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Holiday Food Safety

Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

Food is an important part of many holiday celebrations, and WIC staff can help families reduce the risk of foodborne illness during the holiday season by sharing some basic food safety tips. Below are resources for both WIC staff and participants to encourage safe food practices during the holiday season (and anytime of the year).

The CDC provides information about getting your flu vaccination, food safety, handwashing, travel safety, and more with the infographic 8 CDC Health Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday.

Staff Learning and Teaching Resources

Access recorded webinars that provide continuing education unit (CEU) opportunities. 

Take advantage of the FDA’s Educator Tools for Food Safety for Moms-to-Be (also available in Spanish) to become familiar with this topic and access an evidence-based presentation with accompanying talking points, posters, handouts, videos and more.

Educational and Other Resources for Sharing

At-Risk Populations

Safe food handling is especially important for those at greater risk of foodborne illness: pregnant womeninfants and children younger than five years, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.  

The Food Safety Booklet for Pregnant Women, Their Unborn Babies, and Children Under Five (in English and Spanish) helps explain why food safety is important and provides real-world advice on how to lower the risk of foodborne illness.

The Food Safety for Moms-to-Be main page (also available in Spanish) provides easy-to-understand information for women before they’re pregnant as well as during and after pregnancy.

Recipes and Meal Planning

Recipes found in SNAP-Ed’s Healthy, Thrifty Holiday Menus offer holiday food and planning inspiration, including WIC-eligible foods and recipes found in their Seasonal Produce Guide, can help WIC participants use their CVB to buy what’s in season.  

For those swamped with the time and effort some holiday recipes can take to prepare, the WIC Meals of the Month series has several quick and easy meals and snacks. The What Do I Do With... series provides tips and tricks for specific foods so participants can get the most out of their CVB. 

Similarly, Cure Home Cooking Fatigue can provide parents of young children with new ideas for easy and tasty meals. The site shares a Safe Recipe Cookbook with recipes for different occasions that take 30 minutes or less and incorporate food safety prompts into the recipe steps.

For parents inviting the children to help with food prep, let them test their children’s food safety knowledge before they have the run of the kitchen. 

These downloadable shopping lists for perishable and non-perishable foods, as well as other items, can help ensure safe food practices.  

Food Shopping, Storage and Preparation

Know before you go by using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app. The tool can help WIC participants find local savings and discover new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods.


Keep everyone in the home food safe by following four simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill – as well as these other tips:

General Food Safety Tips for the Holidays (also in Spanish) that includes pregnancy-specific advice and a downloadable infographic on the dangers of soft cheeses.

Why you should never wash meat or poultry and other important tips, such as how to avoid cross contamination, how to thaw foods properly and more available via videos.

Clean THEN Sanitize your surfaces to stop foodborne illness while preparing food and cooking in your kitchen.

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables

Maximize the freshness and quality of food and beverages with proper storage, made easier with the help of FoodKeeper - available as a webpage and mobile application for Android and iOS/Apple devices.

Watch the video below to learn more about holiday leftovers and food safety. 

Kids’ Table

To encourage developing safe food habits at an early age, families can use Kid’s Games and Activities such as Bac Drop – a fill-in-the-blank story template, Scrub Club – an interactive website that teaches children the proper way to wash their hands, coloring pages, activity sheets and placemats as well as kid-friendly recipes. Use the Download Center to find other child-friendly materials including a handwashing song and food safety curricula and programs for kids.




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