Food safety at home events

A group of people with two young men carrying a cooler and walking towards a picnic table.Keeping food safe is always a concern, but it’s especially important in the summer heat when bacteria grow more quickly.  One key to food safety in the summer is to keep hot foods hot and keep cold foods cold.  If you are at an event like a barbecue,  decrease the time that foods are left out by putting food out in smaller batches so it stays hot or cold.  Use a cooler to keep foods cold and keep the cooler in the shade or under a tree. If you don’t have a cooler, you can put food on ice: fill a big bowl with ice and then put the serving bowl of food over the ice. Stay safe this summer by keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot!

Eating fruits and vegetables

Woman shopping in the produce section.Eating fruits and vegetables helps to protect your health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease. They fill you up without adding many calories, and they’re full of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Fruits and vegetables also add lots of different flavors and variety to your diet. One great way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to keep them in sight and ready to eat so you can snack on them when you’re hungry. Fruits and smoothies are also great for dessert. Perhaps the easiest way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to simply put more on your plate. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for great taste and good health!

Choosing beverages

Lemon half splashing into water.Staying hydrated is important, especially during these hot months. However, many drinks have a lot of sugar and calories, and people often forget about these “liquid calories.” You don’t need to give up sweet drinks entirely, but try replacing some of them with lower calorie beverages to reduce excess calories. Simple water is an inexpensive and calorie-free option, and you can flavor it at home with lemon or other fresh fruit. Try making your own iced tea at home, too. You can use any type of tea – black, green, herbal, flavored – and you can drink it unsweetened or just lightly sweetened. For a creamy tea drink, add several chai (spiced) tea bags to low-fat or fat-free milk. Steep in the fridge for about 24 hours and then sweeten it lightly. Stay hydrated this summer without adding extra calories!

Keeping events simple

Hispanic family gathered around a picnic table.Summer is a great time for picnics, barbecues, graduation parties, and weddings, but hosting these events often takes a lot of work and time. If you are hosting an event, follow these tips to make it easier on yourself. Offer fewer food choices. Having fewer choices means less work for you. Use simple recipes or make recipes simple by using canned ingredients or store-bought seasoning mixtures. Choose recipes that let the food cook ahead, such as barbecue pulled pork or baked beans, to reduce work on the day of the event. Choosing recipes for which you can do most of the work ahead of time, such as salad or lasagna, also saves work and time on the day of the event. Use these tips to save work and enjoy your event!