Maintaining a healthy diet is essential, not only to feel good, but also for your children to grow healthy and strong by ingesting all the nutrients they need.
But when we talk about healthy eating, we also refer to a particular point that we often do not take into account: hygiene in the kitchen. In order for your family to enjoy a healthy and quality diet, it is essential to cook responsibly.
Hygiene in the kitchen is not simply keeping the space where you will cook clean, but being careful in the way you wash, handle and cook food. Today we give you some tips for a responsible kitchen. This way you will be able to be calm when it comes to cooking for your children.
Why is it important to maintain hygiene in the kitchen?
Being careful when preserving and preparing food is essential to maintain its nutritional quality and avoid possible health risks for your family.
Sometimes small carelessness in handling food can lead to illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites, such as the famous (and feared) gastroenteritis and salmonellosis. During the hottest months is when there is more food danger, as the risk of development of microorganisms is greater.
It is time to extreme hygiene in the kitchen and to be extremely careful when handling food. Without a doubt, it is the best thing you can do to prevent food-borne diseases.
Tips for a Responsible Kitchen
A clean, shiny kitchen
Before you start cooking, make sure your kitchen is clean and shiny. Food stains and splashes, grease and oil, and other debris that can be deposited on countertops, laundry drains and walls can become sources of infection. Try to keep your kitchen clean on a regular basis to avoid risks.
A clean and tidy pantry
The pantry should be at a height, away from the floor, and in a cool, ventilated place, preferably away from the oven. To store food properly, store it at about 17 degrees, tightly closed (if open, place loops or clips to close them) and away from sources of heat and humidity. Check food labels for storage recommendations and make sure they are not outdated.
Litter bin with lid
It seems obvious, but it’s not. The trash can should be located away from the food and preferably have a lid to avoid the multiplication of germs and their transfer to the food.
Before you start cooking, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry with a clean cloth. When cooking with children, teach them to wash their hands before and during the process, as well as to be extremely careful when handling food.
Washing food well
It is extremely important to wash food properly, especially those that you intend to serve raw. Lettuce, spinach, chard and other vegetables are the most complex at the time of washing as their hygiene must be done leaf by leaf.
Take your time to carry it out because, if you do not clean every nook and cranny well, you can ingest bacteria that generate gastrointestinal diseases. Always devote time and attention to washing vegetables and fruits. It’s the only way to make sure they’re clean before ingesting them!
Cooking food properly
Microorganisms have difficulty growing at temperatures above 55ºC or below 5ºC, so don’t hesitate and cook your food well. Especially when you cook large pieces of fish, red meat, poultry and eggs, make sure they reach that temperature inside too.
Be especially careful when cooking in the microwave as cooking can be done unevenly, overcooking the outside of the food, without completely heating the inside.
Store food in the refrigerator
Even the cooked ones should be kept in the fridge. Many times we make the mistake of leaving cooked food out of the fridge. Keep in mind that, especially in hot weather, pathogens multiply very quickly at room temperature and can spoil food in just over 2 hours. However, an excess of time in the refrigerator (approximately more than 3 days) can also be dangerous when it comes to eating food.
Defrosting little by little
If you want to defrost food, do it little by little. Ideally, take them out of the fridge the night before and leave them in the fridge until they thaw. Not only is microwave defrosting not regular, but it can also cook some part of the food, causing bacterial growth and eventually making us sick.
If you use the microwave to defrost, always do it with the option of defrosting and little by little, to avoid the proliferation of bacteria. Another tip: quickly cook thawed meats, chickens, seafood and fish to “kill” possible bacteria as soon as possible.
You’re probably wondering what cross-contamination is. Well, have you ever cut chicken on a board and then used the same knife and board to cut vegetables?
Imagine that the chicken has microbes, don’t you think they can get from it to the vegetables through the kitchen utensils? Use different cooking utensils whenever you can to cut fruits, vegetables and raw meats.
If that’s not possible because you only have a board and a sharp cutting knife, wash the utensils between uses, and in the case of the board, use each side for an activity. Remember to change the kitchen towels if you use them after handling raw foods or if they have become stained during cooking. Caution first and foremost 😉 . The popular saying goes “better safe than sorry” and there is nothing more true.