Making the most of your festive food

Last minute Christmas cancellations may have left you with more food than you expected this year – don’t forget your food safety training when you’re dealing with leftovers at home.

Storing in the fridge

  • Cool cooked foods quickly. Bring the temperature down within two hours by leaving covered food in a cool area, and then placing in the fridge.
  • Protect cooked food while storing. Keep cooked food well covered, ideally in plastic lidded storage boxes, and away from raw meats.
  • Check your fridge temperature. Make sure your fridge temperature is between 0-5°C and that is not overfilled as this will prevent cool air circulating properly.
  • Use cooked foods within three days of cooking.

Storing in the freezer

  • Cool cooked foods quickly. Bring the temperature down within two hours by leaving covered food in a cool area.
  • Wrap well and label with the contents and the date you place it in the freezer.
  • To defrost, use the microwave defrost setting, or place overnight in fridge, away from raw meats.
  • Ideally, use within three months, as the texture and flavour may start to deteriorate after this.

Reheating leftovers

The key point to remember when storing cooked food is to avoid the DANGER ZONE -that means keeping foods below 8°C or above 63°C, to minimise the chance of bacterial growth.

As long as you follow the rules for storing leftovers safely, they should be good to use up in a new meal. When you reheat, the food will be passing through the Danger Zone, so make sure your food is piping hot before you serve. With a food thermometer, you can check it reaches at least 70°C for two minutes, or 65°C for ten minutes.

To learn more about food safety, in the home or in a catering setting, why not take a Safer Food Group training course? All of our courses are available online, and can be accessed immediately after purchase with a credit or debit card. PDF certificates are available upon successful completion of the course assessment.

Eating well for a happy Christmas

We all know that what we eat plays a significant role in how we feel. So, how do we make the most of Christmas treats whilst still making our bodies feel good? Our nutritionist has given us some easy tips for food that helps us feel good over the festive period

Beat tiredness

Rescue the nut crackers from the back of the drawer; eating a wide variety of nuts and seeds is a great way to boost the nutrients that counteract fatigue and provide an energy lift, including potassium, iron, zinc, B vitamins and folate, and vitamin E. We know that nuts are high in calories – so nuts in shells, often sold in grocers and supermarkets at Christmas are a great choice – because they’re fiddly, you’ll be far more likely to stop after a few. As with any foods, make sure you’re aware of any allergies before you offer nuts to guests.

Keep everything moving

Festive overindulgence can be the cause of constipation, particularly if you are eating a lot of fatty and rich foods that your body is not accustomed to. To get everything moving again, turn to a Christmas dinner favourite that are full of fibre – Brussels Sprouts. You might not persuade the kids to eat these little bundles of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but that will leave even more for you to enjoy!

Stay calm

Let’s face it – we’ve not had an easy year, and for some of us the pressure to create a ‘perfect Christmas’ may feel overwhelming. Some nutrients have been shown to help reduce anxiety – including Omega-3 found in oily fish and Vitamin D found in eggs. So setting yourself up for the big day with a breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is not just a luxurious treat – it’s a sensible way to take care of yourself.

Fight the bugs

A strong immune system is key to battling the effects of seasonal viruses – and now it’s especially important to help your body look after itself. Look for festive favourite fruit to keep you fighting fit – the satsuma from your Christmas stocking is great, and so are cranberries, made into a home made sauce (not too much sugar!).

If you want to learn more about nutrition, including information on menu planning in a professional setting, have a look at our Level 2 Nutrition course. And from everyone at the Safer Food Group, we wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year.