KRON 4 | Tailgating 101: How to Party and Picnic Safely

Football and baseball are synonymous with tailgate parties, cooking outdoors, and picnics. That means you’ll need to pay special attention to menu planning, preparation, and safe food handling practices. Since you’re without a refrigerator and running water, here’s how to keep your food safe all day.

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What to Pack

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  1. Lots of clean utensils for preparing and serving safely cooked food.
  2. Insulated coolers to keep food protected and cold OR hot.
  3. A meat thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are cooked at high enough temperatures to destroy harmful bacteria and foods are reheated to safe-to-eat temperatures.
  4. fridge and freezer thermometer for coolers.
  5. An oven thermometer for hot insulators.
  6. An instant-read thermometer for reheating leftovers.
  7. Clean, wet, disposable cloths, hand sanitizer, and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
  8. Disposable gloves for cleaning or touching raw meat.
  9. Smaller containers or foil for leftovers.
  10. Water for cleaning.

Danger Zone for Cold Foods – Above 40ºF

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Fridge and Freezer Thermometer
  • Place a fridge and freezer thermometer in your cooler. Be sure your food stays at 40ºF or below.
  • Cold food should be stored in a well-chilled cooler.
  • Do not leave the food out for more than two hours (one hour if weather is above 90ºF).
  • Keep food in the shade and out of the sun.
  • Keep perishable cooked food, such as luncheon meat, cooked meat, chicken, and potato/pasta salads “refrigerator cold”, so keep it next to the ice.

Danger Zones for Hot Foods – Below 140ºF

  • Do NOT partially cook meat or poultry at home ahead of time, then transport the half-cooked food to the party/picnic. Doing so allows harmful bacteria to thrive and multiply.
  • Hot foods like chili, soup and stew need to stay hot (140ºF or above).
  • Eat hot food within two hours.
  • To transport and store piping hot foods, use an insulated container* like a cooler.
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Your cooler can become a hot insulator.

*How to prepare a hot insulator:

  1. Heat up some hot bricks. Wrap them in heavy-duty foil first, then heat up in a 300 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, warm up your insulator (e.g., a cooler):  Fill it with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, and empty.
  3. Place newspaper and brown paper grocery bags on the bottom to insulate.
  4. Add your hot bricks.
  5. Oven thermometerLine the insulator with thick towels to further insulate and prevent melting the plastic if inserting a hot pot off the stove.
  6. Place an oven thermometer in the insulator to ensure it stays hot enough.
  7. Keep the insulated container closed and the food should stay hot (140º or above) for the whole game.

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How to Cool Large Pots of Hot Food

If you’re cooking hot food the night before (e.g., a pot of chili), it needs to be refrigerated after cooking. WARNING: Food needs to chill quickly to avoid bacteria growth during the cooling process. To do so, separate into smaller containers and set the containers in an ice bath. When cool, refrigerate.

Handling Raw Meat, Poultry and Fish

    • Cooking raw meat is risky unless all food handlers are diligent about keeping utensils, hands and surfaces clean to prevent cross-contamination.

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  • If transporting perishable raw meat (e.g., hamburger patties, sausages, chicken, fish), place it in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of ice.
  • Wrap raw meat securely to prevent juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat food. Ideally, keep these raw foods in a separate cooler.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure internal cooking temperatures.
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Use a meat thermometer when cooking raw meat.

Remember… a cooler is not a refrigerator. Keep the most perishable items next to the ice.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, roasts, and chops (145ºF)
  • Ground meats (160ºF)
  • Poultry (165ºF)
  • Leftovers (165ºF)

NOTE! If cooking marinated raw meat at the tailgate site, be sure not to reuse the marinade unless it’s boiled first to destroy harmful bacteria. Be sure cooked food is placed on a clean platter free of any raw meat juices.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you can’t keep the food hot while transporting it to the picnic/tailgate party site, cook the food the night before, and cool it in the refrigerator. On the day of the party/picnic, pack the food in a well-chilled cooler and reheat it to 165ºF on a camping stove.

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KRON 4 | What Would Happen If You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t eat fruit. It has too much sugar.” Are you worried about blood sugar spikes? If so, you might want to rethink your fructose fears.

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Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are known to have adverse side effects, but what about the sugar found naturally in fruit and fruit juice? Can you eat too much fruit? Today I chatted with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and broke down the facts on fruit.

Fruit, Table Sugar, and High Fructose Corn Syrup — What’s the difference?

  • Table sugar and its synthetic sister, high fructose corn syrup are made up of two molecules: glucose + fructose, a.k.a. “industrial fructose”. 
  • Fruits contain “naturally-occurring” fructose. (Fructose is one of the three building blocks of carbohydrates.)
  • Industrial fructose is linked to hypertension, belly fat, high triglycerides, and liver disease.

Is Eating Too Much Fruit (Fructose) Bad for You?

Per a University of Eastern Finland study, possible reasons that fruit and fruit juice did not spike blood sugar:

1. Fruit had a more solid consistency: Thickness in a fruit puree may slow digestion vs. gulping down pure sugar water (e.g., soda).

2. Fruit contains soluble fiber: Soluble fiber forms a thick gel in the intestines which slows the breakdown of sugars. Fructose is bound to the fiber, so it does not absorb as quickly.

3. Fruit contains phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals: “Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats and thus, provide protection in humans. Phytonutrients slow sugars traveling from the intestines into the blood stream.

Eat Berries to Slow Blood Sugar Spikes

Low-fiber starches (e.g., white bread, white pasta, white flour pretzels, instant oatmeal, corn flakes, and soda crackers) will also spike your blood sugar.

Per another study with starches (white and rye bread) eaten with various berry combinations, the berries suppressed the blood sugar and insulin spikes. So if you eat a starchy, low fiber food on occasion, be sure to eat berries.

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What Would Happen if You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?    

Continue reading “KRON 4 | What Would Happen If You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?”

KRON 4 | How to Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

You eat all the right foods — big leafy salads, bean soups, salmon, oatmeal and other whole grains — but you still can’t lose weight and worse yet, you may have even tacked on some extra pounds. Here’s why HOW you eat is just as critical as WHAT you eat to shed those stubborn pounds.

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Eat instinctively, that is, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

‘Reach and Eat’ Behavior

Reach and eat behavior is mindless eating. It’s automatic. You eat without asking yourself, “Am I hungry?” or “Am I full?”.

‘Reach and Eat’ triggers: 

  • Walking past a vendor on the street
  • Driving by a burger drive-through
  • Passing a bowl of candies or food samples
  • Walking into the office snack room
  • Stopping at a gas station convenience store

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Use ‘The Hunger Scale’ to Lose Weight (a.k.a. How to Stop Dieting)

Losing weight requires two key fundamental habits:

  1. Recognizing your own levels of hunger and fullness (satiety)
  2. Acting on your body’s hunger and satiety signs

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The Plus Side to Using The Hunger Scale

You decide what and how much to eat and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Instead of focusing on external cues (i.e., being told what you should eat), you get to focus on your own internal cues (i.e., your level of hunger/fullness, cravings).

As a baby or toddler, you likely ate naturally when you were hungry, and stopped when you were comfortably full. Use “The Hunger Scale” as an easy tool to help re-learn how to eat. Master it, and you can lose weight without “dieting”.

The Hunger Scale

Tune out those external cues, such as what to eat and when to eat. Instead, listen to your own feelings by practicing ‘The Hunger Scale’ habit.

Don’t wait this long to eat…

1 Ravenous — “I’m starving!” Dizzy, weak, nauseous, shaky. You’re so hungry you’ll eat anything.

2 Uncomfortably Hungry — Lots of stomach growling. You are over-hungry and pre-occupied with hunger. You’re irritable, have low energy and a headache. Feel like ordering everything on the menu.

Eat now, then stop…

3 Very Hungry Stomach is beginning to growl. You have hunger pangs. The urge to eat is strong.

4 A Little Hungry — Beginning to feel hungry. It’s time to think about what to eat, but you can wait to eat.

5 Neutral (Neither Full Nor Hungry) — “My mind is on things other than food.”

6 Satisfied and Light — “I could eat more but…”. You are pleasantly full.

Stop eating before this point…

7 Full — Feel slightly uncomfortable. You won’t be hungry for 3 to 4 hours.

8 Very Full — Feel stuffed. Need to unbutton your pants. You don’t want anything else. “I ate more than I needed to.”

9 Very Uncomfortably Full Feel heavy. Thanksgiving full. Your stomach aches.

10 Painfully Full Feel so full you may be sick (binge fullness).

Stay in the range of No. 3 (Very Hungry) to No. 6 (Satisfied and Light). When you do, you’ll lose weight AND feel more energetic.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Become an “intuitive” eater by becoming reacquainted with your hunger and satiety signals. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly. Changing an eating behavior is not easy, so give yourself lots of time to practice The Hunger Scale habit.

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ABC 10 | Healthy Valentine’s Day!

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A healthy Valentine’s Day? Oxymoron, you say? It IS possible to healthify your V-Day eats and sweeten the deal with some fun food that your little darlings will enjoy. Here’s what was on the menu when I was on ABC10 yesterday as their recurring health expert. Get your kids and grandkids involved — this is when they can play with their food!

On the menu:

Cocoa Cupcakes: What makes these so moist? Cooked beets! Also, flaxseeds and chunks of pecans and give them an added boost of healthy fat and the dark cocoa provides powerful antioxidants. Contains whole wheat flour and NO dairy or eggs.

Razzberry Choco-mole: Move aside guacamole. Dark cocoa meets avocado for a decadent, smooth and creamy sweet treat. Blended with both fresh and frozen raspberries for a tart undertone. Does not contain dairy or eggs.

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Apple Heart Sandwiches: A sandwich kids will love to make. Slice apples horizontally then cut out the center with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Layer an apple slice with creamy nut butter, currants, muesli, and sunflower seeds, then top with an apple slice for a ‘hearty’ sandwich!

Chocolate Cups with Lemon-illa Filling: Dark chocolate cups are made lovingly by hand 😘 and filled with Greek cream cheese. The filling is flavored with fresh lemon zest, Mexican vanilla, and a touch of honey. Top with a fresh strawberry “heart”. Greek cream cheese contains half the fat and four times the protein than low-fat cream cheese.

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Hearty Green Salad:  A power blend of baby greens (Swiss chard, kale, and spinach) is topped with heart-shaped red peppers, cucumbers, and XO’s (cut from mozzarella and cheddar cheeses).

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Rosemary Red Hearts: Red potatoes are cut into hearts and roasted with rosemary, freshly ground pepper, sea salt, and smoked paprika.

Hibiscus Berry Smoothie: Red delicious apples, banana, frozen raspberries and strawberries, and cashew milk yogurt are blended in a base of hibiscus tea. Does not contain dairy.

Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO ♥

KRON 4 | Is Too Much Protein Aging You?

VIDEO:  You resolved to work out and build a better, stronger body this year. You’ve probably heard the regulars at the gym talk about the protein shakes they drink after a workout to pack on more muscle. Protein drinks are on the rise and generating huge profits, but do you know how much protein you actually need and that TOO much can age you? Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” talks with me for some answers.

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Protein is an important component of your diet and is necessary to build and maintain all types of body tissue, such as your skin, neurons, organs, and muscle. (Your heart is a muscle too.)

Here’s how to determine your protein needs per day.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a medical condition, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes or cancer, it’s essential to consult a registered dietician for your specific dietary requirements. Some dietitians specialize in kidney disease (renal dietician) or cancer (oncology dietician).

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Protein Math

To determine your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 165 pounds, your weight in kilograms (kg) is 165 divided by 2.2 = 75 kg.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Is Too Much Protein Aging You?”