Handling raw meat
Chances are you’ve been invited to quite a few barbecues this year. Perhaps you’re even hosting your own. Those barbecues will certainly involve meat . However, each year, about 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A portion of those illnesses are due to handling raw meat and eating meat that has not been cooked thoroughly.
Prevent food poisoning at your summer barbecue by using a food thermometer to measure whether the meat has been cooked through. The internal temperature of whole meats should be 145 degrees F., and should rest for three minutes before carving or eating. An internal temperature of 160 degrees is necessary for ground meats, and 165 degrees for all poultry.
For more information on preventing foodborne illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Eating too many grilled meats
While we’re on the topic of grilling, it may be worth limiting the amount of meat consumed at these barbecues. Meat provides essential proteins but once the toppings are packed on a hot dog or hamburger, you may be getting more calories than you think. Substituting grilled vegetables or making healthy sides could make for a healthier barbecue.
Also, concern has been raised that certain chemicals involved in grilling may increase the risk of cancer, but the evidence is still unclear.
The worries stem from two substances that are released when meat is charred or burnt over very high heat and an open flame. While it’s uncertain at what amount these substances are dangerous, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends limiting exposure by grilling at lower temperatures and avoiding charring or browning.
Leaving foods out for too long
Warmer temperatures means that perishable food kept out of the refrigerator will not last quite as long. One way to keep foods fresh longer is to refrigerate them, or keep them in a cooler room. But what about refrigerated foods that are left out? How long can you leave the milk out before it spoils?
Do not keep perishable food out for more than two hours. It is important to keep hot foods at 140 degrees F or above and cold foods at 40 degrees F or below, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
This probably isn’t the first time you’re being told that drinking water is essential to keep healthy in the summer heat. While water is the best source of hydration, it’s not the only way. Certain fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber are also healthy and natural ways to quench thirst.
Not getting enough sleep
Longer days in the summer mean more daylight, which can really take a toll on getting enough sleep. But less nighttime is not the only sleep worry in the summer. You’re likely to wake up if the temperatures rise above 75 degrees or fall below 54 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Also, the kinds of foods and drinks consumed directly impact the ability to get some much needed shut eye. Consuming too much caffeine may help feel like it’s combatting your heat-related sluggishness, but it could steal away sleep.
Here are some nutrition tips to get enough uninterrupted hours of sleep:
Cut the caffeine.
Hungry before bed? Try eating foods rich in carbohydrate and protein, such as cereal with milk and peanut butter on toast as sleep-inducing snacks before bedtime.
Stay away from alcohol, which only provides temporary sleep relief.
For more tips on summer sleep , visit the Natinal Sleep Foundation’s website.