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On these hot summer days, we know it’s important to keep ourselves cool and hydrated but what about our foods? Keeping foods at the right temperature can mean the difference between summer fun and food poisoning.
Foodborne illness can be serious, especially in children and older adults. It’s important to plan ahead to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. During the summer, the biggest challenge is making sure that our cold foods are refrigerated properly while we’re lounging poolside or picnicking at the lake. Bilingual Nutritionist Vivian Noriega shares some tips for how to keep cold foods chilled while your family enjoys fun in the sun:
- Keep chilled foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs. Cold foods should be kept consistently at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Stick a refrigerator thermometer in your cooler to help you keep track.
- Make sure to refrigerate or freeze perishables within two hours of purchase or use. If you’re not sure how long it has been sitting out, remember our food safety motto: when in doubt, throw it out.
- Divide larger quantities of foods into smaller containers to help them chill faster.
Another way to ensure your family is eating safe during the summer is using foods that don’t have to be refrigerated. Canned fruits and vegetables help you save money at the store and have a longer shelf life, making them a great addition to your pantry.
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that are great for your body. Choose fruits canned in 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added or vegetables that are low in sodium.
When you do buy fresh, remember to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season for the best price and flavor. You can even freeze grapes or other favorite fruits overnight, so they’ll be ready to pack for a sweet treat on those hot summer days at the lake.