Q: My refrigerator and freezer are stuffed with food. In cleaning them out, what should I get rid of first?
A: We are highlighting 10 foods that you're better off avoiding altogether.
1. Expired Condiments
Condiments last a while, but certainly not forever. Mold, yeast and other types of creepy-crawly bacteria can grow even in the chilly refrigerator, especially when stored in the warmest part of the fridge -- the door. Check dates on all condiments and toss anything you aren't sure about.
2. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sodas, juice drinks and teas can dump hundreds of sugary calories into your day. You'll find anywhere from 12 to 22 teaspoons in just one bottle of sweetened (16 to 20 fluid ounces) of tea or soda.
3. Coffee Creamer
They're sweet, creamy and totally addictive. But your coffee is really getting a mix of palm oil, hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, thickeners and preservatives if you're using these creamers. Stick to good old cream and sugar if you like your coffee light and sweet.
4. Frozen Fried Foods
You're better off taking the time to make homemade baked versions of your favorite fried foods and stocking your freezer with those, instead.
5. Bottled Salad Dressing
Why ruin a perfectly good salad with gobs of sugar and preservatives? Making your own dressing couldn't be easier.
6. Rotten Fruit
Leave it in there for a week or two and you'll end up with a mushy, sticky, moldy and bacteria-filled mess. Overripe fruit also emits ethylene gas, which will cause the other fresh produce in your fridge to rot faster.
7. Frozen Entrees
Convenience should never trump health.
8. Ready-to-Bake Dough
Whether it's cookies, croissants or biscuits, these products are tubes of highly processed ingredients and unhealthy fats. Take the time to make your own dough; you can store it in the freezer so it's always ready to go.
9. Highly Processed Meats
You'll find lots of sodium and preservatives like nitrates in hot dogs, sausages and deli meats. Choose low-sodium and nitrate-free varieties when available and pass on the higher-fat options (like salami and bologna) altogether.
10. Artificially Sweetened Yogurt
An alarmingly high number of low-calorie yogurts use a combination of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Check ingredient lists and chose brands that don't use them.
Courtesy Dana Angelo White on foodnetwork.com
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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