BLOG: One of the best ways to practice portion control over the holidays is the promise of leftovers. Keep in mind that your second (or third!) serving of turkey will taste just as good, or even better, as a hot turkey sandwich the next day.
However, the key to making the most of your holiday leftovers is to use them quickly. In fact, most foods are only stored safely in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. This is especially true of the minimally processed foods in your Thanksgiving recipes, as they do contain preservatives or other additives to increase storage time.
How then, can you ensure safe leftovers when preparing a fresh meal?:
- Enjoy family time after the meal, but return food to the refrigerator within two hours of serving.
- Clear space in the refrigerator to store leftovers before the big day.
- Keep the refrigerator temperature between 34-40F.
- Divide leftovers and send some home with guests.
- Store food in shallow dishes to decrease cooling time. Have plenty of these containers ready before the meal begins.
- Always reheat leftovers to 165F before serving.
- Always remove leftover stuffing from the turkey and store it in a separate container.
- Freeze foods that will not be eaten with 4-5 days.
-Christine Sloat MS, RD, CDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition from The Sage Colleges in Troy. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.