Worst Foods in Your Fridge
10 unhealthy foods that are probably lurking in your refrigerator or freezer right now.
4. Processed Lunch Meat
Lunch meats, including deli cold cuts, bologna, and ham, make the unhealthy list because they contain lots of sodium and sometimes fat as well as some preservatives like nitrites.
Processed meat -- defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding chemical preservatives -- is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. Some experts suspect that certain substances used as preservatives in meats may change into cancer-causing compounds in the body.
The sodium in one small serving of lunch meat (one slice of bologna or five slices of salami) ranges from 310 to 480 milligrams. A diet high in sodium is thought to increase the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
What should you eat instead? You eliminate the sodium and preservatives and get straight to the protein, vitamins, and minerals when you use freshly roasted and sliced turkey, chicken, or roast beef in your sandwiches. Roast your own, or look for deli brands low in nitrates and sodium.
5. Hot Dogs and Sausage
Also part of the processed meat category, hot dogs and sausage are a staple in many refrigerators. People turn to them for a quick dinner entree or, in the case of sausage, as a featured food at breakfast or brunch.
Hot dogs and sausage tend to contain lots of sodium (520-680 milligrams per 2-ounce serving) and fat (up to 23 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fat per serving).
It's a good idea to substitute leaner and lower-sodium meats -- such as roasted skinless poultry, pork tenderloin, and roast beef -- and fish and seafood for hot dogs and sausage in meals and recipes. Even grilled veggies such as portabella mushrooms, eggplant, or roasted red pepper are good alternatives.
But if it's got to be a hot dog or sausage, consider the lower-fat and nitrate-free options available in most supermarkets, such as "light" franks, turkey kielbasa, or soy-based sausage substitutes. They may not be much lower in sodium, but the amounts of total and saturated fat are often cut in half.
6. Whole-Milk Products
Dairy products contain protein, calcium, B-12, and riboflavin. But whole-milk products also have an overabundance of fat and cholesterol. If you drink 16 ounces of whole milk a day, for example, it adds up to 1,904 calories, 105 grams of total fat, 59.5 grams of saturated fat, and 315 milligrams of cholesterol in a week's time.
The good news is that lower-fat options are available for most dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cream cheese.
7. Gourmet Ice Cream
In many an American freezer, you'll find a pint of gourmet ice cream or a box of decadent ice cream bars.