Tips for a Healthy Valentine's Meal: Take care of her health
Dr K K Aggarwal
On Valentine's Day you have choices: fresh flowers or dark non milky non sugary chocolate; dine in, dine out or home cooking. Make sure you celebrate love with a safe and heart healthy meal.
While eating out
· Choose place that has safe food practices.
· Make sure that the glasses, silverware, napkins and tablecloths are clean.
· Look for hidden sources of sodium. More than 40% of sodium that we eat comes from these common foods: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes, and snacks.
· Look up the nutritional information in advance.
· Do not be in hurry. Foods like meat, poultry, and fish need to be cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria that may be present.
· Raw or undercooked eggs can be a hidden hazard in foods like Caesar salad, custards, and some sauces, unless they are commercially pasteurized.
· Share. Most restaurant servings are enough for two.
· If you're not going straight home (within two hours of being served or one hour if temperatures are above 90°F), leave the leftovers at the restaurant.
Tips for takeout, delivery, or preparing at home
· Choose low sodium options. Spice up your meal with seasonings and avoid prep-ackaged mixes that may contain a lot of salt
· Make recipes healthier, avoid trans fats and saturated fats
· Steer clear of frying. Opt for methods that add little or no fat, like roasting, grilling, or steaming.
· Keep HOT Food HOT: Once food is cooked it should be held at an internal temperature of 140°F or above. Just keeping food warm (between 40°F and 140°F) encourages fast growth of germs that cause food poisoning.
· Keep COLD Food COLD: Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below.
· Two hours rule: Throw away all perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and casseroles that have been left at room temperature longer than two hours (one hour in temperatures above 90°F).
· If your romantic dinner is just too big to finish, go ahead and put it in the fridge or freezer but eat it within three to four days.
[Adapted from CDC]