Thank you for checking out my wonderful series, “The Art of Housewifery”. Today, we’re looking at basics. Basics in nutrition, food safety! First, we’ll start with our basics in nutrition. I figure we’ll start there because it isn’t as fun or entertaining!
I’m not sure if anyone knows, or has taken notice, but the United States government has gotten rid of the old, outdated food pyramid, and has replaced it with something much easier to deal with. Instead of the ole pyramid, we now have My Plate.
As you can see, My Plate is extremely simple. You want to have half your plate fruits and vegetables, the other half grains and whole grains and eat. They also suggest switching to fat-free or low-fat milk, and to drink water instead of sugary drinks. They also want you to compare sodium in foods like soups, and breads, and choose the foods with lower numbers. I had wanted to go into a little more detail, on how much you should eat, etc, however they now have it set up by age group on how much you should be eating. I strongly suggest you stopping by their website at www.choosemyplate.gov if you’re` interested in learning more!
What do you need to know?
o Rich in carbohydrates-major source of energy for our bodies
o Broken into two groups, whole and refined
o Whole consist of: barley, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal
o Why whole? Whole grains include all of the grain, you get more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals
o Refined grains consist of: white rice, white bread, and many breakfast cereals
o Refined grains are stripped of fiber and nutrients-some refined products are enriched, which means nutrients are added back HOWEVER whole grains are still better for you
o Extremely nutritious
o Low in calories, but have tons of minerals, fiber, and vitamins
o Veggies help reduce cancer, heart disease, and obesity
o Choose a variety of veggies
o Brilliant colors and flavors
o Contain powerful antioxidants-which fight and prevent disease
o Choose whole fruit over fruit juice
o Whole fruits have more fiber, fewer calories, and no added sugar like juices do
o ARE GOOD FOR YOU!
o Help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants
o Also flavor and add tenderness to foods
o Make you feel fuller faster
o Not all fats are the same
o Three types, saturated, trans fats, and unsaturated fats
o Avoid trans fats and saturated fats are fats you should avoid
o Unsaturated fats are fats found in oils, nuts, and seeds
o Helps build strong bones and prevent bone loss
o High levels of calcium also regulate blood pressure levels
o Dairy foods can be high in bad fats and cholesterol, therefore you should drink or eat no fat or low fat options
o Includes beans, eggs, and other meat substitutes
o Provide essential proteins that help you build, maintain and replace tissue
o Rich in B vitamins, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and magnesium
o Eggs and some meats higher in saturated fat and cholesterol
o When choosing meat you should choose lean, low-fat or fat-free
Did you know?
Most Americans are not consuming enough nutrients to meet their daily needs, even though they are eating more than enough calories. In addition most Americans supplement with a multivitamin and mineral supplement, although helpful, it is not the same as vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat.
In closing, eating nutritiously is all about balance. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, milk and cheeses. Drink plenty of water!! I personally think if God made it, it’s meant to be eaten, but in moderation!
Did you know you are most likely to get food poisoning from your own home than you are from a restaurant? Here we’ll go over some guidelines to storing, and handling your foods safely, so you don’t have an unfortunate run in with Mr. Salmonella!
The golden rule of food safety is keeping cold foods cold, and hot foods hot, because bacteria thrives at temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. This means cold foods need to be at a temperature of 40 degrees or cooler, and hot foods need to be eaten immediately or held at a temperature of 140 degrees or above.
Your hands are also the other biggest source of cross contamination. Nearly half of all cases of food-borne illness could be completely eliminated by proper hand washing! Washing your hands is critical when you are doing any of the following:
- Before eating, or starting any food preparation
- After having handled raw meat, poultry, fish shellfish or eggs
- Between tasks, such as cutting raw chicken, and dicing raw vegetables
- After going to the bathroom, changing diapers, playing with pets, or touching anything contaminated or unclean
But what is proper hand washing?
1 ”Proper hand washing means thoroughly scrubbing your hands—front and back, all the way up to the wrists, over and under the fingernails, and in between fingers—in hot, soapy water for AT LEAST 20 seconds. Rinse your hands and use paper towels or a clean cloth to dry them.”
A nice tip that I’m unsure if you’ve heard of, is to wear latex/nitrile/rubber gloves while handling raw meat. Then when you switch to chopping vegetables, all you have to do is take your gloves off. In addition, it’s a good idea to wear a glove of some type if you have an open wound or cut, to keep the food from getting contaminated, and to keep you from getting contaminated!
Dish Clothes and Sponges
To kill bacteria that thrive in sponges and dish clothes, it’s advised to soak them in a diluted bleach solution. (3/4 cup bleach per 1 gallon) You should do this three times per week. You should let sponges air dry. Dish clothes should be washed in the washing machine on the hot cycle. To make things easier, you can use paper towels to dry spills, especially from raw meat.
Cutting Board Safety
It is very important you have two cutting boards. One for meats and one for vegetables. Some cutting boards actually have a picture or name of the food group it was intended for. After every use cutting boards should be thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water, then rinsed and allowed to air dry, or patted dry with paper towels.
Better yet, if they are dishwasher safe, pop them in the dishwasher. To be extra safe it’s a good idea to sanitize your cutting board with a bleach, and water solution. (1 teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach per 1 quart of water) Spritz on your cutting board, to stand several minutes. Rinse and air dry or dry with paper towels.
Tips for Avoiding Cross Contaminates
- Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish in sealed containers or plastic bags so juices don’t get on other foods.
- At home, store raw items in their own containers to avoid juices spilling
- As previously mentioned, have two cutting boards
- Wash hands often during cooking
- Place cooked foods on a clean plate, not the same plate the raw meat was on previously
- Don’t wash raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb or veal before cooking!! This just splashes juices all over the place.
I want to apologize for the length of this post! I tried to condense it as much as possible, without leaving out something important. I hope I didn’t bore any of you guys! In regards to food safety, I do have some confession to make...
I don’t follow all the rules! I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of old fashioned when I cook in the fact that I do the things my momma told me to do, and I do the things she said not to do! I wanted to include this section though, because it is something everyone should know.
Ok, this was longer than I had originally wanted it to be, and it's not exactly the funnest material! I opted not to include basics in cooking just because of the length of this. Next weeks post is going to be more exciting, so come back and check it out!