Food is important to a rich and fulfilled life
It’s part of how we connect with our family and friends and enjoy life, as well as being key to nutrition and wellbeing. As we age, it’s important to keep an eye on how we prepare, cook and store our food. Here’s our tips for smart food habits to reduce your risk of food poisoning, cut down on waste and stay healthy as you age.
Preparing your food
A few simple habits can stop the spread of germs and the risk of food poisoning.
- Wash your hands before and after handling food — especially raw foods like meat and eggs
- Give fruit and veggies a quick rinse under running water
- Use separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked food — look for the colour-coded sets that separate cutting boards for meat, fish and vegetables
- Wash and dry cutting boards, utensils and work surfaces before and after you use them
- Defrost food from the freezer in the fridge or microwave — not the bench or sink
Less waste in the kitchen
It’s frustrating to throw food away, especially if you’re on a budget.
- Cook a batch of your favourite dish and freeze it for later - this can help if you’re adjusting to cooking for one
- Try buying less food more often — popping to the shop every day or two is a great way to get out and about
- If in doubt, throw it out — don’t risk your health if you’re not sure if something is still OK to eat
Cooked to perfection
Knowing when food is cooked helps to avoid any health issues.
- Cook meat like poultry, pork, mince and sausages until juices are clear
- Use a meat or food thermometer to check your food gets to 75 °C
- Eggs are cooked when the white is firm and yolk starts to thicken
Keep it chilled
Food poisoning bacteria can grow in food where the temperature is 5-60 °C.
- Keep perishable foods refrigerated at 5 °C or below
- Use your fridge foods first — and keep an eye on use-by dates
- Keep frozen products frozen solid
Storing your food
If shopping is difficult, plan ahead to buy in bulk and store your food safely.
- Store raw meat, chicken or fish in separate containers at bottom of fridge — not with your fruits and veggies
- Don’t store food in open cans — try a reusable cling cover or lid
- Look for foods you can store in the cupboard that have a long use-by date so you always have a backup plan of a nutritious meal — try canned and frozen foods such as soups, fruit and beans
If you need support with eating or nutrition click here to find out more about our food services.