Tag Archives: Creating a Healthy Kitchen

Creating A Healthy Kitchen: Pantry Staples

On my mission to create a healthy kitchen I am creating a healthy pantry. A pantry stocked with staples that are both delicious and healthful. Here are two lists that I use as a guide when re-stocking my pantry. While I don’t use everything thing from these lists I do pick and choose items that work for me. Hope you find them helpful!

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Here are links to my other Creating a Healthy Kitchen posts.

CREATING A HEALTHY KITCHEN: HEALTHY FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS & KITCHEN TOOLS

CREATING A HEALTHY KITCHEN: SHELF LIFE OF FOOD – INFOGRAPHIC

CREATING A HEALTHY KITCHEN: FOOD SAFETY IN YOUR KITCHEN

CREATING A HEALTHY KITCHEN: KITCHEN-VOLUME-CONVERSION-AID

What healthy pantry items do you use?

Creating A Healthy Kitchen: Food Safety in Your Kitchen

As much as 60% of foodborne illness may be from food prepared right in your own kitchen. According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses are most dangerous for children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, but they can affect anyone. Therefore practicing good food safety habits in your kitchen is important for keeping your family healthy and safe from foodborne illnesses.

Here are some very important things you can do to keep you and your family and friends safe from foodborne illness at home.

The CDC and USDA offer these  “Rules of Food Safety

CLEAN

  • Wash your hands and surfaces, with warm soapy water, often.
  • Germs can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.
  • Clean your sponges every few days by soaking them in a bowl of water with one teaspoon of bleach.
  • Disinfect your sink with bleach and water right after you’ve cooked with raw meat, eggs, or poultry.
  • Wash and/or scrub fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting, cooking or eating.

SEPARATE


  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Put raw meat, fish and poultry on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator so the juices don’t drip on foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Use a hard cutting surface with no splits or holes in it. Germs can grow in them.
  • After cutting or working with raw meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and melons, wash your hands before touching any food that will be eaten without being cooked.
  • Wash, rinse and sanitize the cutting surface and all the utensils (knives, etc.) every time you finish cutting raw meat, fish, poultry and melons. Household bleach is a good sanitizer. Use a capful (1 tsp.) for each gallon of cool water.

COOK

  • Cook food to the right temperature. You may think you can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, but there is no way to be sure that it is safely done without following a few important but simple steps.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
  • If food has been sitting at room temperature (in the “danger zone”) for up to 2 hours, refrigerate it or reheat it.
  • Reheat foods to 165° F or above; use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

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Try to move foods through “The Danger Zone”, the temperature range where germs can grow most quickly and easily, as fast as you can by cooking, cooling, or reheating in the right way.

CHILL


  • Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate foods properly. Germs can grow in many foods within 2 hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to 1 hour.)
  • Not cooling food the right way may be the biggest cause of foodborne illness. Do not cover hot food until it has cooled to 41° F or below.

Remember these simple steps: wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.

USDA Kitchen Companion – Your Safe Food Handbook http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/2bc7ada9-12a4-4b36-960c-3230904edcc2/Kitchen_Companion.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

CDC – Food Safety – http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/

Creating a Healthy Kitchen: Kitchen-Volume-Conversion-Aid

Use this helpful Kitchen-Volume-Conversion-Aid for all your healthy good food you will be cooking this holiday and throughout the New Year!  Really great tool, print it and post in your kitchen.

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Creating a Healthy Kitchen: Shelf Life of Food – Infographic

Next in the series of posts dedicated to creating a healthy kitchen is this cool infographic: The Shelf Life of Food.

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The first post on Creating a Healthy Kitchen: Healthy Food Storage Containers & Kitchen Tools

Creating a Healthy Kitchen: Healthy Food Storage Containers & Kitchen Tools

Since this is the time of year when you might be doing a lot of cooking, I decided to comprise a series of posts dedicated to creating a healthy kitchen.  Here is the first: Healthy Food Storage Containers & Kitchen Tools

You spend a lot of time and effort choosing and preparing nutritious food for your families, so it is important to make sure that the products you are using to cook, bake and store food with do not put your families’ health at risk.

BPA-free Plastic Storage Containers

If you use plastic containers for food storage be sure they are 100% BPA-free and have air tight secure lids like Preserve Food Storage Containers. These containers are made in the USA from 100% BPA free, recycled #5 plastic. They are dishwasher safe and stand up to everyday use. They feature seal-tight screw-top clear lids and a design that is stackable for easy storage

Some of Preserve’s other items like there colanders and cutting boards are also made with 100 percent recycled materials (both plastic and paper), are BPA- and phthalate-free and can be recycled when their useful life is over.

Mason Jars

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If you want to forgo plastic all together try Mason Jars. These glass jars are perfect for storing leftovers, chopped up veggies, seasonings, soups, smoothies, juices, nuts, seeds, granola, crackers and more. In fact, I use them for my drinking glasses.

Salad Dressing Bottle

A glass salad dressing bottle, with recipe measurements on the side, is ideal for mixing and storing homemade salad dressing. Amazon has one for $8.

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Pots, Pans and Baking Goods

I try to use stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead of the non-stick versions.  TreeHugger has compiled a list of 9 Non-Toxic Cookware Brands for Safe and Healthy Home Cooking, some of which are non-stick cookware. I also love Pyrex glass bakeware. You can probable find some old pieces at a vintage or thrift store or in your parent’s kitchen packed away somewhere, instead of buying new.  Ceramic cookware and bakeware are also really healthy choices for food preparation.

Sturdy Utensils

Invest in sturdy utensils. Avoid plastic utensils and accessories when cooking as these can melt or flake with extreme heat and wear down over time possibly causing chemicals to drift into your food. Instead choose durable materials such as: wood, bamboo, silicone or stainless steel. High-quality knives that you can sharpen by hand are a must. Having tongs in all shapes and sizes are very useful when dealing with raw meat or serving foods. A couple of good pairs of scissors are indispensable in the kitchen for everything from trimming meat to snipping herbs and opening packages. Poultry shears make it especially easy to cut through chickens, and can be used for a variety of other foods as well.

Juicer and Zester

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Fresh zest, lemon and lime juice add a wonderful taste and a boost of vitamin C to your food. Whether for cooking or baking, having a juicer and zester on hand makes short work of getting all the juice and flavor out of citrus.

Filter Tap Water

Because of all the possible toxins in tap water you may want to consider using some sort of filtering system. PUR or Brita pitcher filters run about $15-20 or you could invest in one for your faucet. To find out if your water is safe for cooking and drinking, go online to discover the source of your home’s tap water. EWG’s Guide to Safe Drinking Water is also a great resource.

Do you have some cool healthy tool or storage item to share? Please do!