This weekend we remember those who gave their all to protect the United States of America. Memorial Day is a time to remember the individuals who lost their lives while actively serving in the armed forces. We thank those who protect our freedoms and keep the country safe.
Many people choose to commemorate this weekend by kicking off summer festivities including firing up the grill and having a cook-out. While we all love to cook our favorite recipes and indulge in some tasty treats when we are at potlucks, there are ways to keep your meal safe and healthy! Here are some tips from the United States Department of Agriculture to keep your weekend healthy and happy:
- Choose a salad or vegetables! Instead of loading your plate with potato salad or french fries, go for the vegetables or start with a salad instead. Try using a vinaigrette or light dressing instead of creamy dressings. And remember to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables as well!
- Limit your sugar intake via beverages. There are plenty of ways to enjoy flavored beverages that don’t add unnecessary sugar to your meal. You can put some mint or fruit into a pitcher of water in infuse the flavor. Unsweetened iced tea is also a way to quench your thirst. Don’t forget, water is always a good idea.
- Make your plate colorful! Choose a variety of vegetables and other food items to keep your meals interesting and healthy.
- Choose healthy cooking techniques – try steaming, grilling, or broiling your dishes. Frying or foods cooked in creamy sauces are higher in saturated fats. Steaming and grilling are great ways to prepare tasty meals without unnecessary fats.
- Cook your meals in a safe manner! Food safety is key to keeping you and your guests healthy. Be sure to cook meats to proper temperatures. The temperature should be taken with a food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Poultry should be at least 165 degrees F, Ground meats (such as hamburgers) should be at least 160 degrees F, Beef, Pork, and Lamb should be at least 145 degrees F.
- Keep your food safe! Make sure your hot foods stay hot and cold foods stay cold. The “Danger Zone” is between 40 and 140 degrees F, so make sure cold food stays under 40 degrees, and hot food stays above 140 degrees. When the temperature of food is in the danger zone that is when bacteria thrive and grow exponentially increasing the chance of food-borne illness to occur.
These are just some tips to help keep you healthy and safe this weekend and beyond! For more information and helpful tips, here are some resources:
- USDA Food Safety Inspection Service – Educational Resources
- USDA Food Safety Inspection Service Twitter Account
Tips included in this blog come from the following Tip Sheets: