8 Groceries (for $5 or Less!) This Nutritionist Always Has in Her Fridge

published Aug 26, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whether you’re enjoying the last weeks of summer vacation or are well into back-to-school season, chances are you have refrigerator regulars on hand all year round. I know I do. While a lot of people — present company included — rely on their freezers to save money and eat well, I employ that same stock-up strategy to my fridge. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to have six bottles of kefir in my fridge at any given time, especially when I see they’re on sale. But the kefir isn’t alone. Here are the other things — fresh produce, fermented foods, and more dairy (and non-dairy) — that you’ll always find in my fridge.

Credit: Heather McClees

1.  Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, $2.99 for 64 ounces

I’ve been using Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk for nearly 15 years. I’ve tried other brands over the years and I prefer Silk’s creamy flavor in my smoothies. It also has no added sugar and is completely dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free. And last I checked, it was $3 less at the store than my preferred brand of organic dairy milk.

Credit: Heather McClees

2. Chobani Black Cold Brew Unsweetened Coffee, $4.50 for 32 ounces

I first bought this on a whim while it was on sale (and when it was 95 degrees out), and since then it’s become a staple in my fridge. It’s bold, ultra-smooth, and not-at-all bitter. I keep at least four bottles on hand — you know, just in case — and mix it with a splash of a no-sugar-added protein shake to start my day.

Credit: Heather McClees

3. Lifeway Plain Kefir Cultured Lowfat Milk, $3.30 for 32 ounces

I’ve been interested in gut health for more 15 years now due to my personal health journey, so I’m always sharing the benefits of gut-friendly foods with others. If you’re not familiar with kefir, it’s a cultured milk made with 12 different probiotic strains (more than yogurt). Like the cold brew, you won’t find my fridge without a bottle of this creamy, smooth milk with no added sugar. (Often you’ll find at least six.) I use it in smoothies, overnight oats, or a warm bowl of oatmeal, but will also drizzle some over frozen strawberries as an afternoon or late-night snack.

Credit: Heather McClees

4. Chobani Zero Sugar Yogurts, $1.29 for 5.3 ounces

Chobani’s new zero sugar yogurts have 11 grams of protein, 22% of the daily value protein for adults, and six different strains of probiotics. They’re also lactose-free and sweetened with natural, non-GMO sugar alternatives, including allulose, stevia, and monk fruit — the top three I recommend. My favorite flavors are the Milk and Cookies, Vanilla, and Mixed Berry. I eat these daily with a small cup of fruit for lunch. They also make a great treat. Stick them in the freezer for an hour or two and they’ll have the texture of soft-serve frozen yogurt.

Credit: Heather McClees

5. Good & Gather Organic Spring Mix, $1.99 for 5-ounce containers

This box of greens, along with a clamshell of baby spinach, are my go-tos for a variety of meals. I use them to make salads, of course, but I also add them into egg, tuna, and other fish dishes, or stir them into soups, stews, and whole-grain rice or pasta. I keep one of each in my fridge and will even buy extra containers to stick straight in my freezer to use in my smoothies.

Credit: Heather McClees

6. Good & Gather Baby-Cut Carrots, $1.59 for 16 ounces

I could buy whole carrots and cut down on my cost per serving, but the convenience factor makes these prepped veggies more than worth the price. It’s just so easy for me to grab these babies and eat them as a straight-from-the-bag snack or add them to lunches.

Credit: Heather McClees

7. Grillo’s Pickles Pickle Spears, $4.79 for 32 ounces

I have a special place in my heart for dill pickles because I basically grew up on them. (My mom ate them by the jar while she was pregnant with me, so maybe that’s why!) After spotting this brand on shelves a few years ago, it’s become one of my top picks. They’re fresh (so fresh they’re sold in the refrigerator case), super crunchy, and have a short, simple ingredient list. I can find them at my local Costco in bulk, but if you’re not a member or just want a smaller size, you can find them in the refrigerator section of grocery store for less than $5.

Credit: Heather McClees

8. GT’s GingerAde Synergy Raw Kombucha, $3.49 for 16 ounces

I have tried a lot of kombuchas over the last decade and GT’s has been my go-to kombucha for years now. This gut-friendly fermented beverage (yes, I’m all about good gut health) can sometimes be really high in added sugar, so I always look at the ingredient list. This one has no cane sugar or added sugar, which I appreciate. The GingerAde flavor reminds me of ginger ale, my favorite soda growing up. It’s zingy, tangy, slightly tart and sweet, and so soothing to the stomach.

What one item do you always have stocked in your fridge? Tell us about it in the comments below.