Three Simple Tips for Summer Food Safety

These three simple tips for summer food safety apply all year round! However they are especially important to keep in mind during the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish.

Use a Thermometer: A thermometer is the number one way to ensure that foods are cooked to the correct temperature to destroy germs that can cause food poisoning. The color of a food, like the inside of a hamburger, is not a reliable way to check that it has been cooked to the proper temperature.

  • Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
    • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
    • Ground meats: 160 °F
    • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F

Keep ‘em Separated: …raw foods and cooked foods, that is! To prevent cross-contamination keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your refrigerator.  It is a best practice to keep raw foods on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices do not drip on any ready-to-eat food or produce. Never reuse items that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry for cooked food.  Always use clean plates and utensils when serving foods once they’re cooked.

Avoid the Danger Zone: Most bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. This temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone.” If left in the Danger Zone bacteria in food can reach dangerous levels. That is why it is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never let perishable foods sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.

More information and resources about summer food safety can be found at foodsafety.gov.

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Enter the Contest!

Healthy Choice

Eating healthy during the summer isn’t always easy – the days are long and families are on the go. Planning a healthy meal can take time away from all the fun. So, let’s make it easier! Do you have a favorite healthy summer recipe?

Share the recipe and its ingredients on this blog and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, ID. 

How to play:

Make sure you are registered and logged in to ChooseHealthMatters.com. If you are not already a registered user, please register in the right hand column. Click on the “register” button to get started.

Make a comment on this blog post by answering the question: “What is your favorite healthy summer recipe?”. Be sure to include the ingredients and any special instructions.

Winners will be drawn from all comments on Thursday, 8/8/13 @ 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

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Fatigued?

Fatigued

Of course I’m “fatigued” – isn’t everybody? I have a pretty good idea why and like most people, I just want to know how to fix it. Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or a lack of energy. Fatigue can often be traced to habits and routines…sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress, schedules, unrealistic expectations and on and on. So, how do you kick vigor back into life without making a major life change or upsetting everything? Check out these tips to boost energy levels. Two that always surprise me are relaxation and exercise. They seem so wrong when I am already dragging my wagon! Relaxation techniques – yoga, breathing, mindfulness – actually break the drain that anxiety has on your energy level. Movement and exercise boost energy. Another close link exists between the quality of your sleep and fatigue. For tips on getting a better night’s sleep, check out How’s Your Sleep?  Fight fatigue! check out 10 Ways to Reduce Stress and Revitalize Your Life.

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Take it outside!

The next time you feel like falling into the recliner or perching yourself comfortably with your laptop, smart phone, tablet or whatever… STOP! Take it outside. In fact, take the whole family outside. Put down the remotes, put away the technology, turn off the power. Unplug. There’s a whole world waiting for your family – outsideUnplug and Be Outside is happening across Idaho in April and May. Check out the FREE activities in your area. Try a new activity. Have a family contest. Each family member can choose an activity for everyone to try – rock climbing, golf, fishing, bike rodeo, geocaching, star gazing, camping, belly dancing, hockey, zumba, ice skating, gardening…and the list goes on! Check out Health Matters for more ideas. Come on – reconnect with the earth. Take it outside!

How does your family “take it outside” and be active?

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Probiotics, Herbal Remedies, Massage…and more!

Herbal Remedies

Probiotics, herbal remedies, yoga, massage, meditation, acupuncture, natural products, and more … can be considered complementary and alternative medicine or “CAM”.  So what’s CAM all about?  Complementary medicine is generally used in addition to standard medical care you receive from your doctor; alternative medicine is generally in place of standard medical care. As you consider different forms of CAM, check out these key points. Make thoughtful choices. Know the benefits. Take charge of your health and be an informed consumer of CAM. Information is out there!

Is there an area in your life where you use complementary or alternative medicine?

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Baby, It’s Cold Out There!

Winter Pets

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only bad clothing.”  That was a quote on the morning news – and, I think it’s right. This is a good time to double check your winter weather habits before you get caught in the cold. Remember to layer your clothing; you can always take a layer off. Several light layers are going to be warmer than one heavy layer. Wear clothes that wick moisture away from your body. Keep your head, feet, and hands warm when you are outside. Double check the winter supplies in your car. Always, always travel with a hat, gloves, mittens, flashlight, and waterproof boots/warm shoes somewhere in your car; a couple energy bars and water are important. Be sure your house is winter ready. Know where your main water shut-off valve is in case of frozen pipes. Have a good supply of candles, matches, warm blankets, heavy socks, hats, gloves/mittens, flashlights and batteries, water, and quick energy foods. Don’t leave candles or the fireplace unattended – ever. Don’t forget your furry friends. Outdoor pets may need to come indoors at night; water bowls should not be frozen. Consider increasing your pet’s food so energy levels can remain high. And, be sure your pet has a warm place away from the wind. Stay warm and enjoy the winter!

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