Having a well-stocked fridge is one of the essential parts of leading a healthy and a balanced lifestyle. Shopping and stocking is a major component to encourage cooking at home. Without the prep of setting yourself up for success, you are more likely to order takeout after a long day of work, and really, who can blame you?

My fridge philosophy is to keep things simple and streamlined. I've created routines for myself that encourage me to stock my fridge with foods that I know I like and are easy to prepare. As part of my routine on Sunday, I head over to my local farmers market and get ingredients for meal prepping and the week ahead. I also participate in a CSA, which provides me with a share of seasonal fruit, vegetables, and pasture-raised eggs from a local farm. Having an abundance of beautiful fresh produce on hand encourages me to prepare simple and delicious meals at home.

Having the right supporting players is also key to success. If you've assembled a strong supporting team of staples, you can pull together a simple meal, even with the slimmest of prospects. I've come to rely on these three staples for delicious and easy meal prep:

1. Miso

Stocking your fridge and pantry with an assortment of condiments helps add depth and dimension to whatever it is you are whipping up. Miso is so flavorful and great for gut health. I love throwing it on brown rice with seasonal roasted veggies!


2. Olive oil

Not only is it loaded with good fats, but a nice olive oil is jam-packed with flavor. It brightens up any salad, which I find myself eating daily at the peak of CSA season.

3. Arla cream cheese

Arla cream cheese is produced from farmer-owned dairy cooperatives and is made from four simple ingredients—milk, cream, cheese culture, and salt. Using items with minimal ingredients is always a non-negotiable in my eating and cooking philosophy. It's great as a snack with gluten-free crackers and veggies or whipped up into a dip with roasted peppers and spices.

I often struggle with the motivation to cook an elaborate healthy meal at the end of the day. To avoid caving in to takeout and to ensure that I am well-nourished and satiated, I lean on simple cooking techniques and focus on fresh seasonal foods. I make a few staples over the weekend that are easy to repurpose throughout the week with simple modifications. I also try to always have salad greens on hand to make sure I am getting my greens and my crunch on.

Everyone has different needs, schedules, and taste preferences. The key is to figure out what works best for you. Once you get into a routine and stock up on pantry and fridge essentials, you are one step closer to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

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