Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
Ok, here’s part 2 of how to enjoy a safe holiday meal. These 5 simple tips can make a world of difference in keeping you and your family healthy:
-After your meal, don’t leave any perishable foods out on the counter top or table for over 2 hours (preferably 1 hour). Bacteria grow rapidly between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) which means if you pick at left-out leftovers, you’ll get a mouthful of bacteria (that you can’t see, smell, or taste).
-When packing up leftovers, place them in shallow sealable containers or ziplock bags (rather than non-sealable aluminum foil or plastic wrap).
-Don’t pack your fridge too full – this can block air circulation and increase the temperature (remember, above 40 degrees F bacteria multiply like bunnies).
-Be sure the temperature of your refrigerator is 40 degrees F or below (check your refrigerator thermometer to be sure). Even at 45 degrees, bacteria grow, grow, grow (believe it or not, they still grow at less than 40 degrees, just not as quickly).
-If you plan on enjoying leftovers, be sure to reheat them to 165 degrees F to kill any bacteria. This is especially important for gravy and other risky foods like casseroles (be really careful if you’re in a high risk group such as a pregnant or nursing woman, or if you’re recovering from an illness or injury).
Ok, that does it. Have a safe and healthy holiday weekend – I’m off to enjoy some pumpkin pie!
photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute