A Healthy and Food Safe Thanksgiving
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“Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be genuine. But most of all, be thankful.”
It is that time of year again! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means a lot of food and a lot of cooking! Check out these food safety tips on preparing turkey to keep your family happy and healthy during this holiday season.
Thanksgiving Turkey Tips
- Refrigerator – The best and safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 lbs.
- Cold Water – Place frozen turkey in its packaging under cold running tap water.
- Microwave – Thawing times will depend on your specific microwave. Check packaging directions on your turkey.
- If stuffing your turkey, stuff it loosely and make sure the stuffing is moist. It is safer to cook the stuffing separately.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that your turkey is done cooking and has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Stick the meat thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast. The temperature should read at least 165°F in all three places. Note: the turkey juice may not be clear at 165°. That is ok. Often, the juice is clear when the turkey is overcooked, so always check the temperature rather than the juice. If you cook stuffing in your turkey, make sure the center of the stuffing also reaches 165°F.
Keep leftovers for only 4 days. If you want to keep some leftovers for longer, store them in freezer bags or an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Make sure to refrigerate your leftovers less than 2 hours after they are done cooking. Keep leftovers safe by cooling them faster by cutting the turkey into pieces, line the pieces in a single layer on a pan and let cool before refrigerating.
Reheat leftovers easily in the microwave. Leftovers should reach 165°F or steaming hot.
Eat Local for Thanksgiving!
Stay healthy with the ‘Maintain, don’t gain’ Holiday Challenge!
- Bake, broil or roast lean meats such as poultry
- Replace high-fat cheeses with lower fat options
- Use lower-fat milk or yogurt
- Select oils that provide omega-3 fatty acids such as canola or flaxseed oil
- Cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half- you can always add more at the table!
- If using canned coups or vegetables in recipes, choose “reduced-sodium” or “no-salt-added”
- Rinse canned vegetables with water to reduce sodium content
- Season foods with herbs, spices, garlic, onions, peppers, and lemon or lime juice to add flavor