Prepping your proportions, brown bagging it for lunch and cooking at home more often to infuse your diet with unquestionably fresh foods can go a long way to helping you ride the wellness train. However, a single bout of food borne illness by way of bacteria or harmful chemicals can stymie your efforts to be fit and fine.
Reap the Most Out of Your Healthy Home-Based Meals with 5 Simple Tips:
1) A Dicey Situation
If you chop meat on a cutting board and then immediately prep vegetables on the same surface, cut it out! Instead, thoroughly wash the board after cutting meat or use different boards to avoid contamination. Wood boards work great. If you use a plastic board, be warned. Knife marks can render flakes of plastic that can get in your food. Bamboo boards are often glued together. If that’s your choice, make sure the glue used is formaldehyde-free.
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2) Wipe Out!
Kitchen sponges are great for kitchen cleaning-up. People love them! But, so do bacteria. To make sure you’re cleaning with a sponge and not spreading bacteria around, take a few precautions. If a sponge smells rank, toss it! Replace sponges frequently, wring them well after use and allow them to dry between uses to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
3) Focus on the Fridge
Take time weekly to look through your refrigerator with fresh eyes to identify items that have passed their prime. Dispose of expired items. Remove crumbs and wipe down the shelves. If you find you can’t use fresh veggies quickly enough, consider buying frozen. They are full of nutrients and keep a long time.
4) Hot Enough for Ya?
When it comes to meat (and fish), it pays off to invest in a decent thermometer to ensure you’re cooking meats to a safe temperature. Bacteria that can make you sick grow differently in various types of meat. Check out the temperature guidelines.
5) Materials Matter
Do your research when it comes to the best type of pots and pans for you. The jury is still out about whether or not pans coated in non-stick materials pose dangers when they flake-off into food or are heated to high temperatures. If you don’t want to take the risk, check out other less controversial options like cast iron, stainless steel, and enamel.
Another common material some see as a danger are plastic items and plastic linings in food cans that can contain Bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA can leach into foods. Research is currently being done to see to what extent BPA might disrupt hormone levels in humans and whether or not it can cause serious disease. You can decrease BPA’s in your kitchen by seeking plastic products and canned goods that are specified as BPA free. Another easy way to get around the potential risk is to use glass containers for food storage and microwaving.