Diabetes & Holiday Food Safety
Whether you’re preparing for a holiday dish or a holiday family reunion, safe food handling is important to keep in mind – particularly for those with diabetes.
You May Also Like
Diabetes can affect various organs and systems in the body, causing them not to function properly, leaving you more susceptible to infection. When your immune system is functioning properly it readily fights off harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. With diabetes, your immune system may not readily recognize harmful bacteria or other pathogens. This delay in the body’s natural response to foreign invasion places a person with diabetes at increased risk for infection.
To avoid contracting a foodborne illness – also called food poisoning, you must be vigilant when handling, preparing, and consuming foods. Don’t let food poisoning spoil your holiday celebration. Follow these simple steps for planning, shopping, cooking and wrapping up the holiday feast.
Proper planning. Make sure your kitchen is equipped with what you need for safe food handling, including two cutting boards (one for raw meats and seafood and the other for ready-to-eat foods), a food thermometer, shallow containers for storage, paper towels and soap.
Store foods in the refrigerator at 40°F or below or in the freezer at 0°F or below. Check the temperature of both the refrigerator and freezer with a refrigerator thermometer.
Safe shopping. It’s important to keep food safety in mind as you shop. Whether in the shopping cart, reusable grocery tote or the car trunk, keep raw meat, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods like fruit, vegetables and bread.
You May Also Like
Don’t purchase bruised or damaged produce, or canned goods that are dented, leaking, bulging or rusted, as these may become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Buy cold foods last and bring foods directly home from the grocery store. Remember to always refrigerate perishable foods, such as raw meat or poultry, within two hours.
Working in the kitchen
In a holiday kitchen filled with family and friends, everyone wants to lend a helping hand, but are those hands clean? Make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly with warm running water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling those culinary delights.
When baking delicious holiday treats, remember that no one should eat raw cookie dough, brownie or cake batter containing raw eggs.
Wrapping up leftovers
Having leftover turkey, ham and other holiday favorites means you can enjoy additional tasty meals days after your feast. But as good as they may taste – even when refrigerated properly, leftovers should be eaten, frozen or discarded within three to four days.
Throw away all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles, left at room temperature longer than two hours. Refrigerate or freeze other leftovers in shallow, airtight containers and label with an expiration date.
Use cooked leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days. Cooked turkey will keep for three to four months in the freezer.
Reheat cooked leftovers thoroughly to 165°F or until hot and steaming.
Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil before serving.
LIKE BlackDoctor.org on Facebook! Get Your Daily Medicine…For LIFE!
When microwaving leftovers, make sure there are no cold spots in food – where bacteria can survive. Cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking.
Bon appétit and healthy holidays!
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Living with Diabetes center for more articles.
Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the author of The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes. Learn more about her work at http://www.constancebrownriggs.com and follow her on Twitter@eatingsoulfully