Top 10 Worst Foods in Your Fridge and Freezer

by in Food Safety, Healthy Tips, April 24, 2012
refrigerator
Is it time for a major fridge cleaning at your house?

Take a peek in your fridge or freezer. How many of these items do you have stocked?

Defining “Worst”
It’s no big shocker that large portions of ice cream, butter and mayonnaise aren’t super healthy, but they’re not off limits as far as we’re concerned. For this list we’re highlighting 10 foods that you’re better off avoiding all together.

1.    Expired Condiments
Condiments do 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. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that most folks consume a whopping 21.4 teaspoons of added sugar each 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 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
We recently posted about frozen french fries – the same goes for other frozen fried foods like chicken nuggets and mozzarella sticks. You’re better off taking the time to make homemade, baked versions of these favorite 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
Have you checked the fruit drawer lately? It’s easy to forget about fresh produce. 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 that will cause the other fresh produce in your fridge to rot faster.

7.    Frozen Entrees
Convenience should never trump health. You can do so much better than plastic trays of salty and fake-tasting food.

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 – many of these meats are also filled with fat. Choose low-sodium and nitrate-free varieties when available and pass on the higher fat options (like salami and bologna) all together.

10.    Artificially-Sweetened Yogurt
An alarmingly high number of low-calorie yogurts use a combination of sugar and artificial sweeteners (that’s how they get the calories so low). Check ingredient lists and chose brands that don’t use them.

Tell Us: What foods should you toss out of your fridge?

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Comments (2,507)

  1. [...] Top 10 Worst Foods in Your Fridge and Freezer [...]

  2. [...] I would like to share an article from Food Network’s Healthy Eats Blog about the Top 10 Worst Foods in Your Fridge and Freezer. [...]

  3. Lamonte says:

    HMMMM…

  4. Neal319 says:

    You give no reason as to why you feel that artificial sweeteners such as those found in low fat yogurt should be removed from my refrigerator and diet. Most brands have some type of sweetener or natural sugar in them besides. All things in moderation is my motto. I'm taking in fewer calories and cultivating my stomach bacteria at the same time. Just my opinion.

    • Mary Fitzpatrick says:

      Artificial sweetners cause bloating, accounting for up to 15 additional lbs of body weight. AS make you retain water in feet, ankles, hands, and belly. AS interfere with the firing of synapes in the brain. AS can give you gastrointestinal distress, and often a common cause of diarehha. And speaking of lowfat, what do you suppose manufacturers add to their products to retain texture, consistency, and flavor?
      Read the ingredients compared to the same mfg item that is full fat and you should be shocked at the additives that you probably can't even pronounce in the lowfat choice. Eat full fat and cane, coconut or molasses sugar (or local honey); just eat less of it.

  5. Katie says:

    Coffee creamer used to be my weak point in the fridge. About 3 weeks ago I started really thinking about it, and went back to half-and-half in my coffee. I still craved the flavored sweetness, so I've taken to making a simple syrup that is flavored with vanilla extract, and using that to sweeten my coffee. Tastes just like the flavored coffee creamers, but is simply sugar, water and extract. I bought a $3 bottle to store it in, and add a teaspoon to each cup. Voila!

  6. Kelly says:

    Excellent list. I know what you are saying about artificial sweeteners. Although there is no conclusive proof that they are toxic to the body, my intuition tells me that anything made in a laboratory is not something I want in my body.

    There have been interesting studies which suggest that although artificial sweeteners contain no sugar, their extreme sweetness triggers sugar cravings in our body which artificially boosts our appetites. I have experienced this myself and I avoid artificial sweeteners completely these days.

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  9. [...] Dana Angelo White from the Food Network, has written an article regarding the worst foods to have in your fridge or freezer.  Take a look at the list to see how many you may be guilty of having and learn more on why by following here. [...]

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