In tonight's Healthier Me, part of the fun of the holidays is eating a big family meal and enjoying the delicious leftovers, and following a few simple rules can keep your food safe.
For starters, make sure that you don't leave it sitting out longer than two hours, and you want to make sure to chill it appropriately as well; whether it's a turkey or a casserole, get it into the refrigerator quickly to keep bad bacteria from multiplying.
Put your food in airtight containers. Air fuels the bacteria, so you need to keep that air out.
The temperature of your refrigerator should be set below 40 degrees to ensure that the food will stay safe -- You may want to get a thermometer if your fridge does not have one.
When it's time to reheat the leftovers, bring the temperature back up to the same level needed when cooked the first time -- For example, you'll want to make sure the poultry is heated to at least 165 degrees.
Here's another tip on refreezing and reheating leftovers: it is safe to refreeze any food remaining after reheating, and it is likewise safe to reheat frozen leftovers without first thawing them; they just will take longer to heat up.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says leftovers should be consumed within 3 - 4 days, and if you have any concerns about safety, "if in doubt throw it out" is a good rule of thumb.