Refresh Your Refrigerator

Refresh your Refrigerator: Clean Out Tips for a Healthy Start to Spring

By Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

Spring is in the air and it’s the perfect time for a refrigerator clean out! When we think of spring-cleaning we usually think of closets and turning over our winter wardrobe to our more desirable warm weather clothing. However, spring-cleaning your diet should be part of your plan and here are 7 steps to get you started!

  1. Dump the old stuff: Yup, you know that moldy cheese, shriveled up lemon, decomposed – what is that anyway? Out with the old and in with the new!
  2. “FIFO”: A simple and effective system is “FIFO”, First In, First Out. When you arrive home from the grocery store, bring older items that need to be used first towards you and the newer items in the back of the fridge.
  3. Stock your fruit & veggie drawer: Finally, spring has sprung and there is an abundance of fresh produce to prove it! What’s in season? Check out Broccoli, Apricots, Collard Greens, Mango, Snow peas and white asparagus just to name a few. Try to purchase just enough for the week and restock on a weekly basis to maintain freshness.
  4. Stay hydrated: Stay hydrated with plenty of water each day. If you prefer a flavorful alternative, think spa water – toss a few sliced cucumber and lemons into a large pitcher and enjoy!
  5. Keep leftovers safe: Remember that cooked foods will remain safe to eat for a about 3 days. At day 3, either consume or freeze for another day.
  6. Frozen Foods: Not sure how long that frozen pork chop has been in there? Blame poor labeling and lack of planning. Always label your frozen foods with item name and date. Try to keep frozen foods like chicken and fish in a separate area; it will be easier to identify foods you can defrost for dinner. Keep these items for about 2 to 3 months.
  7. Pre-prep in the fridge: Use the refrigerator to your advantage; get in the habit of prewashing lettuce and fresh herbs like parsley when you arrive home from the grocery store. Store in a plastic baggie with a paper towel to absorb moisture – you’ll be more likely to eat these foods if they are pre-washed. Pre-prepping breakfast the night before is a great way to save time in the morning.

Orange Chicken over Jasmine Rice

Orange Chicken over Jasmine Rice

Prep: 15 to 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes


Chicken marinade

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, sliced into thin cutlets
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 Navel orange, juiced (NOTE: Zest orange before juicing)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger

Orange sauce

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp orange zest from Navel orange
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp canola oil

Serving Suggestion:

  • Cooked Carolina Jasmine Rice for serving
  • Sesame seeds & sliced scallions


  1. Marinate chicken: combine all ingredients under “chicken marinade”. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine all ingredients under “orange sauce” except oil.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Remove chicken from marinade and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Push chicken to one side. Add orange sauce stir well and cook until thickened.
  4. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken and serve with cooked jasmine rice.

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN