Meal prepping is like a gift from your culinary fairy godmother, fulfilling your wishes of convenience, deliciousness, and, if done right, a healthy lifestyle. But while you’re busy being a kitchen wizard cooking up a storm in your cauldron, don’t forget about the crucial element of food safety. We’re here to sprinkle some fairy dust on your meal prep game and keep it fun and fabulous!
Wash Your Hands, Darling:
The best way to avoid cross-contamination and unnecessary spoilage is working wth clean tools! Before you dive into your meal prep adventure, channel your hygeine freak and give those hands a good wash. Clean hands are your first line of defense against unwanted guests like bacteria and germs.
Labels are Important!
In the world of meal prep, your fridge is basically a dating show for ingredients. Give each contestant (read: leftovers) a label with the date on which you brought them home. This way, you can make sure no one overstays their welcome, or creates a food safety fiasco.
In keeping with the dating theme, your fridge should be the coolest place in town for your food to hang out. Make sure you maintain a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. Keep those perishables cool and collected, and don’t overcrowd the fridge – so that each dish can have its moment in the spotlight.
Containers: Mix, Match, and Keep it Tight:
Your tupperware, your territory! Curate a container collection that rivals a wardrobe filled with fabulous outfits, with lids that fit perfectly! Opt for a variety of sizes and materials, but make sure they all have airtight lids. No one likes a container that can’t keep a secret!
The Temperature Tango:
No one like a cold meal, but repeatedly heating and cooling your food can make it go bad, ahead of its time. When reheating, ensure that your dishes reach a safe internal temperature, typically 165°F (74°C). Dancing with undercooked food is not a flavour flamenco you want to partake in!
If you’re taking a frozen dish out of retirement, make sure to do it in style! Improper defrosting can lead to food going bad, so it’s important to do it right! The safest methods are in the fridge, submerged in cold water, or using the microwave’s defrost setting. No improvisational defrosting, please!
Avoid Cross-Contamination Couture:
In the world of food safety, cross-contamination is a major fashion faux pas. These major mix-ups can not only make good food go bad, but can leave you in a less than healthy state. Keep raw meats in their own corner signed and sealed, far away from ready-to-eat items. And remember, no sharing of cutting boards or utensils unless they’ve had a proper cleanse!
Mask Up, Chef:
We live in the 21st Century P.C. (Post Covid) where even your veggies need masks! While prepping your meals, espcially if you’re cooking for people other than yourself, make sure to keep your mouth covered. It is imperative to practice good hygiene by wearing gloves and a mask when handling food, especially if you’re not feeling your best.
Love Your Leftovers:
Your leftovers deserve some extra love. Reheat them to the safe temperature mentioned earlier, and they’ll be ready for an encore performance! It’s always best to finish off leftovers before you move on to something new. This way, you can keep the fruits of your hard work from going bad, and avoid unnecessary wastage.
The Sniff Test Guarantee:
When in doubt, put on your sniff test stilettos, and give your meal-to-be a big sniff. If something smells off or looks dodgy, trust your instincts and bid it adieu. Your gut knows best!
Meal Prep Magique:
Meal prep can be a delightful journey towards a healthier, more convenient lifestyle. But keep in mind that while having fun in the kitchen, food safety must always be a priority. It’s like your food’s invisible glam squad behind the scenes, ensuring your culinary show is a hit without any backstage drama. So, go forth, meal prep maestro, and keep it fresh, fabulous, and food-safe!