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Elder Care Tips: Canned Food Safety

January 28th, 2016

Elder Care in Juno Beach, FL

Elder-Care-in-Juno-Beach-FLGiving your aging loved ones the nutrition that they need to stay healthy and strong is one of the most important elements of your elder care journey with your aging parents, and if you are like many family caregivers, canned food is one of the best tools in your arsenal for ensuring that you can give your seniors healthy, delicious meals that do not take all day for you to prepare. Canned foods are some of the best values in the grocery store and offer a wide variety of foods that are already prepared and even cooked so that you can quickly add them to your favorite recipes. Because canned fruits and vegetables are harvested and packaged at their peak, they also offer exceptional nutrition that makes a broad range of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber more easily accessible even when your favorite produce is not in season.

With all of the benefits canned food can give your parents, it is important to remember that food safety applies just as much to canned food as it does to any other type of food product that you introduce into your parents' diet. Keeping these safety tips in mind will reduce the chances of foodborne illness and other contaminants, and ensure that you parents get the most benefit out of the canned foods in their diet.

Use these tips to keep your parent safe and healthy when eating canned foods:
• Know the storage guidelines. There is a perception that canned foods last forever, but that is not the case. In reality, canned foods have expiration dates just like any other foods, though they tend to be much longer than other foods. Acidic foods such as tomatoes and pineapple have a shorter shelf life, needing to be eaten or disposed of within about 18 months of packaging. Less acidic foods can last up to four years. Be sure to check the expiration date on the foods that you purchase and rotate the cans in your pantry to ensure you do not waste the canned products.
• Avoid "irregulars." Those dented cans on the discount rack might be tempting, but resist the savings and choose blemish-free cans instead. Dented, punctured, or bulging cans indicate the possibility of spoilage inside that could be extremely dangerous to your parents' health.
• Clean the top. As your canned food sits and waits to be used it picks up dust, dirt, and other contaminants that you definitely do not want to end up in your food. Be sure to wipe off the top of the can before opening it to prevent these contaminants from getting into your food as you open it.
• Use the right opener. Old-fashioned can openers create an extremely sharp edge on the top of the can as well as the can itself. These can cause serious injuries very easily. Replace these openers with contemporary models that open the can around the side rather than the top, creating a smoother edge that does not pose a danger. If this is not possible, remember to dispose of the sharp lid responsibly by putting it inside the empty can and crushing the can around it so that it is not as easily accessible when thrown away.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Juno Beach, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.