Food Safety Mythbusters

Blocks saying Facts and Myths

We all do our best to serve our families food that’s safe and healthy. However, do you know all you should know? A few food safety practices that many people believe and follow are actually myths.

Myth: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I'm going to peel them.

Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind when you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it.

Myth: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first.

Fact: Rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of foodborne illness by splashing juices and any bacteria they might contain onto your sink and counters. If you choose to rinse for cultural reasons, make sure to clean and disinfect the sink and counters immediately afterward.

Myth: It is OK to wash bagged greens if I want to. There’s no harm!

Fact: Rinsing leafy greens that are ready to eat (those labeled “washed,” “triple washed,” or “ready to eat”) will not enhance safety. In fact, it could increase the risk for cross-contamination. This means harmful bacteria from your hands or kitchen surfaces could find their way onto the greens while washing them.

Source: Home Food Safety Mythbusters, fightbac.org

Loaded Potato Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Bowl of potato soup
  • 4 medium potatoes(scrubbed, peeled, and cubed) (about 4cups)
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: sliced green onions, crumbled bacon, diced ham, croutons, soup crackers

Directions:

  1. Combine potatoes, onion, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and broth in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium high heat until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally (12–15 minutes).
  3. Use a potato masher or fork to slightly mash the potatoes. This will also thicken the soup. There should still be pieces of potato in the soup.
  4. Stir in the peas, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese. Cook and stir until the cheese is melted (3–4 minutes).
  5. Add garnishes and serve right away.

Nutrition information per serving:
340 calories, 8g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 53g total carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 9g sugar, 16g protein

This information is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Potato 101

Potatoes are a staple in many households. While potatoes may have a bad reputation, they’re versatile (baked, mashed, fried, boiled) and nutrient rich. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

Potatoes

Keeping an eye on your blood sugar? You can still enjoy potatoes. Compared to many vegetables, potatoes may raise blood sugar quickly. However, the effect on your blood sugar is influenced by the type of potato and cooking method. For example, a white potato can increase blood sugar more quickly than a sweet potato, while a boiled russet potato raises blood sugar more slowly than a baked russet potato.

It’s also important to look at your entire meal versus just one food. When you enjoy potatoes with foods higher in protein and healthy fat, the potato is digested more slowly, which slows the rise of blood sugar.

FUN FACT: Don’t store potatoes with apples. Apples and many other fruits produce ethylene gas, which promotes sprouting.

Sources:
What Potatoes Have the Highest Glycemic Index?, nutritionletter.tufts.edu
7 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Potatoes, healthline.com
Produce Basics – Potatoes, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics/

Strength Training for Strong Muscles

Woman lifting small weights

Current physical activity guidelines recommend strength training, which helps to prevent or reverse sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the decline of skeletal muscle tissue, or muscle mass, as we age. Doing strength exercises at least twice a week keeps your muscles strong, so that you can do everyday activities such as lifting groceries and rising from a chair.

Visit the National Institute on Aging Go4Life exercise videos, bit.ly/3ocqDmy, on YouTube for strength-training exercises, 7 tips for a safe and successful strength-training program, bit.ly/3GNZQ8p, or download the Prevent Sarcopenia handout, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/14826.

Safe Food at Potlucks

Table of various foods

Potluck meals are a fun, low-cost way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. They are also linked with the spread of foodborne illness. Follow these tips to keep food safe:

  • If you or someone in your home has “stomach flu” or symptoms of a foodborne illness, don’t prepare food.
  • Don’t mix salads, such as potato or a tossed lettuce salad, with your bare hands. Use utensils or wear gloves instead.
  • To keep cold foods cold (40°F or lower), remove items from the refrigerator just before leaving home and put them in a cooler with ice or a freezer gel pack. Remove hot food items from the oven or cooktop and place in containers such as insulated bags to keep foods hot (140°F or above).
  • To prevent cross-contamination, cover your car seat with a clean sheet or large towel before placing the food container on it and don’t transport food with animals in your car.

Source: Food Safety: Potluck Parties, bit.ly/3ohLFAl.

Quick Turkey Rice Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup sliced fresh white mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 14-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10.75-ounce can reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add onions, mushrooms, and minced garlic (if using); cook, stirring often, until onion is tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add tomatoes, broth, soup, and rice. Cover and cook until rice is nearly tender (15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Stir in the broccoli and turkey; return to boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until broccoli is tender and turkey is heated through (about 5 minutes).
  6. Remove from heat; stir in freshly ground black pepper.

Nutrition information per serving:
310 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 510mg sodium, 40g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 23g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Eat Protein for Good Health

FoodServing SizeProtein (grams)
Steak/Fish/Chicken 3 oz.21
Eggs1 large6
Milk1 cup8
Cheese1.5 oz.7
Yogurt1 cup11
Almonds1 oz.6
Beans1/2 cup8

Protein is essential to building our skin, hair, blood, bones, and so much more.

How much do you need? MyPlate, www.myplate.gov/, recommends eating about 5 to 6.5 ounces (~66 to 80 grams) of protein foods daily for adults ages 18 years and older.

Where do you get protein? Protein is found in meat, poultry, pork, fish/seafood, dairy products, nuts, beans, legumes, and some fortified grains. These foods provide B vitamins (immunity, eyesight), iron (blood health), zinc (immunity), and magnesium (muscle and bone health).

Do you need a protein supplement? Most healthy adults do not need a protein supplement. Those who may need a protein supplement are those with health conditions (e.g., cancer or major wounds [bed sores, broken bones, surgery]), that prevent their bodies from using the proteins they eat. When choosing a supplement, consider its purpose. If wanted for muscle development, try whey protein after exercising. If needed to prevent muscle loss, use casein protein before bedtime.

Before increasing your protein intake, be sure to talk with your health care provider.

To learn more, visit Stay Independent: A healthy aging series, www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/stay-independent.

Sources: The Scoop on Protein Powder, bit.ly/3EMmGvz.
Protein Supplements…Are They for You?, bit.ly/3bDUwGt.

Tai Chi for Health

Woman doing Tai Chi

If you’re looking for a way to reduce stress, consider tai chi (tie-chee). Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. Practicing tai chi helps to improve balance and stability in older people and in those with Parkinson’s disease. It reduces back pain and improves quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

Although you can rent or buy videos and books about tai chi, consider seeking guidance from a qualified tai chi instructor to gain the full benefits and learn proper techniques. To find a class near you, contact local fitness centers, health clubs, and senior centers.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, mayocl.in/3oqFDiu, and NIH, bit.ly/3uDmhI0.

Food Safety Tips for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Roast turkey
  1. Thaw your turkey safely: Plan ahead, since thawing may take days in the refrigerator. Do NOT thaw it on the counter, in a bathtub, on the porch, or in the garage.
  2. Handle your turkey safely: Before touching the turkey, wash your hands for 20 seconds. Do not wash or rinse the turkey. This may spread poultry juice to other foods and lead to foodborne illness. Use a clean cutting board. Wash the board with warm soapy water after use and before preparing the next item.
  3. Cook your turkey safely: Set oven temperature to at least 325°F. Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Find cooking times at USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, bit.ly/3kZeP6D. Use a food thermometer to check in at least two of the thickest parts of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. After cooking, the turkey should rest for 20 minutes to let juices settle.
  4. Chill your turkey safely: Divide leftovers into small portions and refrigerate or freeze within two hours after cooking. Use refrigerated leftovers within 3–4 days and frozen cooked turkey in 2–6 months for best quality. For more Thanksgiving-friendly food safety tips, visit FoodSafety. gov, bit.ly/3A55oqt.

Source: FoodSafety.gov, bit.ly/3A55oqt.

Vegetable Frittata

Frittata, toast, and fruit on plate

Serving Size: 1 slice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetables, chopped (mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add vegetables and sauté until tender (3–5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, beat eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Stir cheese into eggs.
  5. Turn oven broiler to high.
  6. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Cover with a lid. Cook until eggs are nearly set—about 6 minutes. Do not stir and do not remove lid.
  7. Remove lid from skillet and place skillet in the oven. Broil until eggs are completely set and lightly browned (2–3 minutes).

Nutrition information per serving:
190 calories, 12g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 295mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 14g protein

This information is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

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