Fast foods for the holidays

Stay healthy during the holidays by following six simple food safety tips for original fast foods.

Photo by Jeannie Nichols
Photo by Jeannie Nichols

When you think about it, fresh fruits and vegetables were the original fast foods. In today’s modern world, we have lots of foods we consider fast foods. But there are very few that would be considered as healthy as fruits and vegetables.

With the holidays upon us we all would benefit from consuming original fast foods in place of some other holiday foods or at least starting off a meal with original fast foods so we eat fewer of the high calorie holiday foods.

Michigan State University Extension offers the following six food safety tips about original fast foods:

Treat fruits and vegetables gently

Generally it is not harmful to eat bruised fruits and vegetables but just like bruises on people, bruises on produce hurt and are unappetizing.

Choose produce carefully

When picking out your fruits and vegetables choose produce that is undamaged in any way. Produce should be free of bruising, wilting and unsightly spots. Pick a wide variety of produce of many different colors to get a wide variety of nutrients. Select the freshest produce that you can.

Wisely store original fast foods

If you want to ripen produce leave it at room temperature and then refrigerate it to preserve as many nutrients as possible. Put the produce in your refrigerator crisper to keep it fresh. Your refrigerator should be 40º Fahrenheit. The way to do that is to have an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator so that you can check it regularly.

Clean produce thoroughly

To prevent nutrient loss, leave the peels on produce if at all possible. To clean produce simply rinse produce thoroughly, with water, just before you use it. For soft produce like grapes rinse them completely. For firm fruits and vegetables use a vegetable brush or clean cloth when cleaning them. Never use detergents of any kind when cleaning your fruits and vegetables.

Prepare produce tenderly

If at all possible prepare fruits and vegetables close to cooking or serving time. Don’t overcook your vegetables. Overcooking destroys vitamins. Consider steaming or stir frying your vegetables and if you boil them then use as little water as possible, but pay close attention that they do not boil dry.

Display your original fast foods attractively

How a food looks makes a big difference as to whether we choose to eat it, so be sure to make your fresh fruits and vegetables pleasing to the eye.

To learn more about the original fast foods, visit Michigan State University’s MI Fresh site. Here, you will find all sorts of tips and information on how to handle, cook and even preserve fresh fruits and vegetables.

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