Microwaves sure are convenient when it comes to heating up your food. You pop in your container or plate, let it heat up for a couple of minutes, and voila! Your food is ready. Or…is it? How many times have you gone to heat up a plate of food, only to find out that the food is still cold in the center? If this has happened to you while microwaving your meals, then you should be aware of the one major side effect of eating microwave meals, because if your food isn't heated through all of the way it could cause some serious issues with your health.
What is this one major side effect? If your food isn't fully heated through the center, you are at a higher risk of developing a foodborne illness. Here's how this can happen if you're regularly eating microwave meals, and for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to read up on our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
First, let's look at your typical container of leftovers. Even if your food was fully cooked before, there is always the possibility of cross-contamination if you're reheating a meal. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, cross-contamination can happen simply from the container you put your food in, maybe drippings that happen from a utensil you've used that has been contaminated, or surfaces of your kitchen that have been contaminated that you touched before touching the food.
However, if you are heating up your food entirely and keeping the food properly refrigerated or frozen before doing so, you are essentially killing the bacteria which reduces (practically eliminates) your risk of developing a foodborne illness.
Now is this true for your favorite healthy pre-packed frozen dinners? While your frozen dinners are neatly packaged and sealed for cleanliness, that doesn't always confirm that you are safe when heating up your food. Making sure your food is fully cooked through before eating anything is massively important for your health. The last thing you want to do is bite into a slightly cold piece of chicken!
How does this happen? Unlike a gas stove where the heat comes from below, microwaves heat up food from the side. That's why your food is warm on the outer rims of your dish, but not as warm at the center.
In order to ensure that your food is reaching high enough of a temperature when microwaving, make sure to stir the meal after heating it up in the microwave to ensure that it's fully heated through before diving into your dinner. Sometimes even stirring up your food or flipping that piece of meat halfway through warming it up can help ensure that every part of your meal is evenly heated before eating.
While the possibility of food-borne illness is one of the major side effects of eating microwave meals that clearly aren't heated through all the way, there are a few other Dangerous Side Effects of Eating Microwaved Meals you probably need to know about!