The right temperature to keep your refrigerator, how to properly rinse veggies and more ways to take the danger out of dining.

By Cheryl Platzman Weinstock

  • 1
    Know the Right Temp
    Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacteria are more likely to grow between 40 and 140 degrees, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • 2
    Shop Locally
    "There's less of a chance for contamination when your food doesn't have to travel far," says Marion Nestle, PhD, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. "Some grocery-store produce can spend weeks in transit."
  • 3
    Sign Up For The Store Card
    Getty Images
    Buying at food clubs with a membership card can mean more than just scoring great deals. In the event of a recall, your purchase will be tracked and you'll be notified directly to throw away any food that's potentially been contaminated.
  • 4
    Wash Produce
    Give an extra rinse to leafy greens, sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes, and berries. They're among the top ten contamination-prone foods linked to nearly 40 percent of all U.S. foodborne outbreaks between 1990 and 2006.
  • 5
    ...But Not Meat, Poultry, or Seafood
    You're more likely to spread bacteria, as water splashes from the sink to the counter, than you are to get rid of it. The best approach: Cook food on high heat to kill any pathogens.

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  • Do Not Eat: Fried Food

    Fried food is loaded with fat and calories while offering zero nutritional value. It's a lose-lose! Sure, fries and chips TASTE good, but healthier items also taste good. Just say no to the deep fried items on your menu. You'll be thinner, healthier and won't have greasy fingers.

  • Try This Instead: Broiled

    If you simply must have a French fry, then make them at home in your oven. Use sweet potatoes, as these are a more complex carbohydrate. Cut into matchsticks, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil along with a dash of salt, then place in your oven on broil. Turn every five minutes until the fries are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

  • Do Not Eat: White Bread

    White bread products have minimal nutritional value and are quickly converted by your body into sugar. So you may as well eat a cupcake. Even breads that are technically wheat, but are as soft and smooth as white bread, should be avoided. Don't be afraid to discard the bread from your sandwich or to push away that bread basket. Your waist will shrink and you'll lose that bloated feeling that high carbohydrate meals give you.

  • Try This Instead: Sprouted Grain Bread

    If you must have bread, then stick with sprouted. Sprouted grain bread is a lot easier on your digestion and is packed full of nutrients. Two delicious brands are Food For Life's Ezekiel bread, and Manna Organics. Sprouted grain breads are often kept in the freezer section since they don't contain preservatives to prolong shelf life.

  • Do Not Eat: Creamy Salad Dressing

    You were so good to order a salad, but then canceled out the low-cal benefits by drenching the salad in fattening creamy dressing. Just a few tablespoons of creamy dressing contain more than 20 grams of fat and hundreds of calories.

  • Try This Instead: Vinegar Dressing

    Vinegar-based dressings pack amazing flavor in with minimal fat and calories. You can even mix your own dressing at home. Take high quality vinegar, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, your choice of dried herbs, and a bit of olive oil.

  • Do Not Eat: White Rice

    Just like white bread, white rice has minimal nutritional value, and the glycemic load will quickly prime your body for storing fat.

  • Try This Instead: Brown Rice

    Brown rice has three times the amount of fiber, more B vitamins as well as other nutrients and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. That should be enough to convince you to swap your large pile of white rice out for a small pile of brown rice.

  • Do Not Eat: White Sugar

    Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the epitome of anti-fitness food. Nothing will destroy your progress, expand your waist and plummet your energy levels like sugar. If you only take away one do-not-eat food from this slideshow, please let it be sugar.

  • Try This Instead: Fruit

    Don't turn to artificial sweeteners to get your sweet fix, instead turn to nature's wholesome source of sugar: fruit. Eat organic fruit that is seasonal and locally grown. Stay away from dried fruit and fruit juices, as these are high in simple calories.