When it comes to eating healthy, food safety is a must. Check out these food safety guidelines:

Clean: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Wash your hands after playing with pets or visiting petting zoos.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
  • Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.
  • Keep books, backpacks, or shopping bags off the kitchen table or counters where food is prepared or served.

Separate: Don’t Cross Contaminate

Cross-contamination is how bacteria can be spread. When handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Always start with a clean scene ― wash hands with warm water and soap. Wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water.

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and in your refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Use a food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes, to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Cook: Cook to Proper Temperatures

Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods.

  • Use a food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes, to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Cook beef roasts and steaks to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F. Cook pork to a minimum of 145°F. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the bird, as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all ground meat to 160°F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked ground beef with a higher risk of illness. Remember, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burgers.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Don’t use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160°F.
  • Cook fish to 145°F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
  • Use microwave-safe cookware and plastic wrap when cooking foods in a microwave oven.

Chill: Refrigerate Promptly

Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40°F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0°F or below.

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
  • Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food, or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90°F).
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave using the defrost setting. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Use or discard refrigerated food on a regular basis.

Keeping Cold Lunches Cold

Prepare cooked food, such as turkey, ham, chicken, and vegetable or pasta salads, ahead of time to allow for thorough chilling in the refrigerator. Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use. Keep cooked food refrigerated until time to leave home.

To keep lunches cold away from home, include a small frozen gel pack or frozen juice box. Of course, if there’s a refrigerator available, store perishable items there upon arrival. Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags can also be used. If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to help insulate the food.

Some food is safe without a cold source. Items that don’t require refrigeration include whole fruits and vegetables, hard cheese, unopened canned meat and fish, chips, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.

Keeping Hot Lunches Hot

Use an insulated container to keep food like soup, chili, and stew hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot — 140°F or above.

source: myplate.gov

 

Who says eating healthy needs to be boring? Check out this fun Easter treat!

Bonus: No baking skills needed!

1 Pineapple
1 Pear
3 Kiwi
18 oz blueberries
6 oz raspberries
10 oz strawberries

Wash and then slice/dice the strawberries, pineapple, kiwis and pear. (Keep two larger rectangles of pear set aside to use for the bunny’s teeth.)
Start be taking the pineapple pieces and cup two circles together for the bunny’s cheeks.
Then place two pear arches above the cheeks for the “whites of the eyes”
Place the kiwi in the shapes of bunny ears and place sliced strawberries for the “pink” inner ear.
Fill in the rest of the head with pineapple and outline the ears with more pineapple.
Place blueberries for the large eye balls.
Place a large raspberry for the nose.
Place two large pieces of pear for the teeth.
Fill in the background with remaining fruit.
The  more contrast between fruit colors, the more the bunny head will pop from the fruit platter.  String cheese seems to work the best to create the bunny’s whiskers.  You could also slice a banana lengthwise to keep it all fruit.  Keep in mind, bananas, apples and pears may start to brown if the platter is going to sit for several hours.  To help keep these fruits from browning, dip them in cold water with lemon juice or slice under water.

We hope you try this Bunny Head Fresh Fruit Platter for your Easter dinner. If you do, snap a pic and post it on our Facebook page  for a chance to win a Be Well South Dakota Gift Pack.

Source for recipe and picture: Worth Pinning

DID YOU KNOW?

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. But if everyone aged 50 years or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway connecting the colon to the anus.

Screening Saves Lives

If you’re 50 or older, getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life.

colonoscopy

Here’s How:
• Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
• Screening tests can find polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
• Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when the chance of being cured is good.

Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people aged 50 or older. The risk increases with age. Both men and women can get colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened.

Am I at High Risk? 

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:
• You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
• You have inflammatory bowel disease.
• You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.

Speak with your doctor about having earlier or more frequent tests if you think you’re at high risk for colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?


People who have polyps or colorectal cancer don’t always have symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. If there are symptoms, they may include:

• Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
• Stomach aches, pains, or cramps that don’t go away.
• Losing weight and you don’t know why.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

Source: cdc.gov

I’ve been on the hunt for an Easter dessert. Something that is special for the holiday, satisfy the sweet tooth, yet not too high in sugar or calories. Here is the one I’m going to try:

Angel Food Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (.3 ounces) sugar-free lime gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 prepared angel food cake (8 inches), tear into 1-inch chunks (*gluten-free version: use a Gluten Free Angel Food Cake Mix).
  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

Garnish:

  • Reduced-fat whipped topping
  • Candy sprinkles, optional (*GF version: use gluten free candy sprinkles or candies)

In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Refrigerate  until mixture just begins to thicken, about 35 minutes. Place cake cubes in a lightly greased 13″ x 9″ dish; set aside.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar and lemon juice. Add the chilled gelatin mixture; beat until combined. Fold in 1 1/2 cups whipped topping.

Spread over top of cake, covering completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares; garnish with remaining whipped topping. Yield: 15 – 20 servings.

Source: Blessed Beyond Crazy

How about you, do you have a favorite Easter dessert?

Safety Tips for You, Your Family, and Friends

Unless noted, the safety tips below were adapted from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ poison prevention tips for children and adults.

Drugs and Medicines

  • Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional. Misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medications is not a “safe” alternative to illicit substance abuse.
  • Never take larger or more frequent doses of your medications, particularly prescription pain medications, to try to get faster or more powerful effects.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs. Keep all prescription medicines (especially prescription painkillers, such as those containing methadone, hydrocodone, or oxycodone), over-the-counter medicines (including pain or fever relievers and cough and cold medicines), vitamins and herbals in a safe place that can only be reached by people who take or give them.
  • Follow directions on the label when you give or take medicines. Read all warning labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
  • Turn on a light when you give or take medicines at night so that you know you have the correct amount of the right medicine.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, such as medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
  • Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. Follow federal guidelines for how to do this (FDA 2011).
  • Participate in National Drug Take Back days recognized by the Drug Enforcement Administration or local take back programs in your community.

Household Chemicals and Carbon Monoxide

  • Always read the label before using a product that may be poisonous.
  • Keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers. Do not use food containers such as cups, bottles, or jars to store chemical products such as cleaning solutions or beauty products.
  • Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can result in toxic gases.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
  • Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.

Poison Help 1-800-222-1222

Keep Young Children Safe from Poisoning

BE Prepared

  • Put the poison help number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Be Smart about Storage

  • Store all medicines and household products up and away and out of sight in a cabinet where a child cannot reach them.
  • When you are taking or giving medicines or are using household products:
    • Do not put your next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them—it only takes seconds for a child to get them.
    • If you have to do something else while taking medicine, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
    • Secure the child safety cap completely every time you use a medicine.
    • After using them, do not leave medicines or household products out. As soon as you are done with them, put them away and out of sight in a cabinet where a child cannot reach them.
    • Be aware of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Ask guests to store drugs where children cannot find them. Children can easily get into pillboxes, purses, backpacks, or coat pockets.

Proper Disposal

For more information on proper disposal, please see the FDA’s web site, Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know.

Other Tips

  • Do not call medicine “candy.”
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and place them out of reach of children or remove them.

What To Do If A Poisoning Occurs

  • Remain calm.
  • Call 911 if you have a poison emergency and the victim has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Try to have this information ready:
    • the victim’s age and weight
    • the container or bottle of the poison if available
    • the time of the poison exposure
    • the address where the poisoning occurred
  • Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.

 

Source: CDC.gov