It took just 15 minutes to reset a bad eating habit.

By By Nina Bahadur
August 09, 2017
before and after

When I started working from home as a freelance writer earlier this year, I immediately fell in love with having a flexible schedule. Feeling like an 11 am Zumba class? No problem. A friend wants to get a leisurely weekday lunch? Sure! As long as I was meeting my deadlines, anything was possible. And wearing workout leggings all the time instead of office-appropriate business casual is my lazy-girl dream come true.

While making my own schedule turned out to be great for my mental wellbeing, my eating habits didn't react as positively. In fact, they went haywire when I didn't have my 9-5 routine to follow. Instead of walking into the office and kicking off my day with tea and a yogurt, I found myself forgetting about breakfast until at least noon. I used to take proper breaks to heat up my packed lunch or walk to a nearby cafe for a soup or salad, but working from home, I'd grab whatever was nearby at 3 pm and scarf it down. And dinner became an afterthought instead of the home-cooked meal I planned during my subway ride home. I realized after a few weeks that my new eating habits weren't sustainable if I wanted to maintain any semblance of a healthy diet-I needed to change the way I was looking at cooking and eating on my new schedule but wasn't exactly sure how.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed one day, I came across the #fridgegoals hashtag and fell down a deep rabbit hole. I happily ogled other people's perfectly stacked containers of chopped fruit and veggies, "buffet-style" meal prep operations, and shelves of kombucha. (P.S. Do you have these 10 healthy foods always stocked in your fridge?)

The situation in my own fridge was...less than optimal. Most of the visible shelf space was occupied by condiments and Diet Cokes, meaning all the good stuff was crammed into the vegetable drawer where it's easy to forget about. It was also a reflection of how I was grocery shopping-the way I did when I worked in an office, planning for lunches and dinners but skimping on healthy snacks. (Psst: Here's what Khloe Kardashian always keeps in her fridge.) So, inspired by the meticulously arranged fridges of Instagram, I spent a few minutes reorganizing my own fridge so that healthy snacks and meal prep options were the first things I'd see when I opened it-and this tiny change made a huge difference.

I now use the vegetable drawer to store condiments, meaning there's no way I can forget about a bag of apples squished in the back. My fridge's bottom shelf is dedicated to my meal prep items, usually a few glass containers of chicken, rice, and veggies, along with salad greens for easy bowls and wraps. I keep the top two shelves at my eye level stocked with my favorite healthy snacks: grapes, blueberries, baby carrots, hummus, string cheese, apples, and yogurt. (These easy, healthy, and homemade trail mix recipes are a great balanced snack to have on hand, too.)

Admittedly, I still eat my meals at unconventional times, but the way I've organized my fridge means it's never difficult to assemble a tasty and nutritious lunch, snack, or easy dinner when I'm on a deadline. Now that my kitchen is set up for success, I hardly ever stress about what my next meal will be or whether I have time to cook. And while my refrigerator design may not be quite Instagram-material, it works for me just fine.