This last year has had us preparing our own foods and discovering the many health benefits of doing so each and every day. We may also have unintentionally caused our own discomfort by doing something improperly and causing food poisoning in our food sources. Here are five ways of preventing our food from making us sick. All these tips will lessen our likelihood of getting food poisoning. They are basic sanitation habits we can and should all incorporate into our lives. Living healthy happy lives isn’t just about choosing the right foods, but also choosing the right preparation and sanitation habits.
Clean and wash our hands before eating and handling food.
Whether we are eating out or eating in, we should always wash our hands before preparing food and eating it. We won’t pass anything on to our food if we have cleaned our hands. We’ve all seen the sign in the restaurant bathrooms reminding employees to wash their hands before returning to work. It’s a good reminder for all of us too.
Keep preparation areas clean along with work utensils.
We should be conscious of what surfaces our food is touching as we prepare it. It’s a good idea to have a sink of hot sudsy water as we are doing meal prep. It allows for consistent cleaning as we go.
Keep dish towels and hand towels clean
We can make it a habit to use clean dish towels and hand towels on a daily basis. Wash them in hot water to sanitize them, use cleaning products that do the same, and dry them with hot sanitizing air. All this work means nothing if we don’t remember to get a new towel out each day.
Use different chopping boards for meat and vegetables
We should be mindful of the equipment we are using. If we use a board to chop meat on, we don’t want to use it for vegetables. Keeping separate boards, maybe color coding so we don’t forget, keeps cross-contamination from happening to our food.
Cool leftovers quickly
A good rule of thumb is to cool any leftovers for no more than 90 minutes and then store them in the fridge or freezer. If we choose to store them in the fridge, we should use them, optimally, within two days. We also do not want to reheat them more than once.
Words by Tammy Foster
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