Do You Love Your Fridge?
Are you passionate about fresh food, but not so excited by fridge organization?
Are your fridge storage habits setting you up for healthy eating? Although Canadians are passionate about fresh food, making investments in time, effort and money to source it, poor fridge organization habits may be leading us to make less healthy choices. We tend to eat what we see first when we open the fridge, so a fridge that isn’t organized for healthy eating can lead to poor decisions for the entire family. In a recent survey conducted by Samsung Canada, 43% say they are more likely to eat what they see first in the fridge, but the majority of respondents (61%) admit they forget about produce tucked away into fridge crisper drawers because they can’t see it.
“Subconsciously, we’re all following the ‘See Food’ diet – if we see it, we eat it,” said Kelly Anne Erdman, the Performance Dietitian for Team Canada at the 2012 London Olympic Games. “Whether advising high performance athletes or busy stay-at-home households, my advice is the same – the physiological effect that our vision has on our eating habits is huge – you are what you eat. Taking a few moments to properly organize your fridge with accessible, nutritious food options can make a difference to have a healthier lifestyle.”
Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated, and Canadians are making the right choices for fresh food when shopping. But when it comes to fridge organization, keeping fresh produce front and centre visually takes a back seat. Those survey respondents responsible for household grocery shopping admitted:
- To avoid having produce spoil in their fridge, the majority of respondents (67%) buy smaller quantities – missing an opportunity to eat better at home.
- Although new fridge innovations help to keep humidity levels at optimal levels – so you can store produce anywhere in the fresh food section – more than half (55%) still limit the amount of fresh produce they buy based solely on what will fit in their crispers.
- At 59% – more than any other province – Quebec respondents said they would limit their fresh produce purchases to what fits in their crisper.
- Despite these storage habits, Canadians show a true passion for fresh food, often making significant investments in time, effort and money to source it:
- Almost half of respondents (44%) shop at specialty stores at least once a week for produce.
- Almost three out of ten (28%) tend to choose organically grown produce; respondents from BC (41%) and Quebec (33%) were most likely to choose organically grown produce (vs. national average).
- Almost a third (29%) say they grow their own produce at home, and those with children were more likely to do so at 34% than those without.
Tips for Fresh Fridge Storage
A few simple tricks and tips can make all the difference when it comes to protecting an investment in fresh food through fridge storage and helping to make healthier eating choices at home:
- Free fresh produce from the crisper: Fresh produce can be stored anywhere in the fridge, not just stuffed in the crisper where it’s likely you won’t see it and won’t eat it. Keep fresh produce clearly positioned on shelving at eye level in the fresh food section of your refrigerator.
- Keep it simple for kids to make a healthy snack choice: With school out and kids spending more time at home this summer, they’ll be into the fridge more often. All Canadian parents surveyed said it was important that they pass on healthy eating habits to their kids, but only 59% make an effort to put fresh produce in their children’s line of sight in the fridge. Counter-height fridge drawers offer a great place to keep healthy snacks in an easy-to-see and access area for kids.
- Inspire recipes with natural groupings in the fridge: The majority of respondents (72%) do not tend to group food items together in the fridge to remind them of recipe ideas, but pairing fresh produce and herbs with meal mains like chicken or fish to inspire healthy recipe ideas like stir-frys – a quick, easy and balanced meal for busy families on the go.
- Use clear storage containers when storing food in the fridge: If you can see it clearly, you’re more likely to eat it.
- Go for bright colours when choosing produce: Canada’s Food Guide 2012 recommends eating at least one dark green and one orange vegetable every day; the brighter the food, the more nutrient dense it likely is. The more attractive visually it is to us, the more likely we’ll eat it. Think: broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, spinach and carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, peppers and squash.