Thanksgiving is an exciting time of year. From the delicious food to time spent with family and friends, it is a holiday that many look forward to. As you begin to make your Thanksgiving Day plans, make sure you remind yourself of key things that will make it a safe and healthy holiday. From menu items and properly cooking foods, to utensils, allergies, and the physical tasks of the day, be sure to take advantage of these tips from your local wellness center in Denver.
Healthy Menu Items and Indulging
Did you know that Americans can consume up to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving? This can be over 2,000 calories or more than what the average person should eat in one day. It is important to remind mix in healthy foods along with the indulgences to ensure you do not go overboard with your plate. A great way to do this is to have healthy menu swaps. For instance, change out a sugar filled sweet potatoes recipe to cubed butternut squash that is tossed in oil and sprinkled with cinnamon. Place it in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes, or until crispy. Next, if you can brave taking mashed potatoes filled with butter off the menu, try this cheesy cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe
. It has 61 calories per serving as opposed to over 200 calories. When you find swaps such as these for some of your favorite recipes, you can indulge a little more without packing in as many calories.
Cook Food Properly
If you will be responsible for any of your Thanksgiving menu items, make sure you are cooking food properly. Food that is not cooked to temperature that ranges from 40 to 140 degrees, is in the “danger zone.” The danger zone creates an environment in food that encourages bacteria growth. Different foods have different temperatures they must be cooked to, based on the USDA’s guidelines to avoid the danger zone
To ensure you reach these temperatures, keep a few thermometers handy when cooking. When taking temperatures, make sure to clean the probe off after use. Never use the same thermometer on another item without washing it as it can create cross-contamination. You will also need to do this when cooking different foods and avoid using the same cutting board, knives, etc. on different foods without cleaning them.
- 140 degrees: Ham
- 145 degrees: Beef, pork, lamb, veal, roast, steak or chops
- 160 degrees: Eggs, ground beef
- 165 degrees: Poultry, stuffing, casseroles, reheated leftovers
Make sure you avoid injuries in the kitchen by using caution when cooking and preparing food. When cutting and slicing, always slice away from your hand. Cut on a cutting board and make sure items are secure. Next, use caution around hot items. Burns are one of the top injuries sustained when cooking a Thanksgiving meal. Have plenty of oven mitts and pot holders available to easily transport items in and out of the oven. Lay out trivets too that will allow you to set aside items to protect your counters. If you think you may struggle pulling the turkey out of the oven, ask for help! A busy kitchen is also susceptible to fires. Avoid leaving towels or other items near an open flame.
Also, never leave anything you are cooking in the kitchen unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher on-site in the event of an emergency. If there is a fire, use the fire extinguisher and not water. Why? If it is a grease fire, you can actually make the situation much worse. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, try to find a lid that will fit over the pot or areas that is on fire. This can suppress the flames since they need oxygen. This is the same thing for a fire inside an oven. Make sure the door is shut and turn it off. In some cases, baking soda can also help. If you have a fire that quickly becomes out of control, evacuate everyone immediately and call the fire department.
Food Allergy Awareness
When cooking a Thanksgiving meal, check with your guests to see if they have any food allergies. If anyone does, it is important to avoid cross-contamination. This is when you would use the same cooking utensils for different foods. For instance, if someone has an allergy to poultry, do not use the same knife and cutting board to cut ham. If anyone else will be bringing items to your Thanksgiving meal, inform them of any guest food allergies as well. Your guests with food allergies will be used to working with menus, so you will not need to revamp your entire plan for them. Just be sure to have items they can have and properly cook food.
Handling Thanksgiving Day preparations can be tasking! You are on your feet all day, lifting heavy items, moving furniture, and much more. When you will be on your feet all day, make sure you add support to your shoes. You can find shoe inserts at your local convenience store. Next, make sure you maintain proper posture throughout the day. This will help you to avoid upper or lower back pain. When standing, make sure your head is not slouched over and keep your feet shoulder-length apart. Keep your shoulders pulled back. When lifting, always lift by bending your knees. Remember to lift with your legs. You run the risk of injury when bending over to lift a heavy object.
Cherry Creek Wellness Center can help you prepare for your Thanksgiving physical tasks. Many assume physical therapy is just to help heal an injury, which is untrue! Our team can help you with pro-active methods to prevent an injury down the road. We can also help with massages after your long day of cooking and eating. Learn about our four different methods of massage therapy you can get at your wellness center in Denver
. To get started, set up an appointment today by calling 303-333-3493.