Summer is nearly here, and kids will soon be out of school for a few months. Unfortunately, for some children, that leaves the question as to where their daily meals are coming from.
However, there are programs available for eligible children. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides meals to low-income children while school is out for the summer. These meals are free, meet federal nutrition guidelines and are available in areas with high concentrations of low-income children.
Find out if free meals are available in your area or how you can get involved with providing them.
For many families, preparing a grand meal is a tradition they look forward to during the holidays, but it’s no fun if someone gets food poisoning.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million people in the United States get sick each year from eating contaminated foods.
You can avoid foodborne illness by following these tips:
1. When buying food:
- Choose fresh items and check the expiration date for everything you buy.
- Foods that need to be refrigerated, such as meat, eggs and milk, should be the last things you buy at the store.
- Place meats (chicken, fish, pork and beef) in a separate bag. The liquids that spill out of these items can contaminate fruits, vegetables and other food in the refrigerator.
- If you’ll be driving for more than an hour after you go to the supermarket, take a cooler to store the items that need refrigeration.
2. When handling food:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables with a brush to remove any dirt or soil residue.
- Do not wash meats before cooking. This could cause bacteria to contaminate your sink and other kitchen surfaces.
- Defrost meats in the refrigerator or microwave. Defrosting them at room temperature can cause bacteria to multiply.
- Wash the knife and cutting board that were used to prepare meat before using them on other food items to avoid contamination.
3. When cooking food:
- Cook meats after defrosting them. Don’t leave them out of the refrigerator for too long.
- Make sure the meats are cooked well inside and out. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- Don’t put freshly cooked items next to raw foods.
- When cooking meat, do so all at once. Avoid partially cooking meat and refrigerating it with the intention of completing the cooking process later.
4. When storing food:
Portion control is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Know proper portion sizes for your body.
After a decade of trans fats slowly disappearing from some American food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now require that trans fats be gradually phased out of all foods because trans fats threaten people’s health.
Trans fats are the “bad” fats that cause plaque build-up in the arteries and lead to heart disease. They are found in many processed foods, and in oils used for frying in restaurants.
While many companies have already removed trans fats after new nutrition labels were introduced in 2006, the FDA estimates that requiring trans fats not be used will decrease cases of heart disease by 7,000 annually and prevent 20,000 heart attacks per year.
The FDA plans to release a timeline for the phase-out in the near future.