In the event you meal plan and prep, then you need to learn about meals security! Right here’s your meal planning meals security information.

Do you know that one in six People could get sick from meals poisoning per yr? Not solely can it trigger hospitalizations, however it might affect long-term well being from the extra excessive instances inflicting kidney failure, nerve harm, arthritis, and in some instances dying. (1)

Okay, okay, to not scare you with that statistic but it surely does educate you the significance of meals security at dwelling. One of the incessantly requested questions I get with purchasers or with new members of our Grasp Meal Planning program neighborhood is about maintaining meals protected whereas doing meal prep.

Spoiler alert! Sure, you possibly can meal plan whereas sustaining meals integrity and most significantly the protection of your meals from micro organism (meals sickness) and cross contamination simply by following these fundamental meals security ideas.

What Is Meal Planning?

We’ve coated this many instances on — in a nutshell, meal planning is a system (there are various methods to do it) the place you put together meals prematurely for the week forward. The motivation and objective behind meal planning are to assist prevent time, cash, power, and cook dinner and eat healthfully.

I’ve nice expertise on this personally and professionally after creating one of many main and first dietitian-approved and dietitian-created packages referred to as the Grasp Meal Planning program years in the past, and we’ve helped hundreds make cooking and wholesome consuming easy!

What Is Meals Security?

The important thing steps for sustaining meals security is about 4 key rules from correct cleansing, storage, cooking or reheating, and chilling. Let’s dive in:


This goes with out saying, however begin any meal prep session with washing your palms with heat water, cleaning soap, for at the least 30 seconds. Then transfer onto cleansing your fruit and veggies — cleansing your fruit and veggies ought to actually happen previous to storing them within the fridge.

Make certain you retain your kitchen clear! It’s not simply aesthetically pleasing and extra purposeful, it’s protected. Remember to clear all of your work surfaces within the kitchen between steps of your meal prep, particularly should you’re prepping greens one minute and transferring onto animal proteins. It’s crucial you clear these surfaces and all utensils concerned.

It’s additionally really useful that after a meal prep session, sanitize your kitchen working areas. That could possibly be with a steam cleaner, DIY vinegar primarily based resolution with alcohol, or any disinfectant you select that’s protected for counter tops/consuming areas.


Now you’ve an excuse to purchase extra cute, purposeful reducing boards and utensils! Ideally, you wish to use separate reducing boards and utensils for various kinds of meals — a set for animal proteins like poultry and one other for greens and fruits. This could be a big line of protection for stopping cross-contamination.

Whenever you’re grocery purchasing, be sure you retailer your produce individually from animal proteins — it may be so simple as utilizing a reusable bag (that you simply wash every time) to wrap the animal proteins in, utilizing a basket inside the cart to carry your animal proteins, and so forth.

One other big tip is the group of your fridge! Right here’s how your fridge ought to look, it goes from the bottom cooking temperature wanted to highest:

  1. Prime shelf: pre-made gadgets like condiments, leftovers, able to eat, and so forth.
  2. Prime-middle cabinets: 135 levels F vegetable and different produce
  3. Center shelf: 145 levels F seafood, eggs
  4. Center-bottom cabinets: 155 levels F floor or marinated meats
  5. Backside cabinets: 165 levels F poultry, beforehand cooked casseroles or cooked gadgets (some meal prep issues will go right here too)

Comply with the FIFO methodology

First in, first out. Utilizing gadgets that you simply first put in, needs to be both used first and/or thrown out first if not consumed. Throw away something that smells off, that’s been within the fridge longer than the popular storage time, if it’s been disregarded of the fridge for greater than 2 hours, and so forth. When doubtful, simply throw it out!

Along with utilizing this methodology, be certain you’re labeling your containers so what date you place them within the fridge or you possibly can label than with the date they should be consumed by — or thrown away by. No matter date schedule works for you, simply keep it up.

Prepare dinner

You realize that random meals thermometer in your kitchen drawer, yeah, it has a objective! Most of us don’t cook dinner with meals thermometers, but it surely’s actually essential to be sure to’re cooking meals correctly and with sufficient time — particularly in the event that they’re animal proteins.

Maintain scorching meals scorching

Maintain meals scorching after cooking it at 140 levels F with a warming tray, a sluggish cooker, or a warming dish should you’re serving it at a celebration or for a few hours. As a result of micro organism thrive when meals begins to chill, it’s essential to maintain it scorching or correctly cool the meals earlier than storing.

In the event you’re reheating a meal prepped meals merchandise or casserole, and so forth. simply portion out the quantity you wish to eat, cook dinner it, and luxuriate in.


A straightforward rule to comply with is the rule of two’s. If the meals is perishable, don’t let it sit out of the fridge or chilly temperatures for greater than 2 hours and in addition if the meals is scorching, make certain it’s refrigerated inside that 2-hour window — that’s the cutoff level.

At all times marinate or thaw meals in a food-safe container, by no means simply on the countertop! As a result of micro organism thrive at room temperature, having meals sit out on the countertop to thaw could be a breeding floor for micro organism. At all times thaw in a food-safe container, within the fridge which takes a while, within the microwave, or below chilly operating water.

Maintain chilly meals chilly

Fridge temperature needs to be 41 levels F or decrease. Freezer temperature needs to be at or beneath zero levels F — simply use a thermometer inside every unit to take care of.

Take a look at this useful information on storage period of sure sorts of gadgets, you’ll discover many of those are animal proteins or embrace animal proteins which have a shorter storage time than vegan or plant-based meals.

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