12 Foods to Remove from the Fridge Forever
Growing up, your fridge was probably always stocked with staples like milk, cheese, yogurt, pickles, and on and on. Problem is, if you haven’t smartened up about the contents of your kitchen, these everyday eats could explain why you can’t seem to drop those last five pounds, or why your doc has suddenly taken an interest in your blood pressure.If you’ve been living on the following foods, it’s time for a kitchen overhaul. Throw out the junk and replace it with healthier alternatives. By making these switches, you’ll be on your way to packing on more muscle, cleaning out your arteries, and getting the abs you train for in the gym every day.
1. lunch Meat
Deli slices may seem healthy enough, but they’re usually packed with added salt and nitrates, which have been associated with a higher incidence of cancer, says Kate Geagan, R.D.N.
Stock this instead: Fresh chicken breasts and turkey meat
Not only is fresh poultry lower in calories, salt, and saturated fat than lunch meat, it’s also less expensive: “Buy an all-natural rotisserie chicken, or chicken breasts, and roast or poach them all at once, then keep them on hand for the week,” Geagan suggests. You’ll get leaner, and going natural will help you reach long-term health goals, too. Your cardiovascular system will stay resilient (read: less prone to heart disease), and by avoiding nitrates, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer.
2. Whole Milk
As satisfying as it is, calorie-wise, whole milk has way more than the rest of the cartons in the dairy aisle, and the extra fat that it packs will raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol levels, clogging your arteries in the long run.
Stock this instead: Almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk
Plant-based dairy alternatives are the way to go, especially if skim milk tastes too watery to you. If you’ve been doing protein shakes lately, coconut milk is an especially good choice to mix in. “Coconut milk provides a texture most similar to whole milk, but with heart-healthy fat, and can be used in coffee, cereal, and smoothies,” says New York Rangers nutritionist Cynthia Sass, R.D.
Stock this instead: Sauerkraut
“Naturally fermented sauerkraut is great on a sandwich or on the side,” notes Geagan. “Plus, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, so you get all the health benefits of the brassica family, like cancer-fighting antioxidants and probiotics. It’s great for supporting a healthy immune system, as 70% of your immune system is in your gut.”
4. Tonic Water:
Mixing up homemade G-and-T’s will save you money on drinks at the bar. But pouring tonic over your alcohol isn’t doing your body any favors. “It’s generally sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, the same sweetener as soda, and contains more than five teaspoons’ worth of sugar per cup,” says Sass.
Stock this instead: Seltzer
If you want bubbles with your booze, do all-natural club soda or seltzer, which has zero calories. If plain soda water is too boring, look for one that’s infused with flavors like lime or mandarin orange.
Tossing a cheap box of bright-yellow margarine into your grocery basket is budget-friendly, but it’s only going to screw with your body later. “It’s loaded with partially or fully hydrogenated fats, which up “bad” LDL cholesterol, and therefore raise heart disease risk as well as inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and disease,” Sass says.
Stock this instead: Coconut oil
A little bit of coconut oil can go a long way, whether you’re cooking with it or adding it to whole-grain toast. “It’s a heart-healthy fat that has been shown to improve cholesterol profiles, reduce inflammation, and rev metabolism,” Sass says.
6. Apple or Cranberry Juice:
Not all fruit juice is bad for you. Drinks with added sugar are the ones you should stay away from—and if the label says “juice drink,” definitely set it back on the shelf. Apple and cranberry juices are two examples of drinks that are heavy on sweetener and light on nutrition, even though they sound healthy.
Stock this instead: 100% grape or cherry juice
The right juice can help you recover after a hard workout and keep your blood flowing properly. “Concord grape juice has lots of research behind it showing that the purple pigment helps promote cardiovascular health, similar to a glass of wine,” Geagan says. “So unlike something like an apple juice, which doesn’t really provide any unique benefits, concord grape juice has real benefits for your cardiovascular system and is packed with antioxidants.” Tart cherry juice is another decent pick. “The red color comes from the anthocyanins, which have been shown to help improve recovery time after a workout by reducing pain and inflammation.” Just watch your portions. To avoid taking in too many calories, limit yourself to no more than one cup daily.
Because it has fewer processed ingredients, real butter is better for you than margarine, but the truth is that eating too much saturated fat can contribute to weight gain—period, says Elisa Zied, R.D., author of Younger Next Week. Eating a little butter on occasion is fine, she says, but “because you get saturated fat from full-fat dairy products, meats, and baked foods, it’s wise to minimize it as an add-on or as something you cook with at home.” Easy solution: Don’t keep it in the house.
Stock this instead: Avocados or guacamole
Avocados are creamy, so you get that butter-like texture, but they have heart-healthy fats and nutrients. Spread it on whole-grain toast or crackers if you need a quick snack. If you’re short on time, look for tubs of ready-made guac in the produce aisle.
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