How Bad Is It?

Everyone has a few so-called "unhealthy habits," so we're letting you know just how bad they really are. These faux-pas fall into one of 3 categories, Not So Bad, Pretty Bad or Really Bad.

How bad is it…to use metal utensils on a nonstick pan?

Our verdict on this habit is that it's…Really Bad! When you use metal utensils in a nonstick pan, they can scrape and flake off the nonstick coating. According to the Department of Health, these chips and scratches release toxic compounds that can have serious effects on your health. Certain chemicals found in the nonstick coating have been found to linger in the body and the environment for a long time.

We've got the solution to protect your pan and your health. Stick to wooden or silicone spatulas and spoons when using nonstick cookware. If your cookware starts to chip, toss it out! A good rule of thumb is to replace nonstick cookware every 3 to 5 years.

How bad is it…to reuse sandwich bags?

It turns out that some of you are reusing disposable sandwich bags. Some of you wash them and allow them to dry, while others of you admit to putting them in the dishwasher. Well, we're here to tell you that this habit is…Pretty Bad!

Reusing plastic food bags is a little on the risky side. Plastic storage bags could contain bacteria from previous food, your hands or even the sponge you used to clean it. These germs can multiply and possibly make you sick. Also, the plastic used to make these bags is not dishwasher-safe, so there is no foolproof way to clean and sterilize them. Your best bet for storage and food safety is to make plastic food bags single use only. If you want to reuse, aim for dishwasher-safe, reusable food containers.

We also suggest trying washable bags made with FDA-approved silicone that are BPA-free and don't break down like plastic food bags. The bags are stovetop-safe and ovensafe and can be frozen or microwaved. They're also dishwasher-safe! If you have one, they can also be used in a sous vide machine.

How bad it is…to cook a potato that's sprouted?

Our final verdict is that it's actually…Not So Bad! The reason your potato has started to spout is likely because of its exposure to heat and light. If you see the beginnings of little green, white or pink nubs, the spuds are still good to cook and eat. Simply use a paring knife to trim away the shoots, then peel and prepare them as you would for your intended recipe. To get the longest life from your tubers, store them in a cool, dry place such as the pantry, away from your onions and garlic. You'll know when a potato needs to be tossed: when they feel soft or the skins begin to turn green. Once you see them start to turn green, the potatoes will have a bitter taste and could cause an upset stomach.

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