10 Holiday Home Food Safety Tips

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Enjoying food with family and friends is one of the highlights of the holiday season and while everyone wants to join in to help, too many cooks in the kitchen can result in an increased risk of food poisoning.

One in 6 Americans is sickened by food poisoning each year, and while it may involve flu-like symptoms, foodborne illness can cause severe and even life-threatening illnesses. Easy-to-do, safe food handling practices protect everyone in the family from getting sick.

Here are some tips to avoid common kitchen blunders when preparing meals, buffets and even homemade food gifts this holiday season.

Share the Gift of Home Food Safety This Season

Follow these simple steps to properly handle food and reduce your risk of food poisoning:

  • Defrost carefully. Never allow foods to defrost at room temperature, on the counter or in warm water. Defrost food only in the refrigerator, in the microwave or in a cool water bath with water that is changed every 30 minutes. When defrosting food in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so juices won’t drip onto other foods. When defrosting food in the microwave, cook it immediately afterward.
  • Wash hands before, during and after food preparation. Proper hand-washing may eliminate a large percentage of food poisoning cases. Remember to wash hands when switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Wash hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean. Use hot, soapy water to wash countertops and surfaces, cutting boards, refrigerator door handles and utensils. After cleaning, keep it clean by avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Use two cutting boards. Dedicate one for raw meat, poultry and fish and the other for ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Make it easy to remember by using color-coded cutting boards, one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods.
  • Employ different utensils for different tasks. Use separate spoons and forks to taste, stir and serve food.
  • Resist temptation. When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs such as cookie dough or cake batter. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
  • Buy and use a food thermometer. It is the only reliable way to determine the doneness of your food and ensure that food is cooked to proper temperatures. (Do not rely on “clear juices” to tell that the turkey is done.)
  • Refrigerate food within two hours of serving. This helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. This is especially important when serving buffets. Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it’s set at below 40°F.

Are Your Guests at High Risk for Food Poisoning?

While you should always practice safe food handling, some guests might be particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, including older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems. This may mean taking special precautions and keeping certain high-risk foods off the menu.

Whether you’re bringing a holiday dish to the party or preparing the holiday feast yourself, it’s important to practice safe food handling and keep in mind the needs of those who may be vulnerable to food poisoning.

Take special care during the holidays to ensure that vulnerable guests avoid high-risk foods, such as raw or undercooked eggs, raw or unpasteurized dairy products, raw fish or shellfish, raw or rare meat or undercooked poultry.

Joy to the Leftovers

Holiday meals often bring leftovers. Perishable food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of serving or throw them out. In hot weather, when 90°F or above, toss within one hour of serving. Use an appliance thermometer to check that the refrigerator is cooling to 40°F or below and the freezer is 0°F or below.

Store leftovers in shallow containers (2 inches deep or less). Remove turkey from the bone and store it separately from the stuffing and gravy. Slice breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole. Use turkey within 3 to 4 days; stuffing and gravy within 1 to 2 days. Reheat leftovers to 165°F.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Source: Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD, Academy of Dietetics & Nutrition


Preparing food for the holidays is always stressful so if you’re looking for some extra help with you own personal meals then try Fresh ‘N Fit’s chef prepared menus.

Use promo code BLOG20, you’ll get $20 off your first order.

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Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine Nutrition Coaches: Healthy Eating Options For A Busy Schedule

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By: Julia Lott, MS, RD, LD, Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine

How do you choose healthy meals when you are out to lunch that won’t break the bank? One way to is to choose a restaurant that has lunch specials. Restaurants know that you are on your lunch break and you need something quickly, healthy and low cost. Also, choose half portions when going out to eat, to keep the calories under control. Lastly, always incorporate a vegetable in your lunch meal.

If going out to lunch is not an option for you, and you bring a lunch to work; is it better to do your own meal prep or someone to do it for you? Meal prepping is a great way to stay healthy and save money. Additionally, it gives you full control of accomplishing your nutrition goals. Planning your meals for the week is a vital part of meeting your health goals.

In order to meal prep, several hours are needed on a weekend day to pre-cook all ingredients, such as chicken, turkey, vegetables, brown rice, and pasta. A great way to store your meals for the week is in plastic compartment bento lunch trays. Then you are good to go, every morning you grab your meal for the day. Planning ahead helps you achieve a healthy balance on your menu choices. This saves you time, money, and stress.

However, the only drawback is that meal prep can be time consuming. Not everyone has that kind of time on the weekend. So instead of spending your precious time on the weekend planning and cooking, you only have to spend a short time online ordering your next week’s meals.

At Fresh n’ Fit Cuisine, we have over 300 healthy meals that are available as Individual Meal Plans, with the option to customize, or as Single Meals. Our meal plan menus include PaleoLow CarbVegetarianGluten Free and our traditional Healthy Mix. Our single meals include selections from those same menus as well as Keto and hCG options.


Use promo code HEALTHYOPTIONS10 at checkout for 10% off your first order.

4 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

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Americans gain about one to two pounds during the holidays. While this doesn’t sound so dramatic, research shows it adds up over the years. Luckily, there are ways to avoid holiday weight gain.

Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals

Saving your appetite for a big holiday party or feast? Don’t. Skipping meals during the day may result in overeating. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Include lots of fiber by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber-rich foods are high in volume and will satisfy hunger, but are lower in calories.

Tip #2: Eat Small Portions

Holiday meals tend to be large, buffet-style and include second and third helpings. While one might not eat an entire cake, a common mistake is eating large portions of foods that are perceived as healthy. It’s important to include nutrient-rich foods in your diet, but also remember that these foods have calories as well and should be eaten in moderation. Using this approach at the holiday dinner table will allow you to maintain a healthful eating plan — one that can also include dessert.

Tip #3: Pick a Strategy to Avoid Overeating — and Use It!

There are many strategies to help you avoid overeating. Using a smaller plate, for instance, allows you to put less food on your plate and encourages proper portion sizes. Also, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salad before going to the entrees and desserts. Eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall. Eat slowly and savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds wait 10 minutes to see if you really still are hungry.

Tip #4: Keep Moving

Finally, after dinner, get some physical activity. This is a great time to go for a walk and catch up with family members, or play catch or a game of basketball with the kids.

Source: Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics


Need some extra help with controlling your portion during the holidays? Try the clean, healthy meals found on all 7 of Fresh ‘N Fit’s chef prepared menus and when you use promo code BLOG10, you’ll get 10% off your first order.

Cooking With Kids During The Holidays

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With special treats and family gatherings, the perfect time to teach your child about cooking and nutrition is during the holidays! Kids not only will get to try the new foods they prepare, but they also will get a big boost to their confidence when they see family and friends enjoying their creations. Most importantly, cooking with your children will promote future health by teaching them about nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals.

Safety Precautions

To be safe, cover a few ground rules before getting started in the kitchen. Teach kids to wash their hands with warm, soapy water while singing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” to wash away germs.

Teaching Basics

To begin cooking, teach your child the basics, such as cracking an egg or gathering the ingredients for a favorite holiday recipe. Convey to your child the importance of measuring the correct amount of each ingredient and the different types of utensils you need to use.

Look Who’s Cooking!

To keep your children enthusiastic about cooking, assign tasks of a holiday recipe they are able to prepare based on their abilities. Here are some ideas depending on your child’s age and ability:

  • Three to five year olds: mix together simple ingredients, snap green beans, tear lettuce for a salad, press cookie cutters
  • Six to seven year olds: shuck corn, use a vegetable peeler, crack eggs, measure ingredients
  • Eight to nine year olds: use a can opener, juice citrus fruits, check the temperature of foods with a thermometer, pound chicken on a cutting board
  • Children age ten and older: slice or chop vegetables, boil potatoes, microwave foods, bake foods in the oven, simmer ingredients on the stove.

Remember to allow your child to gradually master cooking methods. Start with simple techniques such as rolling dough, using a cookie cutter or spreading frosting. Give your child time to work his or her way up to completing the entire cookie making process, from pouring liquids into batter to baking them in the oven. Explain different methods for cooking and their purpose, such as baking versus broiling and how you would cook different dishes.

Source: Sarah Kleim, RD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics


Spending quality time while making great memories with your children is not just important during the holidays but all year long. But if you do need a break from cooking, the Fresh ‘N Fit chefs are here to help.

End the year on a high note by enjoying the clean, healthy meals found on all 7 of our chef prepared menus and when you use promo code HEALTHYHOLIDAYS10, you’ll get 10% off your first order.

 

Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine’s Nutrition Coaches: Healthy Tips For Hosting A Holiday Party

 

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Hosting a holiday party is great way to get family and friends together. The star of the holiday party is of course the food!   When preparing meals for your party, it’s important to think about your guests’ preferences when it comes to food.  For most of your guests, if not all, eating healthy is on their mind.  However, the numerous holidays parties that they may attend (including yours) may throw them off their health game.  Entertain your guests with not only good company, but with healthy nutritious food.  Help your family and friends feel good about what they eat at your party.

Here are a few tips when planning your menu:

Choose Lean

When choosing meats to serve for the party, choose lean meats such as turkey and chicken versus steak or ham.   Sirloin steak per 4 ounce has 14 grams of fat.  Dark turkey has only 5 grams fat per 4 oz serving.  Sirloin is the leanest cut and it still has more than twice the fat as dark turkey.

Dips and Spreads

There are lots of hidden calories in dips and spreads.  A few healthy dip choices are hummus, tzatziki, and guacamole.  Hummus is high in protein and fiber, because it is made with chickpeas.  Tzatziki is traditionally made with Greek yogurt, so it is high in protein as well and low in fat.  Guacamole is also a great choice as a spread or a dip.  One serving of guacamole has 13 grams of total fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat and 8 grams of monounsaturated fat (GOOD FAT that may help to lower cholesterol levels).   Alternatively, one serving of cheese dip which has 18 grams of fat and 11 grams of saturated fat.

Sides

Great side items that are low calorie are salads, grains such as quinoa and farro, and vegetables dishes such as sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Make sure when preparing dishes to not dress or sauce the meal.  Allow your guests to determine how much sauce/dressing they want.  Also, be wary of casseroles.  They can be high in calories.  Cheese can easily add 75- 100 calories per serving.  One serving of squash casserole can have up to 275 calories and 18 grams of fat.

Alcohol

What’s a holiday party without a few cocktails?  Unfortunately, drinks can put you over the edge when it comes to calories.  Many drink choices can be very high in sugar and carbohydrates.   A cosmopolitan martini has 165 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 4 oz serving; a rum and coke has 180 calories and 13 grams of sugar; lastly, eggnog has 220 calories and 20 grams of sugar.  When stocking your bar, make sure to have plenty of club soda which has ZERO calories; it a great substitute for tonic water which has 80 calories per 8 oz serving.  Also, make sure to have diet sodas on hand for mixers.  Also, you could have on hand a few flavor infused liquors and spirits (there are options like lemon, peach, and jalapeno) to serve on the rocks or with a splash of cranberry juice.

Dessert

During the holidays, many of guests may want to treat themselves to a delicious dessert.  However, we don’t want to de-rail our healthy eating.  A great way to control calories is to have pre-portioned desserts served as petit fours (tiny cakes), mini cupcakes or mousse or crème brulee in shot glasses.  Also, having cookies or truffles can help people choose a small dessert.  Also, it’s a good idea to serve a variety of fruits.

By following these tips, you can prepare a healthful and nourishing menu for your guests.  Good luck with your party planning!


Let Fresh ‘N Fit’s chefs make eating healthy for the holidays simple. Give us a try today and use promo code NOVBLOG20 at checkout and take $20 off your first order.

Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine’s Featured Meals For The Week of November 19th

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Have you been craving some Thanksgiving dishes but can’t wait until next Thursday? Place your order before our 9am, Friday cutoff time and try our Oven Honey Roasted Turkey Breast + Cranberry Chutney + Pecan Cornbread Stuffing that’s part of our Healthy Mix menu.

If this is your first time trying Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, use promo code TURKEYNOW20 at checkout and take $20 off your order.


HEALTHY MIX

Breakfast
  • Breakfast Burrito Made with Egg Whites, Cheddar Cheese, Black Beans and Chicken Sausage. Served with Seasoned Red Potatoes and Pico de Gallo.
    kcal: 382 |  P: 23g  | C: 57g  | F: 5g

Lunch

Dinner
  • Oven Honey Roasted Turkey Breast Topped with Cranberry Chutney Over Pecan Cornbread Stuffing. Served with a Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Bake Topped with Crispy Onions.
    kcal: 412 |  P: 26g  | C: 36g  | F: 20g

VEGETARIAN
Breakfast

  • Pumpkin Cranberry and Walnut Muffin Served with Butter. Veggie Sausage Link and Low Fat Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt on the Side.
    kcal: 386|  P: 12g  | C: 46g  | F: 16g

Lunch

  • Roasted Vegetable Mac-n-Cheese with Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomatoes. Served with Balsamic Green Beans and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes.
    kcal: 417 |  P: 26g  | C: 49g  | F: 13g

Dinner

  • Cajun Corn & Black Bean Cake Made with Veggie Sausage Patties, Egg & Flour Served over Cheddar Cheese Grits and Topped with Country Creole Gravy Made with Cream and Garlic. Vegetable Medley on the Side.
    kcal: 423|  P: 27g  | C: 62g  | F: 8g

LOW CARB

Breakfast
  • Ratatouille Eggs Made with Tomatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Basil and Bell Peppers. Served with Pork Sausage and Fresh Fruit on the Side.
    kcal: 398 |  P: 37g  | C: 23g  | F: 20g
Lunch
  • Mediterranean Chicken Thighs Topped with a Cucumber, Olive and Garlic Relish. Served with Roasted Vegetables and a Creamy Herb Vinaigrette Made with Coconut Milk on the Side.
    kcal: 396 |  P: 31g  | C: 12g  | F: 22g
Dinner
  • Blackened Mahi Mahi Topped with a Creole Coconut Sauce Served with Mashed Carrots. Steamed Broccoli and Roasted Parsnips on the Side.
    kcal: 380 |  P: 44g  | C: 24g  | F: 11g

PALEO

Breakfast
  • Tuscan Kale, Mushroom, and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata Served with Niman Ranch Bacon and Fresh Fruit.
    kcal: 450 |  P: 29g  | C: 31g  | F: 25g
Lunch
  • Pecan Crusted Pork Medallion with Braised Kale and Diced Onions. Served with Butternut Squash Soup on the Side.
    kcal: 419 |  P: 41g  | C: 34g  | F: 16g
Dinner
  • Bison Meat Loaf Made with Peppers and Onions Served with a Sage Infused Butternut Squash Mash. Fresh Herbed Gravy with Roasted Tomato & Green Beans on the Side.
    kcal: 408 |  P: 37g  | C: 28g  | F: 18g

If this is your first time trying Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, use promo code TURKEYNOW20 at checkout and take $20 off your order.

Fresh ‘N Fit Nutrition Coaches: Staying Healthy For Thanksgiving

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Are you dreading the Thanksgiving Day spread? If you’re hosting a get-together, you want to make delicious dishes that your guests are going to love. However, many traditional Thanksgiving meals aren’t necessarily the healthiest and are loaded with fat, sodium and sugar. Here’s a few repeat Thanksgiving offenders that our Registered Dietitian, Ms. Julia Lott, has updated to offer a healthier version that everybody will enjoy.

Cranberry Sauce – Cranberry sauce can be very high in sugar. Many times recipes can call for a whole cup of sugar, which is a whopping 200 grams!

Original Recipe

  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • Cal: 95 kcal  | Sugar: 2
  • 11 servings per recipe

Healthy Makeover

  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Cal: 40 Kcal | Sugar: 8g
  • 11 servings per recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole – Traditional sweet potato casserole is high in fat and sugar. Take out the butter and marshmallows and will still taste amazing!

Original Casserole Recipe

  • 3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2½ cup mini marshmallows
  • Total Cal: 558 Kcal | Fat: 19g | Sugar 50g
  • 8 servings per recipe

Healthy Casserole Makeover

  • 3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 tbsp packed dark brown
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • Total Cal: 160 Kcal | Fat: 4g | 18g
  • 8 servings per recipe

Green Bean Casserole – A green bean casserole is typically high in sodium. Make the switch to reduced cream soup and home made crispy onion topping and the sodium is significantly lower.

Original Casserole Recipe

  • 1 can of condensed cream mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1 ½ cup of crispy fried onions
  • Cal: 161 Kcal | Sodium 456mg
  • 6 servings per recipe

Healthy Casserole Makeover

  • 1 can of condensed cream mushroom soup (Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1 medium onion cut into strips
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Cal: 97 Kcal | Sodium: 27 mg
  • 6 servings per recipe
A simple strategy for reducing the fat, sodium and sugar in your Thanksgiving meals is to use low sodium items, substitute or reduce butter and sugar, and to use non-calorie flavor enhancements such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. By making some minor changes to your menu items, you will feel good about what your eating and your guests will thank you for thinking about their health and happiness as well.

Need a little extra help for Thanksgiving, our line of Fresh Extras includes favorites like our Pumpkin Spice or Zucchini breakfast breads and other items that will save you time and are perfect to bring to your family gatherings.

Save 10% off your first order when you use promo code FRESHBLOG10 at checkout.

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