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15 Easy And Fun Outdoor DIY Projects You Can Do In Less Than An Hour

15 Easy And Fun Outdoor DIY Projects You Can Do In Less Than An Hour

Outdoor DIY projects are very divisive: some people love spending time outside and getting their hands dirty, while others hate the idea of spending hours exposed to the elements with only a tool kit for company. The good news is that even if you fall into the latter camp, there are still plenty of fun backyard DIY projects that you can do in less than 60 minutes. Try one (or more) of these projects when you feel like getting some fresh air but don’t want to spend the whole day in the sun.

1. Do Some Landscaping Along Your Walkway

    If you have a path leading up to your front door, spruce it up by adding some plants as a border along the edge. You’ll want to choose a hardy plant that can handle being stepped on and doesn’t require a lot of care, or else an initially short DIY project could become more work than you intended. Creeping Jenny is a popular option if you’re looking for ground coverage, while geraniums are great if you’re looking for a little more color. Find more suggestions for walkway plants here.

    2. Make an Outdoor Tic Tac Toe Board

      Source: chickenscratchny.com

      Set up a giant tic tac toe board for your kids using only a wood round, smooth rocks, and yellow, black, and red paints. You can paint lines on the wood round to create your board while you paint the rocks to look like bumblebees and lady bugs.

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      3. Create Fire in a Bowl

        Source: 1.bp.blogspot.com

        Maybe you don’t want to tear up your yard or invest the time necessary to build a fire pit, but you can still add a cozy touch to your next patio get-together by setting up bowls with flickering flames. This project should only take about half an hour, and you can learn how to do it here.

        4. Turn a Plastic Bottle into a Succulent Hanger

          Source: whipperberry.com

          The next time you have a medium or large plastic bottle hanging out in your recycling bin, turn it into a succulent hanger by cutting off the narrow top section and filling it with soil and pea gravel. All you have to do is purchase several small succulents (which require very little maintenance) and plant them in the containers, then poke two holes in the side of the bottle in order to thread twine through. If you’re ambitious, you can also use acrylic craft paint to decorate the bottle.

          5. Make a PVC Pipe Towel Rack

            Source: cutediypins.com

            If you have a pool in your backyard, you can make a towel rack using only PVC pipes, a PVC saw, and 12 T-fittings that are the same size as the pipes. That way, your family can keep their towels off the ground and use them longer! Get the instructions here.

            6. Make Your Own Citronella Candles

              Source: blog.sndimg.com

              Why not choose a DIY project that will benefit you, your friends, and your family the next time you want to sit outside on a summer evening? Follow this step-by-step guide to make your own citronella candles in order to ward off mosquitoes.

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              7. Make a Hanging Basket Garden

                Source: abeautifulmess.typepad.com

                If you have a green thumb but limited space in your yard, you can create a hanging basket garden by running twine through sturdy, woven baskets, filling those baskets with soil, and adding plants. Just make sure that your baskets are large enough for your plants but not so large that they’ll be extremely heavy once you add the soil.

                8. Pitch a Hula Hoop Tent

                  This is a great project for parents and kids to do together. All you’ll need are hula hoops, old sheets, scissors, and safety pins for the actual tents, plus blankets and cushions to sit on underneath. Get detailed instructions here and give your kids a cool, shady place to hang out in the backyard.

                  9. Make a Movie Screen Out of a Bed Sheet

                    Source: pvcplans.com

                    If you have an old white sheet or tarp lying around, transform it into a projector screen for an outdoor movie night. All you have to do is sew down the sides of the sheet to get the screen size you want, insert eyelets on each side of the top of the sheet, and sew in PVC pipes to create the frame. Then you can just use twine or rope to suspend the screen from a tree or other outdoor structure.

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                    10. Build a Backyard Tandoor Oven

                      Source: food52.com

                       

                      Did you know it’s possible to turn a terra cotta flower pot into a tandoor oven for naan and other flat breads? Or that this complicated-sounding project can be completed in roughly an hour? You can learn how at Food52.

                      11. Make a Bird Feeder Out of an Old Bottle

                        To complete this project, you’ll need to use screws or wood dowels to connect two small wooden planks at a right angle. You’ll then need to add two wire loops to the vertical board—one near the neck of your glass bottle and one near the bottom, so that the bottle is suspended 3 or 4 inches above the bottom board and the birdseed will be able to flow out into a bottom container gradually.

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                        12. Turn Mason Jars into Outdoor Lights

                          Source: cdn.hometalk.com

                          Illuminate your deck or patio by creating solar mason jar lights, which are incredibly easy and inexpensive to make and can typically be completed in half an hour or less.

                          13. Paint Cinder Blocks to Create Outdoor Coffee Table

                            Source: buzzfeed.com

                            We normally think of cinder blocks as unattractive, but they don’t have to be. Throw down a drop cloth, choose a wide paint brush and a color paint that you like, and spruce up a couple cinder blocks. You can then turn two cinder blocks on their ends (so that they’re taller than they are long) to make an outdoor coffee table, or turn several painted cinder blocks into planters for colorful flowers.

                            14. Paint Your Patio Tiles

                              Source: abeautifulmess.typepad.com

                              If you like the idea of a painting project and have a tiled patio that you want to give a modern look, you can transform several squares using latex floor paint.

                              15. Create a Border for Your Garden Using Wine Bottles

                                All you’ll need to do is dig a trench (about 8 inches deep) around your garden, line the far edge of the trench with either aluminum flashing or landscaper’s plastic edging, and then place your wine bottles top down in the dirt against the edging or flashing. Just be sure you rinse out your wine bottles and remove any labels or plastic first!

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                                Last Updated on July 28, 2020

                                14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

                                What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

                                The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

                                Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

                                It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

                                Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

                                In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

                                Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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                                Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

                                1. Quinoa

                                GI: 53

                                Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

                                2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

                                GI: 50

                                Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

                                3. Corn on the Cob

                                GI: 48

                                Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

                                4. Bananas

                                GI: 47

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                                Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

                                They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

                                5. Bran Cereal

                                GI: 43

                                Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

                                6. Natural Muesli

                                GI: 40

                                Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

                                7. Apples

                                GI: 40

                                Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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                                8. Apricots

                                GI: 30

                                Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

                                Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

                                9. Kidney Beans

                                GI: 29

                                Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

                                10. Barley

                                GI: 22

                                Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

                                Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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                                11. Raw Nuts

                                GI: 20

                                Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

                                12. Carrots

                                GI: 16

                                Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

                                13. Greek Yogurt

                                GI: 12

                                Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

                                14. Hummus

                                GI: 6

                                When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

                                Bottom Line

                                If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

                                More Tips on Eating Healthy

                                Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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