The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) encourages Rhode Islanders to take steps to make health a part of their holiday this Thanksgiving.

Handling and preparing your food properly can help keep you and your family safe. Be sure to:

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food. This is especially important if you have been handling raw meat.
  • Thoroughly wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible. Washing turkey before cooking is not recommended.
  • Keep raw meat and their juices away from ready-to-eat food.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Cook the stuffing separately from the turkey to ensure it reaches the proper temperature.
  • After eating, debone the turkey as soon as possible and divide it into smaller portions to cool quickly under refrigeration.

Try to eat as healthy as possible. To avoid extra calories:

  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Don’t fill up on snacks.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation, if you are going to be drinking.
  • Make sure that you have a designated driver, if you are going to be drinking and traveling.

The holidays can sometimes be stressful. To help avoid becoming too stressed, be sure to:

  • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
  • Ease your obligations, especially if you are piling activities and tasks onto an already full plate. Don’t worry about disappointing the people in your life if you cannot be at a certain event or prepare a special dish.
  • Put down your phones, get away from the television, and do something interactive with family and friends. Good examples are playing a board game, playing cards, or taking a walk.
  • Focus conversation on the positive aspects of your life and what makes you thankful.