In episode 393, Megan chats to Chrissy Carroll about nutrition considerations for bloggers, especially within the wellness niche, and how to provide the best healthy recipes.
We cover information about be careful about giving advice when it comes to nutrition, know collaborating with professionals is a good plan, why you should include a disclaimer on your site and be careful when considering mixing different dietary recipes on your site.
Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page
RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.
Connect with How To Build A Wellness Blog
Bio Chrissy Carroll is the Registered Dietitian blogger behind the popular website Snacking in Sneakers, where she shares food & fitness tips for active women – especially runners and triathletes. Chrissy is a marathoner and triathlete herself as well as an RRCA Certified Running Coach.
After growing her main site to more than 100,000 page views a month, Chrissy has gone on to launch several other successful websites. She is passionate about helping other dietitians grow profitable websites. Chrissy shares helpful blogging & social media tips on one of her niche sites, Build a Wellness Blog, and runs an online course teaching bloggers how to create content that ranks higher and drives more traffic.
- It’s good to be careful about sharing your experiences with food vs giving advice when you don’t have an nutritional background.
- Determine if you understand dietary modifiers when looking at keywords to write about.
- Be familiar with the niche you are choosing to include recipes for.
- Do research on foods that you are going to include in a recipe to make sure you are following standards for the diet.
- Bloggers should consider the ethical choice in making nutrition claims
- Nutrition calculators vary quite a bit because the database they pull from is important as well as knowing who can provide input to the database.
- Thawing and refrigerating food
- Meat thermometers are an excellent tool
- How long a food is good for can be looked at based on the USDA’s recommendations
- Consider partnering with a Registered Dietician
Build A Wellness Blog – Content Creation Bootcamp
Cronometer (nutrition analysis)
Conferences – FNCE, IDEA World
Click for full script.
EBT393 – Chrissy Carroll
Intro: Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
This episode is so interesting because Chrissy sheds light on a topic that I don’t think a lot of food bloggers think about very often, and that is nutrition considerations that we should keep in mind as we’re blogging. Give it a listen and I hope you enjoy it. This is episode number 393, sponsored by RankIQ. I.
Sponsor: Do you need help navigating Google Analytics? Maybe you specifically need to understand how to set up and use GA four and use your Google search console to its fullest potential. Sign up for the virtual workshop put on by Tastemaker that dives into these topics. There will be four expert speakers to provide valuable information that will help you get the most out of GA four and GSC. The workshop takes place live on Zoom on April 21st from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST. Limited spots are available. Be sure to join the waitlist to get first access to these tickets. Go to eatblogtalk.com/resources and scroll down to the orange button underneath the Tastemaker logo for more information and to sign up.
Megan Porta: Chrissy Carol is the registered dietician blogger behind the popular website, Snacking and Sneakers, where she shares food and fitness tips for active women, especially runners and triathletes. Chrissy is a marathoner and triathlete herself, as well as an RRCA certified running coat. After growing her main site to more than 100,000 page views a month, Chrissy has gone on to launch several other successful websites. She is passionate about helping other dieticians grow profitable websites. Chrissy shares helpful blogging and social media tips on one of her niche sites, Build A Wellness blog, and she runs an online course teaching bloggers how to create content that ranks higher and drives more traffic. Hello, Chrissy. How are you today? Thank you for joining me.
Chrissy Carroll: Hi, I’m so excited to be here.
Megan Porta: Yay. I’m so excited to have you and I think this topic is so good to cover. It’s something I don’t think we’ve really covered on Eat Blog Talk before, so it’s really good to shed some light on it today. But first, we are dying to know if you have a fun fact to share about yourself.
Chrissy Carroll: I do. So my fun fact is that my husband and I actually got married after running a 5K race in California. So we had actually been planning a traditional wedding and then you know how it goes. Everybody got crazy and lots of input from people and we were like, you know what? We’ll have the party for everyone, but let’s do something special for us for the actual ceremony. So yeah, we ran the Run In The Name of Love 5k. Oh. My husband wore a tuxedo t-shirt and I wore a white running skirt and a veil. We had a justice of the peace and a photographer meet us at the finish line and then a family that we had been running with, like just chatting with along the race, their daughter ended up being our witness. So, yeah, it was just a fun, fun way to tie the knot.
Megan Porta: That’s so fun. That is not something that you hear often. Why is it that family members and people close to us feel like they can share their opinions about how and when we get married and all of the details. Why is that?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah it got exhausting. So it was great. We had the party for everyone later, but it is a really fun memory to reflect on. Years later, the family that we had run with, they reached out to me on Facebook and they were like, Hey, I don’t know if you remember, but our daughter was your witness.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s so cool. Oh, I love it. That’s amazing. Okay, so I wanna hear your story, Chrissy, with your nutrition and blogging journey because you have expertise in both of those areas and that will kind of be a really good place to start with our chat today. So can you just talk through your journey, like where you started with all of this and where you’re at today?
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. So I started my career as a registered dietician. I actually taught nutrition classes for extension partnering with Boston Public Schools. So that’s what I did for about six years and I really loved it. Then I was I don’t know, I feel like maybe I want to do something more. Then my apartment actually burned down and I lost everything that I owned and I was gonna start my own business. It was like my quarter life crisis. Decided to start my own business, which was the best thing that ever happened to me. But I was doing a lot at the beginning. I was doing corporate wellness and one-on-one nutrition and blogging and everything. After a couple years I really figured out that I just love the blogging side of things. So I let everything else go and just doubled down on the blogging. Yeah, I had my website Snacking and Sneakers, which is about food and fitness, specifically runners and triathletes, and really grew that up to a good sustainable point. Then I have some other sites on the side, a couple sites that I’ve sold, different things along those lines, but just realized I really loved writing and SEO. I’m definitely more on the SEO side than the social media side, so I just love being in the online business space.
Megan Porta: So you really do have your hands in so many pieces of blogging and especially this nutrition piece, which I feel like a lot of, okay, speaking for myself, I do not have that nutrition piece, so this is something that needs to be on my radar, and I think it needs to be on all of our radars just being cautious, when we talk about nutrition. I was saying before we hit record, even if we’re not a nutrition niche, which I am not, definitely, we still need to be careful about those things we say about nutrition. Am I right about that?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, definitely. I think a good portion of nutrition, we think of it as being pretty simple. For the average healthy person it is, right? Eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less food that’s high in added sugar. Those are all things that are pretty simple and can apply to a lot of people. But I think these days a lot of people do have other medical conditions that can impact their nutrition needs. I think where it gets tricky is if you’re food blogging, whether you’re in a particular niche or not, it is fine to create recipes in a certain niche or to talk about your own experiences. Where we have to be careful is about giving nutrition advice. Because that can really broach into some scope of practice issues in different states. I’m not a lawyer, but different states do have different licensure laws. As far as who can talk about nutrition advice. So it becomes more of a concern when you are offering any kind of paid one-on-one service or maybe a paid meal planning service, something along those lines. What we publish on the blog as far as general nutrition information, that is covered by our first amendment right to free speech, but we just need to be careful about crossing the line into maybe giving specific nutrition to an individual. So one of the examples I think of is, let’s say you’re a healthy eating blogger and it’s the new year and you decide to do some kind of paid challenge where people are coming to you and you’re creating a meal plan for them. Maybe you aren’t asking a lot of questions and you’re just creating this meal plan based on a couple of things. Maybe you put grapefruit as part of breakfast. But a lot of medications actually can interact with grapefruit. So if you don’t know to ask that and you don’t have that maybe scientific background there, you may not know that puts somebody at risk. So I think it’s just helpful to be aware of scope of practice, helpful to have disclaimers helpful to work with a dietician if you don’t have that nutrition background, you can always work with an RD to do any kind of programming that fits your blog and your audience. I think just thinking more carefully about the types of things we’re saying and just being careful not to broach into that really individualized advice if we don’t have that nutrition background.
Megan Porta: I imagine that there’s a lot of gray area here though, because even if you’re not offering something paid, we do write a lot of things, details about our recipes and food and experiences in our blog posts. So I just feel like, like how much do we censor?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah. I don’t think you have to necessarily censor yourself. And I don’t wanna be like the preachy person that’s Hey, don’t write about this, only dieticians. That’s not at all what I’m getting at. I think that it’s more about thinking through, okay, if somebody read this and they had a medical condition that affected their nutrition needs, do I feel confident that I’m providing accurate advice or should I maybe include a disclaimer that you know, this is for informational purposes only. It’s based on my own experience. Please consult a doctor before changing your eating habits or something along those lines that maybe gives us a little bit of leeway there in terms of letting people know that, hey, I’m maybe not a professional here. I’m just sharing my own thoughts.
Megan Porta: Okay. So that’s what you meant when you said disclaimer, just letting people know that you are a blogger that has these experiences and this is your position.
Chrissy Carroll: Exactly.
Megan Porta: Yeah. What about keto diets, gluten-free diets, dairy-free, things like that where we’re not necessarily nutritionists. We don’t study these, but we might live them. What are your thoughts on that?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, so the intersection of nutrition and SEO is really interesting because I’m sure you know whether you’re in Keysearch or RankIQ, maybe you’re looking to do a chicken parmesan recipe and that’s a little bit too competitive, but you come across keto chicken parm or gluten-free chicken parm, and you might wonder oh, should I decide to write about this keyword? I think the first thing to consider is if you actually understand what that dietary modifier means. Because if you’re going to write a recipe for it, you wanna be clear on what that means. So Megan, would it be helpful if I walked through some of these terms and explained them?
Megan Porta: Yeah, that would be great.
Chrissy Carroll: Awesome. So I’ll go through some of the most common ones that you might come across during your keyword research. The first would be vegetarian, which I think is probably one that many people are familiar with by this point. That would be a recipe that avoids any food that requires the death of an animal. Sometimes it’s alternatively defined as not eating any animal meat. The specific definition in food practices can vary a little bit person to person, especially depending on whether they’re doing it for ethical reasons or whether they are embracing that diet for maybe health reasons. But generally somebody who’s vegetarian is not going to be eating beef, chicken, pork, fish, any of the animal meats, but they might include dairy, eggs, and honey. That sounds pretty simple in theory, but there are some surprising caveats there. So for example, some things like hard cheeses, like Parmesan are actually made using rennet, which is an enzyme in a cow’s digestive system. Because that enzyme is obtained through the death of the animal, many wouldn’t consider those cheeses as options on a vegetarian diet, even though other cheeses may be okay. Similarly, animal gelatin which is made from different animal parts, we think of gelatin as being in stuff like Jello, but it’s also in a lot of other products like marshmallows and gummy bears and Pop Tarts. So we just need to think about those when we are creating content for vegetarian recipes.
For vegan recipes, that kind of takes it a step further. So that would be avoiding all animal products, including eggs, dairy, honey. Technically a lot of forms of granulated sugar are not vegan because they use a bone char filtering process. So somebody that eats a vegan diet for general health reasons may not be concerned about that, but somebody that eats a vegan diet for ethical reasons probably would be concerned about that. So these are just all things to consider when you are putting together those recipes. Gluten-free is another one that we see a lot as a keyword modifier. So a gluten-free diet avoids the consumption of gluten, which is a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Again, seems pretty simple in theory. There are a lot of hidden sources of gluten in many foods. So for example, soy sauce or imitation crab meat or beer or certain taco seasonings, those can all contain gluten. So if you are developing gluten-free recipes, you really wanna have that expertise to know what types of hidden ingredients are in some of these foods that may actually contain gluten.
Sugar-free is another one that I see a lot. I think this is probably one of the ones that has the biggest misnomer as far as recipes on the internet. So there is an actual definition for sugar-free when we think of food labels at a grocery store. So things that are labeled sugar-free at a grocery store mean that a serving has less than 0.5 grams of sugar, both natural and added. Now that definition doesn’t necessarily apply to a blog recipe but if you are calling something sugar free and it still has natural sugars in it, like from fruit or something along those lines, a more accurate name might be no added sugar. I totally realize that doesn’t have the same ring to it though, so I get why people call things sugar free. I would say though, that if you’re doing a recipe that you’re calling sugar free and it has added sweeteners like honey or maple syrup or agave, those are all still sources of sugar, sources of added sugar. I think a better term for that would be refined sugar-free. Because I do think that can be a little bit confusing for consumers if maybe they need to follow a low added sugar diet for some reason and they’re landing on a sugar-free recipe and then there’s a cup of honey in it. That can be a little bit confusing because honey has a lot of sugar in it. So I think refined sugar free is probably a better option there. I have a couple more here. Low sodium is one that we often see. Again on food packages at the grocery store, there is a specific definition, which is 140 milligrams of sodium per serving or less. Now, not necessarily required for blog recipes, but I think if you’re in that niche, maybe you have a low sodium food blog, it would probably be wise to follow that definition because that is what people on a low sodium diet are trained to look for at the grocery store. So how helpful would that be if your blog recipes followed that same definition there so that you know you’re not confusing people that are coming to your website.
Dairy free is another one that we see, which might be from allergies and tolerances, health reasons. I think it’s always good to assume somebody has an allergy and to take it seriously. So dairy-free would mean no milk ingredients. So milk, yogurt, cheese, butter but there’s also a lot of kind of sneaky food products that you might not expect to have dairy, but they do. So I don’t know if you’ve ever gone to the grocery store and there’s like those spice pastes in the produce section. So garlic paste and lemongrass paste. A lot of those actually have milk in them, which is a surprising source that people wouldn’t expect. The term non-dairy on foods at the grocery store actually allows for casein, which is a milk protein in the ingredients. So those are not safe. Yeah, they’re not safe for people with dairy allergies. There’s also newer vegan products on the market that are made with a lab derived milk protein. So they are not using protein from the cow, but they are recreating it in a lab and then using that in the food. So while that is technically vegan, because it was not made through an animal, it is not safe for somebody with a dairy allergy. So just a lot of things to potentially consider there. Then the last one I wanted to touch on was keto, because I think that’s been big in the last couple of years. Keto is a very low carb, high fat diet. While it’s been thrown around for a lot of things lately, whether it’s weight loss or blood sugar control and all these things, and I have my own personal opinions on that, I just would like people to know that traditionally ketogenic diets were used to manage epilepsy in children. So there are specific medical reasons that people might be searching out these recipes. Sometimes on the internet I’ll see a lot of keto recipes where they might get the low carb part right but then the recipe is actually high protein instead of high fat. So really it’s that high fat component that’s important for a ketogenic diet. Some small errors, there might not be a big deal for somebody using it for weight loss or other personal reasons, but it could be concerning for those who are using a ketogenic diet for a specific medical reason. Did you have any other ones? I know that was a lot of information all at once, but any others that you’re questioning?
Megan Porta: Oh gosh. I think you covered it. Yeah, you covered everything that I could have probably thought of, so that was really thorough. So interesting. I learned some stuff too, just about the ketogenic diet. I did not know that’s what it was initially made for. The vegan foods that were packaged and being sold and actually having dairy, all of that so interesting.
Sponsor: Let’s take a quick break to chat about RankIQ, a custom keyword library made just for bloggers that is packed with low competition keywords that are easy to rank for, and that also have high search volume. With the uncertainty that comes along with core updates, algorithm changes, and seasonal lulls, these have been hitting us more and more frequently as it is so worthwhile to figure out how to get steady traffic that will continue to grow over time. This is exactly what RankIQ has done for my food blog. My blog traffic had been stagnant for years before I found RankIQ. Here are a few of my favorite things about RankIQ. I don’t ever have to guess about how successful a keyword will be before spending hours writing a post on the topic. It saves me writing time. I can typically get a new post kicked out in less than two hours. The keyword research tool provides so many great ideas for content that support my existing database of recipes, and I know how fast something will rank based on the competition score and the time to rank score. Go to RankIQ.com to sign up now. Back to the episode.
Megan Porta: I do have a few questions. So let’s say I have a blog that is not diet focused or really nutrition focused at all, but I land on one of those keywords that is good. Really low competition looks like I can rank for it and it maybe has the word gluten-free in it, let’s say. Do I use that if it’s not relevant to my niche or do I stay away from it? What are your thoughts on that?
Chrissy Carroll: I think like most things in blogging, I’m gonna give that standard answer of, it depends. Which can depend on a lot of things, right? So we know Google has those EAT guidelines that they use for manual raters to help refine the algorithms. That first new E that they added is for experience. An experience can stand for personal experience, first hand experience. So I think that, let’s say you come across those gluten-free keywords and you happen to have celiac disease and you’ve had it for 10 years, then you probably have a really solid base of firsthand knowledge about a gluten-free diet. Similarly, for somebody who’s been vegetarian all their life or has had to follow a low sodium diet, that firsthand experience can be valuable. I think relevance is important. So we know that Google thinks of our sites as maybe experts in certain topics, right? You go into the search console, you look at what’s ranking, and sometimes we notice patterns there. So if you notice a pattern that maybe you’ve been going really broad with your keywords, but all of your top keywords are gluten-free keywords, then I would think that would be a sign that, hey, maybe I should do some more gluten free content. But if all of your keywords are like indulgent comfort foods, then maybe it might not make as much sense to do sugar free or ketogenic dessert recipes, something along those lines. Thinking about the audience and the reader’s experience, so you know, what does your audience know you for? Would they be happy with this type of content? So if you’re a vegan food blogger and you find some keto keywords and you decide to just write those keto keywords because you think they’ll rank well, I don’t know that your audience and your readers might have the best reaction to that. So I think we need to think about those. Then just thinking about ethics as well. Do I feel like I have a solid enough grasp on this that I can produce content that is factually accurate? And the answer to that might be yes. The answer to that might be no, and that might help guide you as well.
Megan Porta: Okay. So one example that I thought of as you were talking about was a few years ago, I experimented with the Whole30 Diet just to do a cleanse and I had heard good things about it. While I was on it, like obviously I was just making food for that specific diet and I wasn’t eating my normal junk. So I was killing two words with one stone and putting some of that content on the blog. I was labeling it as a Whole30. So I have these like Whole30 cookies that are really delicious and super healthy, and they took off. People love them. So then I was like, oh, that’s cool. So then I took another recipe and I think it was just like baked chips, baked potato chips. That was Whole30 as well. So I put Whole30 on that. But nothing else on my blog is Whole30. Maybe eight recipes and they all do really well, but they conflict with my other content. So I would love to get your thoughts on that. Should I just let it fly? Let it sit?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah. I think that if they satisfy the user’s need and you’ve written about it in a way that is helpful and addresses that and it doesn’t encroach on the rest of your readers or your audience, I think that’s totally fine. I think where it gets a little trickier is if you are doing recipes specific to a diet that has a big ethical following, so veganism or something like that, then I think switching to other recipes that incorporate meat or fish or something along those lines, that can be really tricky and you can get a lot of pushback on that, understandably so in those situations. But sure, I think that if that does well, and it makes sense to write about, not everything on your blog has to satisfy every single reader out there. I would just be careful about it if it encroaches on the maybe ethical beliefs of the rest of your audience, or if you feel like you don’t have the knowledge of writing about that particular diet. But it sounds like in your case that they’re completely fine.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. That actually detailed it perfectly, just like the ethical part of it and really detailing my journey with that one month of my life when I did Whole30 is part of my story. So really it fits into the blog because we all blog about our lives and our journeys with food.
Chrissy Carroll: Exactly.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That made me feel a little bit better. Thank you. I have a question about recipe cards, the nutrition calculators on recipe cards. Do we need to know anything about those?
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. So the accuracy of those nutrition card calculators can vary considerably based really on two things. So the first is the actual database that they’re using. Ideally, you want a recipe card that uses a pretty comprehensive database. Typically the gold standards there are things that use USDA data or that use N C Food and nutrient database data. You want to avoid using a nutrition calculator that allows for public use of what other people have put in because you don’t know that those people are entering foods correctly. But you do want one that allows you to enter your own data in for yourself in case you use any kind of specialty products. So especially these days, we see so many new food products on the market and a lot of things that maybe weren’t around 10 years ago. So maybe like a monk fruit sweetener or something that’s fairly new, the nutrition facts on that are gonna be pretty specific and you may need to enter that in yourself. So I would say using a recipe card that has a good database is important. I know WordPress Recipe maker uses, I believe the SPoonacular A P I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they use, which does pull from USDA data. The other part of that ideally you as the person putting that in. So being accurate with selecting the right types of foods. Also being accurate about portion sizes. I was looking a couple weeks ago for a cake recipe and it was a standard nine inch cake pan recipe, but the recipe card had said it made 24 servings, and I was like nobody is getting 24 servings out of this cake.
Megan Porta: That’s funny.
Chrissy Carroll: That’s like a bite. I get why people do that because they’re like, they do it originally and they’re like, oh my gosh, this has 900 calories in a slice of cake. But I would much rather see the more accurate representation of what a normal portion size is. So I think that the accuracy really depends on both the database having an extensive database and the person that’s putting them in.
Megan Porta: I’ve never had to put in my own nutrition, I haven’t ever had an instance where I can’t find an ingredient, so I don’t know how that goes. Is it easy to put in your own information in those cards?
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, I think it depends on what recipe card you’re using, but I believe it’s fairly simple to put them in. I do personally calculate my nutrition data outside of the recipe card. I use a website called Chronometer. I just like it a little bit better. It has a really comprehensive database, a very simple way of putting foods in. The thing that I like about doing it, and I know people are gonna be like that’s duplicating effort. But one thing that I do like about doing it outside is that sometimes if I’m planning a recipe for a certain need. So for example, I have some protein muffin recipes on my site. I like to have an idea when I write the recipe out how many grams of protein is in this, and do I need to adjust the recipe a little bit before I test it? That way if I calculate everything out ahead of time, then I can see, you know what, this is actually a little lower than I’d like. Let me put in a little more protein powder or Greek yogurt or whatever I wanna add in there and then test the recipe that way, so that way I’m not getting the recipe perfect and then calculating the nutrition facts and going, oh shoot, this doesn’t have enough of this, or this has too much of that.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that does seem like extra effort, but I can see where, if this is really important to you, if you are wanting to deliver really valuable, accurate information, then that is worth taking the extra step.
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. It depends too on what your audience is, right? If you’re doing right, comfort food or you’re doing family dinners, it’s probably not as important to have super high accuracy on there. But if you were doing nutrition facts for a certain niche where those macros might be really important, whether that’s keto or low sodium or something along those lines, then I think maybe getting a more accurate nutrition calculator and database could be helpful. But I do think a lot of it, if you’re using the recipe card calculator, you can get pretty accurate measurements there. I think it just really comes down to making sure you are looking at the foods that you are selecting and making sure that the nutrition facts for each one make sense for your recipe.
Megan Porta: Okay. What about food safety considerations, Chrissy? So things like defrosting food or handling food. What should we know about that?
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. I think that there’s really probably three areas that come up for food bloggers when it comes to food safety. One being defrosting food, one being cooking the actual food, and then the third being how long something’s good for. So with defrosting food, I don’t know about you, but I grew up where my mom would just leave meat on the counter all day to defrost. When I go over to her house now or she comes over, she tries to do the same thing and I’m like, no mom. That’s not how we defrost things. I always hear, you never died. You were fine.
Megan Porta: That’s so funny. My dad does the same thing.
Chrissy Carroll: Yes. So I think when we know better, we do better. I always am a fan of trying to set people up for the safest recipe experience possible. So when it comes to defrosting, the best ways to do that are in the fridge. In the microwave, if you’re gonna be using the food right away or in a cold water bath. Most food bloggers are probably familiar with this, and for a lot of recipes you’re not even necessarily giving defrosting instructions. But one where I do think defrosting instructions are important is if you are using a recipe that calls for fish or shellfish. A lot of people are buying frozen fish or shellfish and a lot of those are vacuum sealed. So when you have frozen fish that’s vacuum sealed, you actually wanna take it out of the package to defrost it. That’s because there is a certain bacteria that can produce spores that cause botulism.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh.
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, and those are most dangerous under conditions with low oxygen and temperatures above freezing. So when it’s in the freezer, it’s not a concern. But once you take it out to defrost it, then those temperatures start rising. If it’s still in that vacuum sealed package, it’s still under low oxygen. So you just take it out of the package. That’s all you need to do. Again, the risk of all of this is so minimal, but if we can set people up for the safest experience possible, I think that’s a smart thing to do.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I did not know that about the fish. That is good to know. Writing that one down for the future. So my dad too, he puts meat out on the counter. He’ll put like lunch meat, like all kinds of meat and cheese out, and then he will just leave it there and graze on it all day. When I was a kid that was just normal. But now I go visit them and I’m like, oh my gosh, you guys have got to put this in the fridge. They’re like, same thing that your mom said like you, we never died. We never got sick. Everything’s fine.
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, I know. It’s different generations and it’s true. Are these things probably going to be problematic? No, but probably not. It depends on your audience too, right? So if you have a blog that’s targeting maybe families with young kids or pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems, those are situations where food safety is even more important. So you’d probably wanna give some specific food safety guidelines. That second area that I think food safety is important for is actually cooking meats and things along those lines. I really have fallen in love with my meat thermometer. I think it’s something that should be in every, do you have one? Yes.
Megan Porta: I love mine. I love it. We use it for everything too.
Chrissy Carroll: Yeah, I think it’s just something that should be in everybody’s kitchen and it helps you know exactly when something’s done. It helps give you a very definitive timeframe and a very definitive guideline that you can give your readers on, cook it this long or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s really specific guidelines there. If you’re not sure what temperature to actually cook those meats to, you can visit sites like food safety.gov or ask.Usda.gov. Both of those have charts there where you can find the temperatures to cook different types of meat or fish. The U S D A actually has a hotline. This is super random. They have a meat and poultry hotline.
Megan Porta: What? I did not know that.
Chrissy Carroll: So it’s a phone number staffed by live people that you can call. So if you are ever confused about time and temperature for cooking, or maybe you have a question about something like sous vide recipes where that’s being cooked at a lower temperature, you can call this hotline and ask real food safety experts about what to do. That way you can get definitive information that you can provide in that blog post.
Megan Porta: That’s shocking considering the internet and how easy it is to just find information there that there’s actual humans answering that hotline.
Chrissy Carroll: I know. I was really surprised to find that, but I think it’s a helpful resource.
Megan Porta: Ooh, yeah. I love that. Yeah.
Chrissy Carroll: Then the third thing would just be how long something’s good for. So whether you make a chicken recipe or a casserole and maybe you’re putting some FAQs in your blog post and you wanna know how long is chicken Parmesan is good for. The general rule of thumb for things like that, in a home refrigerator, is typically three to four days. There are some exceptions for different foods, but if you go to that ask.usda.gov site, you can usually find some good information thereon how long different cooked foods are good for in the refrigerator.
Megan Porta: What if somebody’s listening and they’re really interested in just providing more accurate information on nutrition and they just wanna be educated a little bit? Do you have any resources for them?
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. I would always recommend looking into the path to become a registered dietician because I love this career field. It does require quite a bit of education, so you have to take specific courses at the college level. You have to do an accredited internship that has at least a thousand supervised hours, and then there is a national exam to pass. As of 2024 does require a master’s degree as well. So it is quite a hefty educational pursuit, but if you are really passionate about the nutrition field, it could be a great area for you to get into. But if you just want more personal knowledge that’s going to help you with your blog posts, there are a lot of certification programs out there that are a lot shorter and probably more reasonably priced for just that personal information. Something like the Precision Nutrition Certification or the National Academy of Sports Medicine has a nutrition coach certification. Those can be really great for people that just wanna learn a little bit more about good nutrition, about some of these terms, but that aren’t necessarily looking to work with a particular medical condition. If you really wanna work with people with certain medical conditions, that’s where going that RD route can be helpful. Then I would also just recommend it. If you are interested in providing more of this content, but you don’t wanna get the education yourself, that’s where partnering with a dietician can be really helpful. I am a huge fan of partnering with people that have different expertise than I do. So for example, on my food and fitness site, I didn’t have a lot of running injury content, but I could see that was something that I wanted to add on there. So I brought in a physical therapist that could write that kind of content, and that’s great. So I think for food bloggers that maybe wanna do more nutrition stuff, partnering with an RD, whether you wanna have them write or review nutrition blog posts on your site, or do more accurate nutrition analysis of recipes, or create or review meal plans, partner together on a program or a cooking class, there’s lots of different ways that partnerships could happen.
Megan Porta: This has been so enlightening. I feel like I’ve learned so much this early in the morning, Chrissy, thanks to you.
Chrissy Carroll: I’m so glad.
Megan Porta: This was so great. I think this is gonna be a really valuable one, kind of one of those episodes that just fills in the gaps that we didn’t know needed to be filled. So thank you. Is there anything that we missed that you feel like we should touch on quickly before we start saying goodbye?
Chrissy Carroll: No, I don’t think so. I think we covered everything.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been amazing.
Chrissy Carroll: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. I have a favorite quote. It doesn’t relate to anything I spoke about today, but I love it. It is, “wolves don’t lose sleep to the opinions of sheep.” I have it on my office board. I just think in the food blogging space, we can deal with so many trolls, so much rudeness, so much negativity sometimes, and so I just try to remind myself of that and just keep on pushing forward, keep on hustle.
Megan Porta: I love it. That’s such a great way to end. Thank you. We will put together show notes for you, Chrissy, and if you wanna go peek at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/buildawellnessblog. Tell everyone where they can find you online, on your blogs and on social media, et cetera.
Chrissy Carroll: Sure. So yeah, the Build A Wellness blog is where I share a lot of blogging and social tips. If you are a runner or triathlete looking for recipes and training plans, I’ve got all that at snackingandsneakers.com. Then I also have a content creation bootcamp, which covers a lot of SEO concepts and productivity. So I have a special coupon for any listener. If you use code Eat Blog Talk, you will get $30 off that course.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s exciting. All right, I’m gonna go check that out. Cool. Thank you again, Chrissy, for being here, and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
💥 Join the free EBT community, where you will connect with food bloggers, gain confidence and clarity as a food blogger so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS!
Want to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible? Stop by Eat Blog Talk to get the details on our Mastermind program. This transformative 12-month experience will help you accomplish more than you would be able to in 5+ years when forging ahead alone.
Click the button below to learn what a mastermind program is, what your commitment is and what Eat Blog Talk’s commitment to you is.
📩 Sign up for FLODESK, the email service provider with intuitive, gorgeous templates and a FLAT MONTHLY RATE (no more rate increases when you acquire subscribers!).