Turkey dinner

Nutrition Notes: Enjoy Thanksgiving Safely

Katie Jones, Dietetic Intern

Gobble, gobble! Thanksgiving is just a few days away! With delicious dishes at the center of many Thanksgiving traditions, food safety is important during this food-filled holiday. Below is a food safety guide related to thawing, cooking and stuffing a turkey, as well as leftovers to help you and your family enjoy a safe and tasty holiday.

Thawing a Turkey: It is not safe to thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature. A turkey can be safely defrosted on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, submerged in cold water or in a microwave. Allow approximately 24 hours per 4-5 lbs. of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Allow 30 minutes per pound of turkey to thaw in cold water. Place turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag, submerge in cold water and change water every 30 minutes until thawed. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction when defrosting a turkey in the microwave.

Cooking a Turkey:
Set the oven to 325°F and cook turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F checking with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving. Approximate cooking times are as follows:

  •  8 – 12 lbs. 
    2 ¾ to 3 hrs. (3 to 3 ½ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 12 – 14 lbs. 
    3 to 3 ¾ hrs. (3 ½ to 4 hrs. if stuffed)
  • 14 – 18 lbs.
    3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hrs. (4 to 4 ¼ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 18 – 20 lbs.
    4 ¼ to 4 ½ hrs. (4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 20 – 24 lbs.
    4 ½ to 5 hrs. (4 ¾ to 5 ¼ hrs. if stuffed)

 
Stuffing a Turkey: For optimal food safety, do not cook the stuffing directly inside the turkey. Instead, cook stuffing separately in a casserole dish. If you do choose to stuff your poultry, be sure to frequently check the temperature with a food thermometer to ensure the temperature stays at 165°F.

Leftovers: Refrigerate cooked leftovers within 2 hours and consume within 3-4 days. Always reheat cooked leftovers to 165°F, checking with a food thermometer, and reheat sauces and gravies to a rolling boil.

This food safety information was derived from http://food.unl.edu/safety/thanksgiving-food-prep. Click on the link for more detailed instructions related to Thanksgiving food preparation and safety.

Looking for a fun Thanksgiving Day activity? Join us for the annual San Diego Run for the Hungry 5k & 10k, and support a good cause while burning a few calories before indulging in your favorite holiday dishes. There are still a few days left to register! Click on the link for more information: http://sdrunforthehungry.org/.

Healthy fats do exist!

Nutrition Notes: The Skinny on Fat

by Katie Jones, Dietetic Intern

It’s time to put an old myth to bed. Eating fat will not make you fat! Consuming an excess amount of any type of calories can lead to weight gain and related health concerns.

Fat is an essential nutrient required for normal body function and is an important part of a healthy diet. Generally, fat should make up 20 to 35% of your total daily calories. However, moderation is key! Fat provides nine calories per gram and small amounts add up quickly. When selecting foods, it is wise to choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. All fats are not created equal!

Incorporating healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, into your diet can decrease your risk of heart disease and promote heart health, whereas saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease and negatively affect your health. Foods high in healthy fats include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds and fish. Below are five tips to improve your fat intake and selection.

1. Use liquid plant-based oils for cooking and baking. Plant-based oils, such as olive or canola oil are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

2. Eliminate trans fat from your diet. Read food labels and choose foods that are trans fat free. Limit fried foods and baked goods that are often high in trans fat.

3. Switch from butter to soft margarine. Butter is high in saturated fat. Choose a product with zero grams of trans fat and no partially-hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.

4. Eat good sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Include fatty fish (such as salmon or albacore tuna), walnuts, canola oil and flax seeds in your diet regularly.

5. Limit red meat. Beef, pork, and lamb are high in saturated fat, eat these meats in moderation. Opt for leaner protein sources more often such as chicken, fish, beans, and nuts.

What is your recommended daily fat intake? Click on the following link, Health Calculator, for further guidance on your recommended daily fat intake that will match your diet and lifestyle.

Do you have any tasty recipes featuring a healthy fat? Share a picture or idea with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Nutrition Notes: Fall into Healthy Habits

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Cool crisp mornings, early dark nights… it seems that fall has crept up on us this year! Fall offers so many varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and it also marks the beginning of a long holiday season. Often times, we start eating more during this time, as well. It is important to keep our health in check during the cooler months and remember that fall foods offer great benefits to a balanced diet! Fall foods are packed with great nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that help keep our immune systems strong. Here are a few tips to incorporate some typical fall favorites (soups, stews, breads, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apples and greens) that are sure to keep the season tasty and healthy!

Fall back with a plan: With the clocks set back, it is important to remember that it will soon be getting dark earlier. This often means that there are less outdoor activity options in the evenings. Be prepared this year. Consider joining a gym, walking at a mall or well-lit area or you can even consider rising early to get some activity in before starting your day!

Soup’s on: Use this time to experiment in the kitchen. Soups are great meals that can be filled with hearty vegetables, and they are easy to throw in the crockpot so meals are ready for the week.

Snack attack savers: Football and new fall TV shows are in full swing which is often paired with snacks. Avoid overeating by portioning out snacks and have fruits and vegetables prepared and easily accessible for healthy snack options during the big game.

Make a plan to stay healthy this fall and winter season. Here are a few Quick & Easy Fall Recipes to inspire healthy eating during these cool months.