Skip Main Navigation
Summertime Food Safety

Father and DaughterFeaturing safety tips on grilling and outdoor fun, as well as delicious recipes.


Summer… The very word conjures up images of time spent outdoors playing, barbecuing, and relaxing. Summer is a season of fun, a season of sun, and a great time to focus on your health. It’s important to enjoy summer to its fullest while being safe, and Harris Teeter is here to help.

Being Smart in the Sun
Most of us grew up with the idea that getting a tan makes us look healthy, a view that persists today. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving. We all know about the redness and pain associated with sunburns, but any change in skin color as a result of sun exposure, even that appealing color associated with a tan, signals that skin damage has occurred. Frequent, prolonged exposure to the sun over time can lead to wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer.

Sunlight exposes us to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the form of invisible A and B rays (UVA and UVB), both of which can be harmful to your skin.

Be sure to use a broad spectrum product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Good options include those containing Parsol 1789 (avobenzone), titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Please remember – no product completely blocks the sun’s rays.

What Does SPF Mean?
Sunscreen, lip balm and even clothing can be labeled with SPF numbers that range from 1 to 50 or higher (50+). SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and is a measure of protection against skin damage specifically from UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers may offer more protection against some sun damage, but there is little evidence that products having SPF numbers higher than 50 offer more benefit, and many people use high-SPF products incorrectly.

Experts believe that part of the reason that skin cancer rates have increased is because people are feeling safe in the sun once sunscreen has been applied, and so are spending more time in the sun. Rather than limiting sun exposure we have placed all our faith in these products, and this is not safe. Always use sunscreen, but do not rely on it to completely prevent skin damage from sun exposure. There is no product available that can do that.

The use of a high-SPF sunscreen does not mean you can safely spend as much time out in the sun as you like.


  1. Make wearing sunscreen part of your morning ritual, just like brushing your teeth. You never know when you might be outdoors. Cloudy days are not safer, since most of the sun’s UV rays still get through to you. Even driving in your car exposes you to some of the sun’s harmful rays through the windows, so protect your skin every day by using a broad-spectrum product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and with an SPF of at least 15.
  2. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes before going outdoors, but be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours (more frequently if you’re enjoying water sports, even if the product states it is waterproof).
  3. Be sure to use an ample amount of sunscreen. While it need not be slathered on, there needs to be a layer over all exposed areas (pay special attention to your neck, temples, lips and ears, areas many of us neglect).
  4. Be extra sure to apply sunscreen to your children’s skin, and keep babies out of the sun. Specially designed summer clothing for kids is now available that further helps prevent skin damage. Some experts believe that skin protection in your youth is the most important way to prevent the development of skin cancer.
  5. Keep in mind that most self-tanning lotions do not provide adequate sunscreen protection. You still need to wear sunscreen after applying self-tanning lotion.
  6. Wear sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays. Doing so may help prevent the development of cataracts.
  7. Try to get your outdoor activities in before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., and seek shade whenever possible.
  8. Cover up! Wear a hat with a wide brim, and clothing that minimizes skin exposure when out in the sun.
  9. Stay well-hydrated. Start your morning with a glass of water and be mindful of hydration throughout the day. Be sure to replace fluids lost during exercise and time in the sun (see section on water).
  10. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Summer is the season when especially vibrant fruits and vegetables are in abundance, and the antioxidants found in these tasty treats may help keep your skin and eyes healthy. Take advantage of the wide variety of produce available at Harris Teeter not only to optimize your health, but also because it tastes so good!
For more information on sun safety, check out the American Academy of Dermatology.

Don’t Forget Your Vitamin D
Keep in mind that sunshine is the primary source of vitamin D for most people, and that adequate vitamin D levels offer important health benefits. Limiting time in the sun is important, but many experts believe that 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun on exposed skin provides ample levels of vitamin D. After that, however, go indoors to apply sunscreen, and wait 30 minutes before going outside again.

Family running on BeachWATER, WATER EVERYWHERE…

It makes up almost 70% of our bodies and covers almost the same percentage of our planet, yet many people still have important questions about water.

How much?
You need to maintain adequate hydration for optimal health, and this is especially important during the hot days of summer. Water is continuously used and lost from your body in a number of ways that include sweating, urinating, even breathing, and thirst is not always the best measure for when you need to drink more water.

You’ve likely heard the old adage, “Drink 8 glasses of water a day.” As you know, however, people come in different sizes and with different types of metabolism, so the approach to adequate hydration needs to be individualized. A few general rules do apply:

  1. Drink before you’re thirsty – by the time you experience thirst you’re already behind. Start your day by drinking a big glass of water when you wake up, and be sure to sip water throughout the day.
  2. Prepare for and replenish your losses – when you’re active you are more likely to lose bodily fluids. Drink some water before you begin, and plan ahead so you have access to water both during and after your activities.
  3. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear. If your urine appears dark it may be a sign that you are becoming dehydrated.
For those of us taking medication, the recommendations above may need to be adapted to our unique needs. Please speak to your doctor about how much water you should ideally be enjoying each day.

The Benefits of Making a Splash!
Summer is the perfect time to jump in the pool and cool off, but did you know water activities can also be a great workout?

Playing in the water is good for your body and your mind. It helps you relax and cool off, as well as working your muscles and cardiovascular system, all while giving your joints a much needed break from the wear and tear of life with gravity. Even just walking in water can be a great workout. You get all the benefits of a brisk walk, plus the water provides resistance that your muscles must work against to keep you moving – it’s like lifting light weights and walking at the same time!

So jump in a pool and start moving – you’ll likely notice some of the following benefits!

Increased strength Fewer injuries
Improved flexibility Decreased stress
Less pressure on joints Enhanced cardiovascular conditioning
Less joint discomfort Increased fun!
Improved balance

Great Summertime Calorie Burners
Do you ever feel like losing a few pounds is easier during the summer months? Well, for many people it is! The days are longer and there always seems to be something to do outside. Luckily, many common summertime activities are also great calorie burners. Take advantage of this chance to burn a few extra calories each day and you may see those waistlines shrinking.

Did you know that burning an extra 500 calories per day (while keeping your food intake the same) will allow you to lose one pound per week? Just be sure to keep eating lots of fruits and vegetables and keep your portion size reasonable. Check out the chart below to find out how many calories you can burn in an hour by engaging in some of your favorite summer activities:

Activity Calories Burned* Activity Calories Burned*
Frisbee 211 Mowing the grass 381
Walking the dog 246 Gardening 352
Jogging (5mph) 563 Fishing 246
Biking, leisurely 281 Tennis 493
Swimming 422 Canoeing 211

* Calories burned for a 155 pound person.  If you weigh less than 155 pounds, you will burn fewer calories per hour.  If you weigh more than 155 pounds, you will burn more calories per hour.


Rancher Grilling ChickenSummer is a great time for picnics and barbecues, but it’s important to remember food safety when eating outside. Outdoor cooking and dining provide many opportunities for dangerous bacteria to grow in food. Please be careful and follow these general guidelines for summer food safety:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling food, particularly raw meat and poultry.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Cut fruits and vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator until eaten.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: never use the same plate that held raw meat for serving cooked meat, and never reuse marinades.
  • Keep hot foods hot (above 140º F) and cold foods cold (below 40º F), even when transporting them.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately.
  • Thaw meats and poultry in the refrigerator, never on the counter or in the kitchen sink.
Food should not be left out for more than 2 hours. Remember, when in doubt throw it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Healthy Grilling
  • It’s a good idea to marinate meat. Trim excess fat before cooking.
  • Toss the sauce: do not reuse marinades.
  • Charring meat is not recommended (slight charring of vegetables is okay and can add to taste). Of course a certain amount of charring is inevitable. Be sure to cut off the charred portion before serving.
  • Grill until desired doneness is reached. Use a food thermometer when grilling to check the internal temperature of the food. These are some common temperatures you should be aware of:
Beef, veal, and lamb steaks and roasts: 145º F for medium rare, 160º F for medium, and 170º F for well done.

Ground pork and ground beef: minimum 160º F.

Ground poultry: minimum 165º F.

Poultry breasts: minimum 165º F.

Whole poultry (take measurement in the thigh): minimum 165º F.

Seafood Guidlines
Fin fish: 145º F, or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

Shrimp, lobster, and crab: the meat should be pearly and opaque.

Clams, oysters, and mussels: until the shells are open.

If you would like more information on any food safety topic, check out the FDA.


Cool Summer Salads
On a hot day the last thing you feel like doing is cooking (or eating) a hot meal. That’s why salads are one of the most popular menu items during the summer months. The only problem is many salads contain more calories than a burger and fries! We've created some healthy, exciting versions of some of your favorite summer salads. They’re quick and easy to prepare, and they taste fantastic… not to mention they’re good for you.

Mediterranean Salad
1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ tsp minced garlic
1 cup H.T. Traders couscous
½ cup Farmers Market green onion, chopped
1/3 cup Farmers Market Italian parsley, chopped
2 cups peeled and seeded Farmers Market cucumber, diced
3 tbsp Farmers Market fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 can HT Naturals white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup small Farmers Market roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup Farmers Market red bell peppers, diced
1/3 cup small H.T. Traders kalamata olives, diced
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
½ cup H.T. Traders feta cheese, crumbled
Mediterranean Salad

In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth and garlic to a boil. Add the couscous; stir, remove from heat, and cover for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the green onion, parsley, cucumber, mint, beans, tomato, red bell pepper, and olives, mixing well. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, and toss with the couscous mixture. Add the feta cheese and serve.

Cobb Salad
½ lb Smart chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch strips
1 tbsp H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
1 package (10 oz.) Farmer’s Market Hearts of Romaine
1 ripe Farmers Market avocado, chopped
4 Farmers Market plum tomatoes, chopped
½ cup pitted black olives, sliced
1 cup Harris Teeter low-fat cheese, shredded
2 tbsp Harris Teeter apple cider vinegar
Cobb Salad

In a skillet over medium heat cook the chicken in olive oil until done. Place salad mix in large serving bowl. Top with rows of cooked chicken, avocado, tomatoes, olives and shredded cheese. Sprinkle with cider vinegar.

Veggie Salad
1 can HT Naturals black beans, rinsed
1 can HT Naturals garbanzo beans, rinsed
1/3 cup Farmers Market green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup Farmers Market red pepper, chopped
3 tbsp Farmers Market green onion, chopped
2 tbsp Farmers Market cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
1 ½ tsp lime zest
2 tbsp H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp Harris Teeter chili powder
¾ cup Harris Teeter low-fat cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Farmers Market kale greens, blanched*
Veggie Salad

*Blanching is a method of food preparation. To blanch your kale greens, plunge them into boiling water briefly (less than 30 seconds), then into iced water to stop the cooking process.

In large bowl, combine beans, green and red pepper, green onion and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, cumin and chili powder. Pour lime dressing over the salad and toss. Add cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over kale greens.

Pasta Salad
1 lb H.T. Traders penne pasta
¾ cup H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp H.T. Traders balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 Farmers Market roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small Farmers Market cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
1/3 cup Farmers Market chopped red onion
¼ cup Farmers Market chopped Italian parsley
2/3 cup whole pitted H.T. Traders kalamata olives
Pasta Salad

Cook pasta, rinse and drain; set aside. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine all remaining ingredients with pasta. Toss well to distribute. Add as much dressing as desired to moisten pasta. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Grilled Vegetable Salad
1 small Farmers Market eggplant
1 Farmers Market red pepper
1 Farmers Market yellow pepper
2 Farmers Market zucchini
1 red Farmers Market onion
¾ cup H.T. Traders feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup Harris Teeter red wine vinegar
1 clove Farmers Market garlic, minced
½ tsp Farmers Market oregano, chopped
½ cup H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
Grilled Vegetable Salad

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut peppers into quarters and remove seeds and stems. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices lengthwise. Cut onion into 1/2-inch thick wedges. Place on grill and cook over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly charred, about 10-15 minutes. Remove vegetables from grill when cooked. In a mixing bowl combine feta cheese, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, olive oil and cayenne pepper. Pour over the grilled vegetables and serve.