor put me on.
Related: What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
But after doing a ton of research, I got a handle on the concept and now, just over one year later, I have totally reversed my symptoms (think constipation and bloating, irregular periods and fatigue, insulin resistance and blood sugar irregularities) and I’ve never felt better.
While eating anti-inflammatory foods was absolutely the key to my healing, I couldn’t have done so without keeping a well-stocked fridge full of real foods.
Coupled with meal planning, stocking your kitchen with healthy foods is essential for maintaining your health.
Think about it–if you’ve got good-for-you foods at your finger tips all the time and no processed junk to fall back on, you won’t be tempted to make poor choices and you’ll always have something healthy to eat ready to go!
So, before we get into the real foods I stock my fridge with, let me preface this by saying that you don’t need to make the switch all at once. That’s totally overwhelming, super expensive and sets you up for failure.
Instead, once you run out of an item, simply replace it with a better choice. It’s a process and we are all about celebrating progress, not perfection!
Related: What is Real, Whole Food?
Where to Shop for Healthy Food
Occasionally I’ll swing into Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Publix, or a local farmer’s market, but Whole Foods is definitely my go-to, whether I go the store myself or order my groceries online to be delivered through Instacart.
Have y’all tried Instacart? OMG, it is my absolute favorite–the convenience of Amazon meets the freshness of a real grocery store, like Whole Foods (they also deliver from Kroger, Publix and even Costco–you don’t even have to have a membership!!).
Even better, the prices on Instacart when you shop from Whole Foods are the same as in-store!
The reason I shop at these grocery stores (other than the prices) is because I generally try to buy as much organic food as possible to stock my fridge.
But if price is a concern, or I can’t find the organic option, I at least try to stick to organic for those foods on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.
So, let’s get into it. Shall we?
What’s in My Fridge
Fresh Organic + Seasonal Produce: Of course the first tenant of anti-inflammatory eating is produce. Getting a wide array of fruits and vegetables into your diet daily is the single best thing you can do for your health. So, I keep my fridge stocked with a rotating selection of organic produce. I always have bags of organic spinach, plus I love keeping lettuces and leafy greens (my favorites are arugula, romaine and baby spring mix, or heartier options like baby kale and rainbow chard), mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peppers, carrots, citrus (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit) and plenty of fresh herbs (usually cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, mint and basil) in my fridge. Of course, this is always changing depending on what’s in season, which results in fresher food for less money and less environmental impact.
Organic, Pasture-Raised Eggs: Eggs are easily my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, or really any time of day. I’m totally that hipster cook who swears by the Portlandia mantra #putaneggonit. My go-to egg source (if not from a local farm at the farmer’s market) is Vital Farms, which come from Certified Humane® pasture-raised hens that are fed USDA Certified Organic feed.
Organic, Pasture-Raised Meat: The same goes for meats–while I do try to eat seafood several times a week (always sustainable, wild-caught choices) and vegetarian once a week, we usually have some kind of animal protein for dinner. I always opt for organic, grass-fed or pasture-raised options, which are better for you, the animal and the environment. While buying USDA Certified Organic is a great place to start, this doesn’t really tell you anything about animal welfare or environmental impact. So I often look for third-party certifications, like Animal Welfare Approved, American Grassfed Certified or Global Animal Partnership (I try to always be above Step 4). My favorite meats to buy are bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, pork chops or pork shoulder, ground meats (from turkey and chicken to beef and lamb) and flank steak. My go-to source: Butcher Box. When you order through this link, you’ll receive FREE pastured bacon AND $15 off your first order.
Non-Dairy Milk: When I’m at home, I try to avoid dairy as much as possible, so I rely on nut milks when I need a creamy liquid in my smoothies, coffee, tea, oatmeal or for sauces. New Barn Almond Milk is the cleanest brand I’ve found, and I’m also addicted to Forager Project’s Cashew Milk. If I do need the real thing (sometimes a little cream in your coffee is just necessary), I always buy Organic Valley’s Half & Half, or a full-fat, raw milk from the farmer’s market. If you do eat dairy, just be sure you’re buying full fat (whole) milk, and try to buy organic, grass-fed and/or raw or unpasteurized milk, if you can. Same goes for butter–I tend to use ghee instead, which isn’t stored in the fridge–but if you cook with butter, definitely buy organic, pastured butter, which is so much better for you than conventional butter.
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water: I love adding coconut water to my smoothies, or drinking the water plain if I’m feeling particularly dehydrated (cough…Saturday morning…cough). But most coconut waters are made from syrupy concentrates, filled with excess sugar, added flavors and other harmful ingredients (source). So I always buy Harmless Harvest, which is minimally processed, sustainably sourced and down right delicious!
Kombucha: When it comes to drinks, I tend to stick with filtered water 99% of the time. Other than 1 cup of coffee in the morning, a glass of wine at night, and some kombucha at lunch. I love the carbonation and tang, and it’s so incredibly good for your digestion. GT’s Synergy is my favorite brand, and I usually buy their Green or Ginger varieties. I love the bubbles from carbonated beverages, so I always keep some Sparkling Water in my fridge, too.
Alcohol: While alcohol does have an inflammatory response in our bodies, I’ve found that 1-2 glasses of wine a few nights a week keeps me happy and sane. Of course, I try to only drink natural, organic and/or biodynamic wines to avoid all the nasty additives found in conventional wines–my favorite resource is Dry Farm Wines subscription. When I’d rather have a beer, I usually reach for Omission’s Beer, which is crafted to remove gluten–their lager and pale ale is SO delicious, and I truly can’t taste the difference. And of course, I always keep a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine chilling in the fridge, so that I’m ready to celebrate a special occasion (or a Tuesday) at a moment’s notice! 😉
Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Whether I’m making salad dressing, whipping up a DIY skincare recipe or just drinking it straight (seriously, a shot of ACV in the morning does wonders for digestion and hormone balance), I go through a lot of apple cider vinegar. I always buy Bragg’s, which is organic, raw, unfilted and still has the “mother”, which is what makes it so good for you! For a toned down version, try Farmhouse Culture’s saur kraut or their gut shots.
Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bread: I do eat almost exclusively gluten-free when I’m at home, but most of the GF breads I’ve tried taste more like cardboard. That was until I found Canyon Bakehouse–their breads are soft, slightly sweet and so delicious. Truly, they’re as good as any regular bread I’ve tried, so I always keep a loaf in my fridge, and sometimes splurge for their everything bagels which are heavenly. Note: I do try to limit the amount of simple carbs I eat, so I keep the bread in my fridge because I only have a slice a few times a week, usually at breakfast with avocado and a fried egg.
Cured Meats + Cheeses: While I also try to eat dairy-free when I’m at home, there are a few rare exceptions. I always keep a block of Parmigiano Reggiano on hand because just a tablespoon of it freshly grated over gluten-free pasta makes a world of difference! I also like Organic Valley’s Raw Cheeses and Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery Raw Goat Milk Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Another good rule of thumb for buying cheese: get it in a block–it’s cheaper and you won’t have to worry about the anti-caking ingredients found in shredded cheese. I also keep some cured meats in this drawer, like Pederson’s Farms Organic, Sugar-Free Bacon, Applegate Organic Hot Dogs (seriously these make for a great protein-rich snack in a pinch) and Naturalissima’s cured meats, like salami, pancetta, proscuitto and chorizo (these are awesome for charcuterie boards at parties!).
Herring: Ok, I know this sounds crazy, but I always keep a jar of pickled herring in my fridge because it makes for an incredibly easy and delicious snack. I usually buy Blue Hill Bay’s herring, and often I’ll take a few filets and put them on top of a gluten-free cracker. Admittedly, herring can be an acquired taste for some, but it’s SO GOOD FOR YOU! It’s a super rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, heart-healthy essential fats that also play an important role in normal brain development and function, with tons of vitamin D and zinc. Try it!
Condiments: I usually make salad dressings from scratch because the bottled stuff tends to be filled with so much junk. But in a pinch, I’ll reach for Tessemae’s Salad Dressings and Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil Salad Dressing (honey dijon is my absolute favorite!). Their Mayo is also a staple in my fridge. I also keep tons of hot sauce in my fridge, using it to add tons of flavor to everything from eggs and roasted veggies to burrito bowls, breakfast skillets and even popcorn. Some of my favorites include Ninja Squirrel Sriracha Sauce, Cholula Hot Sauce + Tobasco. I also always have organic tomato paste, salsa and ketchup in my fridge, and a tub of Miso Master Organic Miso Paste and hummus (in this picture, you’ll see I like Roots, but the cleanest and best brand I’ve found is Hope Foods).
Related: Real-Food-Based Jarred Sauces
What’s in My Freezer
Frozen Organic Fruit and Veggies: Just like my fridge, my freezer is stocked with tons of organic produce. I love using frozen fruit in my smoothies–it makes them icy cold without watering them down with ice cubes. Plus, frozen fruit is picked at the peak of seasonal freshness and frozen on the spot, so it’s actually fresher and more flavorful than regular fruit. I almost always have frozen berries, mango, pineapple and cherries on hand. Likewise, I keep a handful of frozen veggies in my freezer to add to soups, pastas and stir-frys. Some of my favorites include peas, sliced okra, green beans, edamame and butternut squash. I pretty much exclusively buy Whole Foods’ 365 brand, which is the cheapest I’ve found for organic options.
SmoothieBox: Superfood collagen smoothies made from organic fruit and veggies with zero added sugars or preservatives, delivered right to your door for the easiest, healthiest breakfast. I regularly rely on these delicious smoothies since it’s faster and easier than having to make my own.
Sambazon Superfruit Acai Packets: You might remember these packets from the Anti-Inflammatory Acai Turmeric Smoothie recipe. I love keeping these frozen acai packets on hand for smoothies and smoothie bowls. I usually opt for Sambazon’s Pure Unsweetened packs (it’s just pure açaí puree) and the Supergreens (which adds kale, banana, spinach, spirulina, flaxseed and coconut milk to the açaí).
Kaffir Lime Leaves: I absolutely love Thai food, and kaffir lime leaves are a staple of the cuisine. I buy a pack of fresh leaves at a local international market and then keep them in the freezer. That way, they stay fresh and I can just add them to soups and marinades as I need them.
Peeled Ginger Knobs: I think I learned this trick from Rachael Ray, if you can believe it. But basically you buy a piece of ginger, peel it and then cut it into 1-inch chunks. Store it in a plastic bag in the freezer and when a recipe calls for ginger, simply grab a knob and use a microplane grater to grate it into the dish. It’s so easy and ensure I always have plenty of the superfood on hand.
Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass: This is another amazing superfood I keep in my freezer to up the nutrition ante on smoothies, juices and other drinks. My favorite brand of Wheat Grass Powder is Amazing Grass, which is also Organic, non-GMO and gluten-free. Not only does wheatgrass contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, plant-based protein and phyto-nutrients (it’s one of the best sources of living chlorophyll, which is antibacterial and a natural healer), it’s also extremely alkalizing (meaning it naturally balances and increases alkalinity), and it supports your immune system and your body’s detoxification process.
Wild, Sustainable Seafood: Because I’m really picky about what seafood I eat, I’ve found it’s usually best to buy it frozen. I always look for wild, sustainably-caught seafood to stock my freezer with, ensuring I always have a healthy meal ready to go (frozen seafood defrosts so fast!). My two staples are Whole Foods’ Whole Catch Shrimp, which is responsibly farmed, MSC-certified, or if it’s not certified it carries the color-coded sustainability status rankings by partnering organizations, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium, and their Wild Salmon, another sustainable and delicious choice! I also always stock up on seafood from Vital Choice, an online retailer selling fresh, wild-caught, sustainably harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood like halibut, tuna, shrimp and lobster. Get 10% off your first sustainable seafood order with code VCAF10!
Homemade Bone Broth: About once a month, I’ll make a big pot of homemade bone broth to keep stocked in my fridge and freezer. For chicken, I’ll use chicken feet and necks and for beef, I opt for bones like marrow, knuckles, and feet. Sometimes I’ll just drink this plain, but more often I add it to soups, stocks, sauces, etc. One of the most nourishing and healing foods on the planet!
Healthy Grocery List
Alright, so there you have it. These anti-inflammatory foods are how I keep my fridge stocked so that healthy meals and always quick and easy to make.
To help you stock your own fridge full of foods that will reduce inflammation, I’ve created a real food shopping list you can take with you to the grocery store. Just click here to download the grocery list!
What’s in your fridge? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.