‘Umeke

Providing the people of Hawaii with healthy alternatives in dining, catering, nutrition and wellness.


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Caring for your Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable Grocery BagSalmonella? E. coli? You betcha!

As our State transitions from providing paper and plastic bags at the grocery store it’s important to know how to care for your reusable grocery bags. Most of us already use reusable bags on a regular basis, so this information may or may not be new to you.

According to Foodsafety.gov, “The fabric or materials in reusable grocery bags can get contaminated with germs like Salmonella or E. coli from food or other items. These germs could then cross-contaminate other food or items we carry in the reusable bag and make us sick.” YIKES!!!

Here are a few tips to ensure you, your family and your foods are safe:

  1. Wash often – Wash cloth bags in the washer (dry in dryer or air-dry) and scrub plastic lines ones (air-dry) with detergent. Make sure they are completely dry before you store them for the next use.
  2. Storage – Living in Hawaii, it’s hot and humid so store your bags in a cool, dry place, not your car, to prevent bacterial growth.
  3. Keep ‘um separated – Put your meats in those plastic disposable bags found in the produce or meat section to keep any leakage contained. Bring enough reusable bags to the store to keep your produce, meats and ready-to-go foods separated.
  4. Single-function – Bags are so multi-functional we put clothes, baby stuff (diapers), tools, etc. in them, but please use your grocery bags only for groceries to prevent cross-contamination.

 

Photo credit: http://bondwithkarla.com/reusable-shopping-bags/

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It’s Greek to me

Greek YogurtAs far as trends go, it’s all about the Greek. It seems that every conventional yogurt brand now has a Greek version, and with so many options out there, how do you know which one to get?

We came across this great article in the Better Homes and Gardens, June 2013 issue, which gives a little insight into choosing the right Greek yogurt. Besides the health benefits such as reducing LDL cholesterol, preventing hypertension, Greek yogurt is high in protein, probiotic, and low calorie and sugar snack (if you get the plain flavor.) According to the article, not all Greek yogurts are made equally.

Greek-style yogurt is made by straining out the liquid whey, lactose and sugar, which gives this yogurt a creamer, thicker consistency. “But some brands achieve that texture with fillers like gelatin, cornstarch, or milk protein concentrate.”

The article also mentions that “some brands of yogurt are treated with high heat to prolong their shelf life, a process that kills beneficial microbes.” Look for brands with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now requires a disclosure on those varieties that have been “heat-treated after culturing.”

So please look at the labels in selecting your Greek-style yogurt, you may not be getting what you pay for.