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4 Basic Steps for Food Safety

November 4th, 2021

Each year millions of people get sick from food illnesses which can cause you to feel like you have the flu. Food illnesses can also cause serious health problems, even death. Follow these four steps to help keep you and your family safe.

1. Clean

Always wash your food, hands, counters, and cooking tools.

  • Wash hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Do this before and after touching food.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, forks, spoons, knives, and counter tops with hot soapy water. Do this after working with each food item.
  • Rinse fruits and veggies.
  • Do not wash meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. If water splashes from the sink in the process of washing, it can spread bacteria.
  • Clean the lids on canned goods before opening.

2. Separate (Keep Apart)

Keep raw foods to themselves. Germs can spread from one food to another.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other foods. Do this in your shopping cart, bags, and fridge.
  • Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.
  • Use a special cutting board or plate for raw foods only.

3. Cook

Foods need to get hot and stay hot. Heat kills germs.
  • Cook to safe temperatures:
  • Beef, Pork, Lamb 145 °F
  • Fish 145 °F
  • Ground Beef, Pork, Lamb 160 °F
  • Turkey, Chicken, Duck 165 °F
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure that food is done. You can’t always tell by looking.
4. Chill

Put food in the fridge right away.

  • 2-Hour Rule: Put foods in the fridge or freezer within 2 hours after cooking or buying from the store. Do this within 1 hour if it is 90 degrees or hotter outside.
  • Never thaw food by simply taking it out of the fridge. Thaw food:
  • In the fridge
  • Under cold water
  • In the microwave
  • Marinate foods in the fridge.
  • Think you have a food illness?
  • Call your doctor and get medical care right away.

Think you have a food illness?

Call your doctor and get medical care right away.

  • Save the food package, can, or carton. Then report the problem.
  • Call USDA at 1-888-674-6854 if you think the illness was caused by meat, poultry, or eggs.
  • Call FDA at 1-866-300-4374 for all other foods.
  • Call your local health department if you think you got sick from food you ate in a restaurant or other food seller.
Who is at risk?

Anyone can get sick from eating spoiled food. Some people are more likely to get sick from food illnesses.

  • Pregnant women
  • Older Adults
  • People with certain health conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and kidney disease

Some foods are more risky for these people. Talk to your doctor or other health provider about which foods are safe for you to eat.

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic | Topic: News  | Category: WLW

Looking for date ideas, but trying to stay healthy? I would love to share some of my favorite date night and day date ideas that are tons of fun and will allow you to stay on track!

Keeping it local, let's first talk about some restaurants that offer healthier options and a great "date" atmosphere right here in town. If you haven't been to Primrose Table, it's a must! I love their seasonal, local menu. You can often find healthy choices on their menu such as fresh fish and unique veggie sides - hint hint, the coconut creamed kale is awesome. Try their marcona almond hummus, and instead of pita ask for cucumbers. You won't regret it. Another local date night spot is Steakhouse Five. Consider getting a lean piece of steak or a cut of wild salmon from their menu on your date night. While the tab may be a little pricier, there are some healthy options to choose from that are full of flavor. My personal favorite is their Brussels sprouts!

Often dates revolve around food, but there are great date alternatives in Murfreesboro that don't have to include a meal. Climb Murfreesboro is a great activity to try on a day date or evening date! As a couple you can learn a new skill and get active! Also, consider checking out local parks such as Barfield Crescent Park or the Stones River Battlefield, where you can hike and explore local history. If you are feeling up for it, you can pack a lunch and have a picnic - include finger foods such as string cheese, grapes, whole grain crackers and lean deli meats to make it easier. Be sure to stay hydrated - pack a big jug of water for your day full of activity. Dates that keep you active not only allow quality time, but help you reach your weight loss goals too!

If you are looking to venture out of Murfreesboro for a date, consider escaping to Nashville for the day. You can get your steps in by exploring the Frist Art Museum. They currently have a great Picasso exhibit all the way from France. It will be there until May, and I promise you do not want to miss it. Another favorite in Nashville is a little local restaurant called Epice. It is in the 12 South neighborhood and boasts fresh Lebanese dishes including lamb and fresh fish. The atmosphere is intimate, and the food is fresh and healthy; what better way is there to spend a date night? My personal favorite dish is the Sayadeya, a white flakey fish served with grilled vegetables and lentils. The street that Epice is located on allows for walking and exploring, so after your meal head next door to the park for a walk, or walk down 12th Avenue South and take a peek in all the shops. Another way to get those steps in!

Caring for your health should not be a chore. Here at MMC Weight Loss and Wellness, we’re all about creative, healthy fun! We’re here to help you reach your goals and establish a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. If you have any questions for us or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please call 615-867-8100 today!

Your health is our mission.

By Lauren Holland, FNP-C

MMC Weight Loss and Wellness

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic  | Category: WLW

Before retirement, Tony Cali did not struggle much with his weight. His active job with the USPS kept him moving and helped him maintain a weight that he was comfortable with. After spending a year in retirement, however, Tony became less mobile and started gaining weight fast.

“The thing I was most concerned about was not being able to lose some of the pounds that I had put on,” Tony said. “But also, I was feeling a little bit lethargic – less energy, not feeling up to doing some of the things that I really wanted to do.”

Tony had tried to lose weight with diets like the Mediterranean Diet and the Birmingham Diet in the past.

“I mostly tried to do it on my own and was not successful,” he said.

In February of 2020, he decided to get the help he needed.

“I heard from a couple that I know from church that were involved [with MMC Weight Loss and Wellness] and were having success, and [they] recommended it to me,” Tony said. “I looked into it further and checked out the insurance side of it and decided that it was well worth the copays to come in and give it a try.”

When Tony began his customized weight loss plan with MMC Weight Loss and Wellness, he was concerned that it would be very difficult to make the changes that he needed to make to lose weight.

“[I had] some gradual weight loss starting in February and was very happy to see that it came along very well – a little bit at a time – and was able to reach my goal weight,” he said. “It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, but only with the help of the nutritionists and the nurse practitioners here at MMC.”

Tony says that he was given the tools he needed to succeed in any situation. Whether it’s a creative exercise or a gathering with large amounts of food, he was not thrown off track because he always had a plan.

Tony said that the simplicity of the program played a major role in his success, but he also thinks that being honest with yourself and with your dieticians is critical.

“I think honesty is very important because you need to stay in the moment and you need to stay with the program, and you need to admit when there’s some difficulties or some problems that you need help with.”

Now that he has reached his goal weight, Tony says that his life has changed. He is now more mobile and has more energy than before.

“It works,” he said. “For me, walking every day was a key to success. But whatever you do, if you stick with it and just be consistent and honest and keeping going, you will find that you can reach your goal.” He added, "I couldn't have done it on my own. God, my wife, the MMC Weight Loss and Wellness team, my family and my friends have all been a big help and continue to cheer me on as I continue down my path of wellness."

MMC Weight Loss and Wellness Nutritionist Devon Cox helped guide Tony throughout his weight loss journey.

“I am so pleased for Tony and his success,” Devon said. “He trusted the process and was consistent week after week. He believed in the Weight Loss and Wellness program and was dedicated to reaching his goal. I am proud to have played a part in his weight loss journey.”

For more information about MMC Weight Loss and Wellness, please visit If you have any questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please call615-867-8100.

Your health is our mission.

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic | Topic: News  | Category: WLW

Protein Snacks

July 10th, 2020

Protein snacks are the perfect way to fill up just enough, and give us longer-lasting energy than the usual, carb-heavy options. Here are some suggestions for you from MMC Weight Loss & Wellness:

  1. Cottage-Style Fruit: Top ½ cup 1% cottage cheese with ½ cup of your favorite fruit.

  2. Protein Muffins:  Smash one small banana in a medium mixing bowl, add 1 egg, 3 Tablespoons of honey, ¼teaspoon of baking soda, 1/3 cup of berries, 1 scoop of protein powder, and ½cup of PB2 (take 8 Tablespoons of peanut powder and mix with 4 tablespoons of water to make ½ cup peanut butter). Place into muffin tin and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes. Yields 10-12.

  3. Blueberry Flax Microwave Muffin: Mix ¼ cup quick-cooking oats, ¼cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of ground flax, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 2 egg whites.Cook on high for 50-60 seconds, Let it cool, throw a top on it, and enjoy whenever the hunger pain hits.

  4. Overnight oats: In a container with a secure lid, mix ½ cup oats, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 3 Tablespoons chocolate protein powder, 1 Tablespoon of peanut powder-optional, and ½ oz. of walnuts until combined. Let sit in fridge overnight.

  5. Protein chips: Our MMC brand has 10-12 grams of protein for only 130 calories per bag.

  6. Thanksgiving leftovers: Slice one piece of whole-grain bread inhalf (or use Healthy Life brand bread in order to have 2 slices of bread instead of one). Top bread with 2 slices of turkey, 1 slice of reduced-fat cheese, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice of tomato, 1 teaspoon of mustard,  and 1 teaspoon of reduced-sugar cranberries.This comforting combination packs about 14 grams of protein.

  7. Mini Black-Bean Mash Taco: Heat ½ cup black beans in the microwave with 1 Tablespoon of salsa. Mash with a fork and fold inside a small (4-6 inch)soft tortilla. Store in a small container for easy transport.

  8. A Little Lentil: Lentils are great protein-packed legumes that are easy to turn into super, shelf-stable salads. One Cup has 22 grams of protein in just 300 calories.

  9. “Get Greek” Berry Parfait: Top ½ cup plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup fresh berries and 1 Tablespoon sliced roasted almonds(optional).

  10. Silver Dollar Protein Pancakes: Mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder, and ½teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Cook on preheated griddle (medium low heat) until mixture bubbles, flip and cook for another 60 seconds. Top with fresh berries,sugar-free marmalade, or sugar-free syrup.

  11. Banana Nutter: Top a rice cake with natural nut butter (use 1 Tablespoon of peanut powder mixed with ½ Tablespoon of water for even less calories) and half a banana, sliced.

  12. Portable Cheese Platter: Make yourself a portable protein 3 pack with either 1 reduced-fat cheese stick, laughing cow cheese wedge, or 2 slices of reduced-fat cheese with 2-4 whole grain crackers and 7 almonds. Add fresh fruit and make it a meal, if desired.

  13. Soy Milk Smoothie: Try blending 1 cup of unsweetened, vanilla,chocolate, or plain soy milk with 1 cup of frozen blueberries or raspberries.

  14. Hummus Dippers: Put 2 Tablespoons of a favorite hummus in the bottom of a container. Then, place a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots,celery, or snow peas) vertically in hummus, put the lid on the container and go.

  15. Edamame Poppers: One cup of the pods offers about 17g of protein.Try fresh pods and steam for about 6 minutes, or use the frozen steamer bags in the microwave.

  16. Chunky Monkey Shake: Blend ½ a small banana, 1 T. peanut powder (PB2 brand is located in the health food or organic section of the grocery store) and 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk with 1 cup of ice. 

  17. Tofu sticks: When sliced into sticks and baked, firm and smoked tofu can make great snack food, especially if served with a side of low-sodium teriyaki dipping sauce.

  18. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie: In a microwave-safe bowl (or mug) mix ¼ cup oats, 1 tablespoon protein powder, 1 egg white, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon natural honey, and 1 Tablespoon raisins. Flatten mixture into bottom of bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Cool, pop it out of the bowl, and enjoy.

  19. Protein Bar: A great source of protein with a wide variety of flavors. (Bars should be under  200 calories and have at least 10+ grams of protein)

  20. Shake It Up: One scoop of protein powder can go a long way. The“Protein Creamsicle”= 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup of Tropicana Trop50 orange juice, and 1 cup of ice blended until smooth. (170 Calories, 21g Protein, 17g Carbs, 2g Fat- Numbers will vary depending on protein powder)

  21. Mini Bean and Cheese Quesadilla: Fold ½ cup black beans, 1 Tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice of low-fat cheddar cheese in a small low-carb,whole grain tortilla. Cook in a dry nonstick pan until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly brown. Wrap in foil and stick in a plastic bag for easy transport. (Around 270 calories, 18g Protein, 34g Carbs, 14g Fiber, and 7g fat.)

  22. Nut Butter Boat: Try loading a few celery sticks with 1 Tablespoon of natural nut butter topped with 3-4 whole almonds or raisins. If you’re not a celery fan, try scooping out the middle an apple and use as a boat for the nut butter. (Using peanut powder mixed with water, to make your own peanut butter, will save you even more calories and fat grams.)

  23. Hard-Boiled Eggs: Try hard boiling and pre-peeling a dozen eggs at the start of the week and put one in a small container each day for an easy on-the-go snack. (If you’re trying to save fat grams, just eat the egg white and not the yolk.)

  24. Pumpkin Seeds: washed, dried, and roasted. Just ½ cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein.

  25. Turkey Jerky: Be careful to avoid sodium- and sugar filled brands,but low-sodium, natural, or lightly-flavored options are a great source of protein. Contains about 9g of protein per serving.

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic | Topic: News  | Category: WLW

By Devon Cox, MMC Weight Loss and Wellness Nutrition Counselor

Regular physical activity is important for staying healthy.  Moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Indoor Activities

  • Put some music on and walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day
  • Dance to your favorite music
  • Jump rope/mock jump rope if you don’t have a rope
  • Do an exercise video (there are several free ones online)
  • Use home cardio machines if you have one
  • Download a strength workout app to your smart phone
  • Perform yoga - deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety
  • Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as: using food cans or water jugs for weights
  • Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
  • Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
  • Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs

Outdoor Activities (if allowed by your government)

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood (stay 6 feet away from others)
  • Be active in a local park - spending time in nature may enhance immune function
  • Go for a bicycle ride
  • Do gardening and lawn work
  • Play active games with your family

Don’t sit all day! For example: If watching TV,get up periodically and do a lap around your home or an active chore. For example: throw some clothes in the laundry, do the dishes or take out the garbage.  Also, maybe don’t skip commercials;use that time to add some exercise.  For example: squats for 1st commercial, wall push-ups for 2nd,and quick march in place for 3rd is a good full body exercise routine.  Feel more productive &healthier after just one show!

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic | Topic: News  | Category: WLW

By Devon Cox, MMC Weight Loss and Wellness Nutrition Counselor

Being healthy is arguably more important than ever. Since we are all at home more during these uncertain times the urge to distract ourselves with food is great.  With changed routines and greater accessibility to “snack” foods comes a greater likelihood to make poor choices in regards to food. Below are some suggestions to help you “stay on track”while staying safe at home.

1.)    Notice and redirect. Notice that you are eating because you are bored/stressed and redirect your behavior in to a positive activity. For example, go for a walk, read a book, learn a new language, play a game with your family, drink some water, or just trade in the chips and dip for a healthy alternative like veggies and hummus.

2.)    Eat foods that are nutrient dense to help you feel full. Foods like candy, chips, and other“bad stuff” does not give us a full feeling. Instead try opting for lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and nuts.

3.)    Fall in love with cooking healthy. Often times I hear “I don’t have time to cook.” Now, would be the perfect time to try out a new healthy recipe.

4.)    Plan for success. Make a daily meal plan or menu to help you stay on track. Sometimes just writing down a plan helps with sticking to a plan.

5.)    Manage your environment. If candy is not easily accessible then it is less likely to be eaten. Limit what gets brought into the home or place it on the higher shelf in the pantry.

6.)    Stay hydrated.Dehydration can negatively affect mood & energy level. Half your body weight in ounces is the recommended amount of water you should be drinking daily.

7.)    Don’t eat in front of the television. Being distracted while eating tends to lead to overeating.

8.)    Exercise!

9.)    Get an accountability partner to help you stay on track. Find a friend to chat with about health goals, or as always, we are here to help at MMC Weight Loss and Wellness.

Posted by Murfreesboro Medical Clinic | Topic: News  | Category: WLW

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