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Nutrition Tip: Leftover Do's and Don'ts

Registered dietitian, Liz Weiss shares tips on how to keep leftovers safe and tasty. For more information, visit Meal Makeover Moms: http://mealmakeovermoms.com/mealtime-tools/family-nutrition-articles/leftover-savvy/

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The best place to store leftovers is in your fridge or freezer. The catch: Make sure the temperature in both is set at a safe level. Check your temperatures by using a food thermometer (available at most supermarkets) to gauge whether the fridge and freezer are within recommended guidelines. Food safety experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend keeping refrigerators at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) and freezers at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius). Allowing your fridge or freezer to get too warm can decrease a food’s shelf life and increase the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Here’s a few other tips to keep leftovers healthy, safe and delicious:

Two-hour max: Foods should be contained and stored in a refrigerator or freezer within two hours after cooking.

Choose shallow containers: Divide and store leftovers in shallow containers less than two inches deep, for rapid even cooling. Larger or deeper containers take longer to cool.

Wrap it tight: Be sure stored foods are tightly wrapped. When using a resealable bag, try to squeeze out as much air as possible. This will conserve space and help to prevent freezer burn. If using a plastic container, choose the smallest container that will hold your food.

Plan ahead: Make a point of using stored foods before opening or purchasing more and get to know how long various foods last in the fridge or freezer. Check the expiration dates and see the food storage chart at the link below for more information.


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