Stocking nutritious, convenient staples in your refrigerator can save the day -- and your health. These dietitian-approved suggestions for foods to keep on hand will ensure you have healthful options within reach.

Janice Baker, R.D.,CDE

Fill your fridge

Storing healthful go-to foods in your refrigerator can reduce the chances of giving in to less-nutritious choices. Low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains are convenient, nutritious, and fresh.

Apples, Pears, and Other In-Season Fruits

Apples, pears, and other in-season fruits are naturally sweet, easy to eat, and good sources of fiber and antioxidants. Choose whole fruits smaller than your closed fist or eat half of a large piece for a diabetes-friendly portion.

Fat-Free Greek Yogurt or Fat-Free Plain Yogurt

Fat-free Greek yogurt and fat-free plain yogurt are high in protein, rich-tasting, and creamy. Stir fresh or frozen fruit or a drizzle of honey into plain yogurt for a satisfying dessert.

Sugar-Free Fruit Spreads and Natural-Style Nut Butters

Sugar-free fruit spreads add flavor and color to breads, sandwiches, or even desserts as a topping for sugar-free pudding, angel food cake, or a small amount of ice cream.

Natural-style nut butters are good sources of protein and healthful fats. A thin spread of nut butter is all you need to make a quick and portable sandwich or a satisfying snack along with whole grain crackers or apple slices.

Whole Wheat Tortillas and Flatbreads

Whole wheat tortillas and flatbreads are versatile and healthful options for burritos, wraps, and thin-crust pizzas. Keep different flavors and sizes on hand for a variety of menu options and a creative way to add fiber.

High-Fiber Breads

High-fiber breads provide B vitamins, protein, and fiber. Look for brands with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Add some vegetables or fruit to a sandwich made with high-fiber bread for a perfect meal anytime. High-fiber breads last longer when stored in the refrigerator.


Eggs are a no-fail source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Make a 10-minute omelet from eggs or egg whites and sauteed vegetables. Hard-cooked eggs are great for a grab-and-go breakfast or lunch item.

Shredded Cheese and String Cheese

Shredded cheese and string cheese are tasty foods that can add dimension and flavor to meals, but use cheese sparingly. A "lava flow" of cheese on dishes or excessive snacking on cheese and crackers adds a lot of fat and sodium to the diet. Pick up preportioned, pregrated, good-quality cheeses to save time and calories.

Packaged Salad Mixes

Packaged salad mixes make it easy to include more greens in your diet. Add slivered almonds, grilled chicken strips, and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar to salad greens for a satisfying main dish with minimal cooking and cleanup. Try a variety of dark green lettuces and salad mixes so you don't get bored with your options.

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Milk (1% or Skim)

Low-fat or fat-free milk (1 percent or skim) is a top source of protein and calcium, and a vitamin D-rich addition to any meal or snack. You can substitute lactose-reduced milk or soymilk, but check labels for nutrition content.

Easy-to-Peel Citrus Fruits

Easy-to-peel citrus fruits help you get your daily dose of vitamin C along with fiber and other nutrients in a portable package. Toss tangerine, orange, or grapefruit sections into salads for added color and flavor.

Shredded Cabbage

Packaged shredded cabbage is inexpensive and packed with vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients. Use it to make salads and stir-fries, or stir some into soup to bump up portion size without adding many calories.