Refrigerator Quiz

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Here’s a quiz to help you determine what to upgrade.

1. Your fridge is …

a. Clean and organized – with baking soda to prevent odors. (+3)
b. Stocked, but it hasn’t been cleaned since we moved in five years ago. (0)
c. Not filthy, but not exactly clean. (-1)
d. A mess and completely disorganized. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Would you shop in a dirty, poorly laid out grocery store? Keep your fridge clean and organized into sections, just like a supermarket.

2. Your milk and dairy products are …

a. Whatever is on sale. (-1)
b. Chocolate milk, cheese, cream cheese and cream. (-3)
c. Skim or fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt with no added sugar and low-fat half-and-half, containers of egg whites. (+4)
d. 2 percent milk, provolone cheese and yogurt (with added sugar). (-1)

Diet Detective Tip: Dairy is an important source of calcium, but it can be high in calories. Make sure to stick to low- or no-fat versions.

3. How many desserts do you have in your freezer now?

a. The Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs never run out. (-2)
b. A frozen apple pie and a chocolate cake, plus loads of ice cream, a few ice cubes, one frozen Snickers bar. (-4)
c. Frozen fruit bars, frozen grapes, fat-free frozen yogurt. (+2)
d. No desserts. (+1)

Diet Detective Tip: Freeze fruits such as bananas and grapes, or make a smoothie with nothing but fresh fruit and a bit of no-sugar-added apple juice and freeze with popsicle sticks in an ice tray. You should have something healthy and sweet on hand to satisfy those cravings.

4. Where are the water bottles in relation to the juices or sodas?

a. There is no soda or juice; just bottled water and a water-filtering pitcher right in front, then unsweetened iced green tea and skim milk. (+3)
b. Who needs water? We drink cola. (-3)
c. Mostly diet drinks – soda, iced tea, low-cal juice. (0)

Diet Detective Tip: Soda and juice are high in calories; try to keep water or unsweetened iced tea in the front – so you grab that first. Better yet, toss the cola.

5. Your peanut butter has …

a. No added sugar or any other additional ingredients. (+3)
b. Added sugar, fat and salt. (-3)
c. Added sugar, but it’s fat free. (-1)

Diet Detective Tip: Check the ingredients in all of your foods. Make sure there’s no added sugar and that you can pronounce everything that’s in what you eat.

6. When you get to your fridge you …

a. Find yourself standing in front of the open door picking at leftovers. (-3)
b. Know exactly what you want and don’t linger. (+3)
c. Stare at the fridge and grab the first thing you see. (-1)
d. Find that it’s empty. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Always know what you’re going to eat before you get there.

7. Which best describes the condiments in your fridge?

a. Mustard, salsa, relish, ketchup, low-cal salad-dressing spritzers (e.g., Wish-Bone Spritzers). (+3)
b. Ranch or blue cheese dressing, jelly, tartar sauce. (-3)
c. Butter, margarine, mayonnaise. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: You would be shocked at how many calories condiments can add. Use mustard, salsa, spices and other low-cal condiments to add flavor.

8. Your fruits and vegetables are …

a. Right where I can see them – front and center. (+4)
b. In the fruit and vegetable drawer, but they’re always fresh. (+2)
c. In the drawer – but I always forget about them. (0)
d. Completely absent. The fruit and vegetable drawer has a few batteries and a bottle of Champagne from two years ago. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: Fruits and veggies should be front and center and at eye level so you see them. Keep all the high-cal foods in the fruit and veggie drawer or in the back.

9. If you had to make a meal from your fridge, you have …

a. Chicken or tuna salad, bacon (but no lettuce or tomatoes), salami or bologna. (-2)
b. Lean roast beef, all-beef hot dogs. (+1)
c. Chicken breast, sliced turkey, leftover grilled salmon and turkey meatballs. (+3)
d. Leftover Chinese takeout. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: Use lean protein and have a few meals prepared in advance.

10. In the freezer I have …

a. Frozen pizza, steak and a few Hungry-Man meals. Also juice concentrate, hot dogs and mac and cheese. (-3)
b. Chicken breast and other lean protein (turkey, fish, low-calorie frozen dinners — Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, Seeds of Change, Kashi, Amy’s, etc.), sorbet, frozen vegetables (e.g., Steamfresh), containers with healthy homemade meals prepared in batches. (+4)
c. Ice, just ice. (0)
d. 2-year-old frozen veggies, orange and grape juice concentrate and a few containers of ice cream. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Batch-cooked foods and low-calorie frozen dinners can be great alternatives to fast .

11. On the front of your fridge are …

a. Inspirational healthy eating messages and a shopping list. (+4)
b. Photos of family and friends. (+2)
c. Unhealthy recipes and photos of cakes, muffins and other things I want to bake. (-1)

Diet Detective Tip: Research shows that inspirational messages help to keep you on track. Creating a shopping list helps to keep you from being tempted when you do go shopping.

12. When you open your fridge you see …

a. Leftover food stored in foil that’s been reused several times and isn’t airtight. (-1)
b. Lots of plastic or glass containers, but I can’t tell what’s inside. (0)
c. See-through containers filled with healthy foods. (+3)

Diet Detective Tip: Knowing what you have in your fridge is half the battle. Always store foods in clear, airtight containers.

A score of:

· 35 or more: Ph.D. in Nutrition
· 24 to 34: Nutrition Expert
· 18 to 23: Arm Chair Nutritionist
· 11 to 17: Simple changes would help
· 0 to 10: Fridge makeover needed
· 1 to -14: Need a game plan
· -15 to -28: Complete overhaul required
· -29 or lower: Seek assistance from a professional

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