Tag Archives: Stephanie Perruzza RD

Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Shares Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses

Posted on: August 28, 2014

Keeping Your Food Safe

By Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN

Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN Northern Westchester Hospital

Every year, one in six Americans (about 48 million) gets sick from foodborne illnesses and 128,000 are hospitalized, according to the Center of Disease Control. The good news is most foodborne illnesses can be prevented with simple food safety tips. September is National Food Safety Month, which focuses on the importance of increasing food safety awareness.

Children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are often more susceptible to foodborne illness. To reduce your risk, follow these simple steps:

 

Clean
• Clean your hands and all cooking surfaces (counters, utensils, cutting boards) with hot soapy water before preparing or eating meals
• Consider paper towels to clean surfaces; if you use cloth towels wash them often.
Cook
• Use a food thermometer to cook foods to proper internal temperatures, for example poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165°F and fish to 145°F.
• Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
Chill
• Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer 0°F or below to reduce risk of foodborne illness.
• Never defrost at room temperature.  Three safe methods to thaw are: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. If you are thawing in cold water or the microwave food must be cooked immediately.
Separate
• Separate raw items (poultry, seafood) from other food items in grocery bags and in your refrigerator. Store raw items on shelving below cooked or ready to eat items.
• Use separate cutting boards for items like fresh produce and raw meats. I find that color-coded cutting boards (green for veggies, red for meats) work best to help prevent cross-contamination.

Myth Busters:
Below are some common food safety myths:
MYTH: Glass or plastic cutting boards don’t hold harmful bacteria like wooden cutting boards do.
FACT: ALL cutting boards can be a breeding ground for bacteria regardless of type.  It’s important to wash and sanitize after each use. Solid plastic and glass are dishwasher safe; however, wooden don’t hold up very well. Once cutting boards become old with cracks and excessive knife scares it’s time to dispose.
MYTH: Rinsing my hands under running water kills germs.
FACT: Water with soap is the best way to wash your hands and remove harmful bacteria. Be sure to scrub both the front and back of your hands under running water. Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star twice (about 30 seconds) to ensure your hands are clean, dry with a clean MYTH: Pre-packaged produce does not need to be washed before eating.
FACT: Just because produce is pre-packaged doesn’t mean that it’s ready to eat. Ready the label to make sure it states, “ready to eat” or “triple washed,” if it does you’re good to go!

FightBac!® is a campaign created by a non-profit organization called Partnership for Food Safety Education. It aims at improving public health and food safety by bringing together health educators and other partnered organizations to increase awareness and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. For more information on food safety please check out the following credible websites:
www.FightBac.org
www.FoodSafety.gov
www.HomeFoodSafety.org

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Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Shares the Benefits of Berries

Posted on: July 22, 2014

Benefits of Berries
By Stephanie Perruzza

 

Berries are delicious and nutritious, packing a tasty and powerful punch in every bite.  They contain large amounts of antioxidants important in protecting against chronic disease; they are also low in calories!  Enjoy them fresh or frozen in your favorite dishes. Continue reading

Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Dishes Dairy

Posted on: June 20, 2014

National Dairy Month

By Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN

June marks the beginning of summer (it’s about time); but it’s also National Dairy Month!  The dairy group is an essential building block for a healthy diet and especially important for bone health. Do yourself a big favor and start the summer right by raising a big cold glass of…milk! Continue reading

picnic-basket

Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Discusses the Role of Food in Cancer Prevention

Posted on: April 22, 2014

The Shopping Basket: A Tool To Control Your Cancer Risk

By Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN

picnic-basketAs a dietitian, I am keenly aware of the impact that food and nutrition have on health and well-being, and I am truly passionate about educating others in this aspect. What you eat can also impact your cancer risk. Many of us have been affected by cancer in some way, and it’s empowering to know that eating a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on plant foods is one thing that you can do to help reduce your risk – and it’s easy to do, just grab a shopping basket.

Research shows that 1 in every 3 cancers is linked to poor diet and lack of physical activity. The guidelines for reducing your cancer risk are similar to that of reducing other chronic diseases.
1.    Fruits and vegetables. This includes non-starchy vegetables and the more variety the better to ensure you are getting an array of vitamins and antioxidants. Good options include tomatoes, beets, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, as well as berries, grapes, and citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges. “Eat the rainbow” every day and you’ll be sure to get a wide variety in your diet!
2.    Fiber-rich foods. In addition to fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as whole wheat breads or pastas, oatmeal, barley, brown rice to name a few contain ample amounts of fiber.  Beans and legumes are also a great source of fiber.
3.    Choose lean protein. Select chicken, fish, eggs and vegetable protein sources such as beans, legumes and unsalted nuts when possible. Limit your intake of red meats and if you do consume, choose leaner cuts that include the words “loin” or “round” and have smaller portions.
4.    Avoid saturated and trans fats. Full-fat dairy, cheese and processed food items like luncheon meats, bacon, sausage and snack foods contain saturated fats. When reading food labels look for and avoid partially-hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list.
5.    Limit sodium. Canned products such as soups and vegetables are often high in sodium. Look for low-sodium soup varieties, and rinsing canned vegetables before use can reduce the sodium content by about 40%.

In addition to focusing on diet, there are a few other factors to keep in mind:
•    Maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk for cancer if you are overweight or obese. Together, engaging in regular exercise and making healthy food choices can help with weight control.
•    Limit Alcohol. Studies have shown that consuming alcohol in excess can increase your risk of certain types of cancers. Limit your intake to no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two per day for men, preferably with a meal.
•    Exercise Regularly. Aim to get 30 minutes each day or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week as a general goal.
•    Avoid Tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco has been linked to various types of cancer specifically oral cavity and lung. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

Editor’s Note: Nutrition consultation is also part of Northern Westchester Hospital’s Health & Wellness Program. The Health and Wellness Program is designed to support our patients in parallel to their medical treatment plan after they receive a diagnosis of cancer. Patients of NWH physicians have access to the Program at no charge.

Northern Westchester Hospital Registered Dietitian Offers Ideas to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

Posted on: March 26, 2014

The Taste of Eating Right

March 26, 2014

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The Registered Dietitians at Northern Westchester Hospital want to encourage everyone to celebrate by focusing on making healthy food choices!  Specifically, by keeping this year’s theme in mind: “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

Most consumer research has shown that individuals are likely to choose foods that taste good, healthy or not; as dietitians, we completely understand – we eat what tastes best.  Spend some extra time enjoying your meal choices by combining flavors and nutritious foods to build a healthy plate. Continue reading