Helpful Winter Holiday Food Preparation, Safety & Healthy Eating
Questions or comments about this page? Email Alice Henneman, MS, RDN
Need an ingredient substitution, an answer to a baking or other food preparation question, advice on preparing foods ahead? Healthy food ideas for the holidays? Help can be just a click away. Here are some helpful holiday links. Look for highlighted links that are also available En Español
- Preparing foods ahead
- Ingredient substitutions and cooking terms
- Cooking and menu planning helps
- Holiday food safety
- Healthy holiday cooking and eating
- Homemade holiday gifts
- Sending food gifts to the military
- Making the most of your food basket donations
- Holiday Pinterest Board
- Freezing Prepared foods (includes cakes, pies, casseroles, etc. Source: University of Georgia Extension Service) pdf
- Freezing Convenience Foods that You've Prepared at Home (includes various baked goods as well as other menu items. Source: Pacific Northwest Extension Publication) pdf
- Get out of the Kitchen When Company's Coming: Cook Ahead
- Food Safety Checklist for "Planned-over" Foods (PDF) Save time by making extra food for one meal that still tastes good and is safe to eat at a later meal.
- Ingredient Substitutions
If you're in the middle of holiday cooking with no time to run to the store for a missing ingredient, look here for a possible substitute. Includes a handy print-friendly chart.
- Healthy Dietary Substitutions for Holiday Recipes pdf
Easy substitions to bump up the nutrition and decrease the fat, calories, and sodium in your recipes.
- The Cook's Thesaursaus
This site covers thousands of ingredients and suggested substitutions.
- Cooking Basics: Food Yields (PDF)
Use this handout from the University of Georgia Extension to help you determine how much food to buy.
- Can Size Equivalents
If you have an older recipe that calls for a "number 2 can" or a similar description, visit this link.
- Measurement Equivalents (Source: Agricultural Research Service)
Check here if you're trying to adjust the measurements in a recipe from teaspoons to tablespoons to cups to quarts and so on.
- Temperature Conversion: Fahrenheit and Celsius
Helps you convert recipes from fahrenheit to celsius and vice versa.
- Food Safety for Families
Use the following tips to keep your family and friends from becoming sick. Don't let bacteria (germs) crash your holiday parties.
- Using Up Food in the Refrigerator before Leaving Town
Tips and recipes to avoid food wastes.
- How to Tell if Your Freezer Power Was Off when You Were Away
Learn a simple, no-cost way to to detect if your power went off when you were gone.
- Classic Cooked Eggnog (Source: American Egg Board)
Many older classic holiday recipes call for raw eggs. This cooking practice is not considered safe because of possible Salmonella infection. Check this link to the American Egg Board for a cooked version of eggnog. Another option for egg nog is to buy a ready-to-drink egg nog, available in the dairy case at most stores during the holidays.
- Canning Cakes and Breads (Source: University of Georgia Extension)
Learn why this can be unsafe!
- Holiday or Party Buffets (Source USDA)
Web page Link | PDF | En Español
- Brilliant Buffets (Source: fightbac.org)
- Safety Shopping List (Source: Holiday Food Safety Success Kit)
Basic food safety tools to have on hand to ensure a safe and tasty feast.
- Mail Order Food Safety | PDF | En Español | En Español PDF (Source: USDA)
- Meat Preparation and Safety
- Slow Cookers and Food Safety | PDF | En Español | En Español PDF ( Source: USDA)
- Toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
The hotline is staffed with food safety specialists to answer food safety questions for the home cook. You may speak with a food safety specialist — in English or Spanish — from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on weekdays.
Call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at:
Or send an Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- No-Show Guests Jeopardize Food | PDF (source: USDA)
When guests encounter emergencies and the meal must be delayed or cancelled, food must be handled "just right" to remain safe.
- Traveling with Food
- Holiday Food Safety (video)
Healthy Holiday Videos (Source: Meal Makeover Moms)
Watch these award-winning authors, moms and dietitians give you practical holiday tips!
- Top 10 Ways to Spice Up Your Parties with Fruits & Veggies (Source: Fruits & Veggies More Matters)
Suggestions and links to recipes for including more fruits and vegetables in your holiday meals.
- Tiny Tastes Can Total Big Calories over the Winter Holidays (article, video and PowerPoint)
Watch how the calories can sneak in over the holidays!
- Healthy Holiday Party Tips
- Holiday Weight Management Tips With Brian Wansink (video)
I especially liked his tip about how to eat seconds AND thirds of foods WITHOUT overeating!
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Homemade Holiday Gifts
- Send Mail / Packages to the Military (Source: USA.gov)
- Mailing Food Tips (Source: University of Georgia Extension)
- Mailing Food Gifts to the Military (Source: Clemson University Extension)
- Making the Most of Your Food Basket Donations (Source: University of Illinois Extension)
Making food basket donations for families for families?This site will assist you with sample menus, shopping lists, and recipes for using the food gifts.
- A Food Pantry Wish List (Source: University of Maine Cooperative Extension)
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Holiday Pinterest Board