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10 things to ban from your refrigerator

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**    Puffed Doughnuts Doughnut Holes are seen this Sunday Nov. 16 2008 photo.

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** Puffed Doughnuts and Doughnut Holes are seen in this Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008 photo. These treats are quite easy to make thanks to using frozen puff pastry dough. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

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Updated: July 14, 2012 6:05AM

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

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 (16- to 20-ounce) bottle of sweetened 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.comScripps Howard

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