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Recommended and Safe Meat Cooking Temperatures for Perfect Meat and Fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most people, getting the proper temperature is the most difficult part of cooking meat. Overcooking leads to dried out meat and disappointing results. And undercooking can cause foodborne illness.

The best way to ensure that you get perfect results is to buy a good thermometer. I  recommend buying an instant-read version for the most reliable results.

I have listed the USDA safe minimum internal temperature and the temperature that the Food Network recommends for beef, veal and lamb cooked for personal preference.

I recommend that you print out this chart, put it in a plastic sheet protector and keep it in your kitchen for reference.

Some of the digital thermometers I recommend are here:

Digital Meat Thermometer with Instant Read – Thin Stainless Steel Probe for Cooking and Grilling Food to Perfection

Category Food USDA SAFE Temperature (°F)  Food Network Rest Time 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 Rare 125 3 minutes
  Medium Rare

130-135

3 minutes
  Medium 135-140
  Medium Well 145 3 minutes
Poultry
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F and all others to 165 °F None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. 130-135 None
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Hiking Snack: Processed versus Real Food

Whether you are hiking or taking a snack to the office, choose real food not processed packaged foods.

Whole Wheat Tortilla with pesto and Swiss cheese, small amount of leftover chicken, banana, and a mandarin orange.

VERSUS

Protein Bar and 3 tablespoons trail mix.

Compare the nutrition of the snacks  in the table below.

For roughly the same amount of calories and protein, the real food snack provides more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber (12 g versus only 2 g). The real food meal is more nutrient dense. The real food meal provides more actual amount of food and will be more filling. The processed meal has more fat and sugars.

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
1.5 oz. Chicken Breast
60
1g
1g
11g
0g
0g
1 Multi-grain Tortilla
150
23g
4g
4g
2g
5g
1.5 Tbsp Basil Pesto
66
2g
6g
1g
0g
1g
1 oz. Swiss Cheese
80
1g
6g
7g
0g
1g
1 Banana
105
27g
0g
1g
14g
3g
1 Cuties  Mandarin Oranges
40
8g
0g
1g
7g
2g
TOTAL:
501
62g
17g
25g
23g
12g

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
360
42g
13g
20g
31g
1g
3 Tbsp Kirkland Trail Mix
160
12g
10g
5g
9g
1g
TOTAL:
520
54g
23g
25g
40g
2g

 

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The Healthy Plate


To create a healthful, balanced lunch, dinner or snack, include three food groups:

Produce such as raw, steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetable, fruit slices, or salad;

Lean protein such as seafood, fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, beans, or low-fat cottage cheese;

Whole-grain carbohydrates such as such as one slice of whole-grain bread, or half a cup of brown rice or other cooked whole grain, whole-wheat pasta, or quinoa.

Think of a healthful plate in halves and quarters:

roughly half of your plate should be vegetables and/or fruit;

one-quarter should be lean protein

one-quarter should be whole grains

Feel free to include a small amount of healthy fat, such as a tablespoon (please measure) of oil-and-vinegar dressing on your salad, seeds or nuts or avocado.

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