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Do's and don't's for microwaving food

HOUSTON – A study published in the Journal of Food Science cooked 20 different vegetables, finding that microwaving and baking preserved nutrients better than boiling.

Proving you can use your microwave to defrost, cook and make nutritious foods. Shreela Sharma, dietitian at UT Health School of Public Health, says there are just a few rules to doing it safely.

DO

Have a thermometer on standby. Vegetables and meat should reach 165 degrees to eliminate bacteria that can make you very sick.

Make sure the order in which you defrost and cook meat is fast and consecutive.

"While you're defrosting, some of the meat might actually start cooking so you need to cook the meat right away," Sharma, with UT Health School of Public Health, said.

Stop and stir leftovers while they're reheating.

"Then the heat distributes evenly and the food that you're cooking in the microwave is cooked evenly. Right? Because otherwise if some parts are heated more than the others, that part will cook faster than the other parts," Sharma said.

DON'T

Sharma warns against making hard-boiled eggs in the microwave.

"There's actually issues with eggs exploding in the microwave and especially after they're cooked when you're trying to open them up," Sharma said.

People should also avoid microwaving anything in a plastic container or wrapper.

She says that plastic wrap or plastic containers can begin to break down and chemicals can leak into your food.

There are no major studies showing that one or two exposures are dangerous to your health, but Sharma recommends to avoid it anyway and microwave food in glass containers or on paper plates and bowls.