5 Things You Should Know about Holiday Foods
Thanksgiving is a time when we find ourselves spending time with friends and family and celebrating overwhelmed with tasty treats, comfort foods and abandoning our diets. Whether you are cooking or a guest, take a look at some tips and research from the University of California on food safety practices before you dive into the turkey.
A food study on safety practices in home kitchens revealed that Americans often undercook poultry. A cooking thermometer is key to ensure when the turkey is done! Place the thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh muscle and the internal temperature should reach 180® F. The most common bacteria associated with undercooked poultry include Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria. Using a cooking thermometer minimizes the potential health risks of undercooking poultry and are an inexpensive investment (under $10).
Sweets and Hidden Sugars.
As we begin to loosen our diets in preparation for the holiday feasting, we succumb to the temptation of pies, cookies, and eggnog…Oh MY! High sugar intake can lead to unnecessary weight gain and potential health ramifications. Some high sugar/fat ingredients replaced with alternatives, such as Stevia or brown sugar instead of regular sugar and almond/soy cream instead of heavy/whipping cream can help keep our sugar intake in check. Click here for Sugar Alternatives for Holiday Baking for some great-tasting holiday baking recipes by Sugar-Free Diva. TIP: According to the Natural Society, drinking cinnamon tea after meals can help lower blood sugar response. Cinnamon improves the sensitivity of insulin by slowing the emptying of your stomach following meals. In other words, this increase greatly improves blood sugar regulation and helps balance sugar cravings.
The skinny on Stuffing.
Most mothers and grandmothers have a delectable secret recipe for stuffing and the ingredients typically consist of meat to make it tastier but what we don’t know is that just a few tablespoons of stuffing can contain over 10 grams of fat! It’s no wonder that we gain a few inches/pounds. Remain calm. We do not have to give up stuffing completely but some ingredients can be adjusted or substituted without changing the tastiness of the dish. Check out these 12 Unusual and Mouth-Watering Breadless Turkey Stuffing’s by Goedeker or CLICK HERE for delicious Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing recipes.
One of the biggest holiday food safety problem is leaving food out too long after it is cooked. When food temperatures rise above 40 degrees or below 140 degrees, the chances of bacterial growth create a danger zone. To minimize the risk of bacterial growth, refrigerate food within two hours of preparation.
Allery Concerns for Guests.
The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. It is wise to inform guests if you plan on serving anything that can be a potential allergen so that you and your guest can prepare an alternative. For this same reason, it’s best to have serving utensils with each dish and avoid moving from dish to dish.