Eat Smart: Cook Food Safely in a Microwave Oven (FN1622, Reviewed Nov. 2017)

Did you know? The microwave oven was invented when a scientist walked by a magnetron (experimental microwave tube) and the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. Do microwaves make food radioactive? No. Using a microwave is a quick and easy way to cook or reheat food. You should reheat food to “steaming hot” (165 degrees or higher) to kill harmful bacteria that could make you sick.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Nicole Seaberg, Dietetic Intern (former)

Availability: Web only

How does the man in the moon eat his food?

In satellite dishes.

True or False?

1. You should not reheat food in plastic foam containers, leftover boxes, metal cans, empty margarine tubs or whipped topping containers.

2. Stirring and rotating your food half way through cooking helps prevent “cold spots.”

3. You should follow package instructions and allow microwaved food to “rest” for the time suggested (or at least a couple of minutes) because it still is cooking.


1. True. You should use only microwave-safe dishes. Tip: Most glass containers are perfect for the microwave.

2. True. Try cutting food into smaller pieces for quicker cooking and arranging food in one even layer on the plate.

3. True. Always cook food all the way through. Giving the food a stir before resting assures even heating and that you do not burn your mouth!

Tip: Only reheat as much food as you can eat right now. Food that is reheated in the microwave should not be saved for later use because time gives bacteria a chance to grow to unsafe levels.

Prevent burns. Remove food from the microwave carefully. Use potholders if the plate is too hot to touch. Always remove food covers away from your face so steam can escape.

Keep the microwave clean. Covering food with a microwave-safe paper towel or plastic wrap prevents food from splattering. Be sure to “vent” plastic by rolling back one edge to make a narrow opening, which allows steam to escape. Do not let plastic wrap touch food during cooking. Wipe up spills right away.

Try this fun and simple recipe:

Microwave Mini Pizzas

¼ c. spaghetti or pizza sauce
2 slices Italian or French bread, sliced ½ inch thick, toasted
½ oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1/8 c.)
Additional toppings as desired

Spread half of the sauce on each bread slice. Top with cheese. Microwave on high for 25 to 30 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Makes one serving. Each serving has 140 calories, 3 grams (g) fat, 7 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, and 490 milligrams of sodium.

Eat Smart. Play Hard. For more information, visit this website, it has information for parents and kids, including fun educational games and recipes.
Reviewed November 2017
Filed under: food, food-preparation
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