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6 Ways to Prolong the Shelf Life of Food and Save Your Money

6 Ways to Prolong the Shelf Life of Food and Save Your Money

It’s estimated that the average person in North America and Europe will waste over 200 POUNDS of food in a year, be that through disposal of items that are no longer appealing, or because we’ve allowed things to rot in our fridges and cupboards. Can you imagine going grocery shopping, buying 200 lbs worth of items, and then tipping your purchases right into a landfill site? The image is rather appalling, isn’t it? Not only is it a startling waste of money, but it’s also incredibly disrespectful to the sources of our edibles: the animals that produced them; the farmers who worked hard to tend their fields so we have enough to eat; the many people who are involved with cooking and producing pre-made items that stock the shelves at our supermarkets.

These simple actions can significantly decrease the amount of food that will go to waste in your home. They might not all be viable for your living space or personal schedule, but just putting a couple of them into practice should make a marked improvement.

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Defend Your Dairy!

luxury cheese

    If you’ve shelled out a fair bit of cash for really good cheese, you won’t want it to go manky overnight. Try soaking cheesecloth in whiskey and wrapping your cheese in it before placing it in a plastic bag, or else cover it with a layer of waxed paper followed by a layer of aluminium foil before storing it. To make milk and cream last longer, you can add a pinch of salt to the carton or bottle, and you can freeze butter to extend its freshness.

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    Don’t Store Apples in the Fridge

    apple in fridge

      This may sound counter-intuitive, but there’s a good reason behind it: apples give off ethylene gas, which will wilt and spoil other food around it. Remove your apples from plastic bags, and store them in paper inside a cool, dry cupboard instead. If you have a cold cellar or pantry, you can pack them in layers of fine sand as well: take a wooden barrel or box, line it with the kind of sand used for children’s sandboxes, put in a layer of apples, cover with sand, and repeat until they’re all covered. This will keep them in a fresh torpor for months.
      *Note: you can use that sand technique for root vegetables like carrots, beets, etc. too.

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      Ditch the Plastic

      fruit in plastic bag

        Be sure to take fruits and vegetables out of their plastic bags  before putting them in the crisper, as the trapped humidity will make them rot in no time flat. In fact, there aren’t many items that need to be purchased in plastic to begin with. Most produce can just be put in your reusable bags when you go shopping, but if you’re keen on keeping things separate, consider picking up some of those organza gift bags that are available at most dollar stores, and re-use them every time you go shopping. You can store your produce right in them as they’re breathable, and will keep things corralled neatly.

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        Freeze It

        peeled banana

          If you buy something and then realize you won’t be able to use it before it goes bad, put it in the freezer. There are very few food items that don’t freeze well, and though some may change consistency a little bit and will need to be used in a different manner than you’d originally planned, at least they’re not going to waste. Just be sure to label them with the date you froze them and try to use them within 6 months.
          To freeze bananas, remove them from their peels and then wrap them individually in plastic or aluminium until you’re ready to add them to baked goods or smoothies. Tomatoes can be stored whole in the freezer, but be sure to thaw them in a container as they get really goopy when defrosting—the good news is that they’ll slide right out of their skins, so they’re perfect for sauces and stews.

          Put It Behind Glass

          pasta in jar

            Have you noticed that dry goods such as cereal, nuts, and pasta can get stale and mealy if you leave them in the cupboard for too long? Even if you keep them in their original containers, once they’ve been opened, they’ll absorb some of the humidity that likes to linger around kitchens. Every time we cook something, or boil a kettle for tea, those water molecules dance around the room and into our dry goods.
            Glass containers with tight-fitting lids are perfect for keeping dampness out of dry food, as they’re impermeable and have no absorbent bits that can soak up moisture and sneak it into your granola. When you buy dry ingredients, transfer them into these glass containers and keep them in the driest cupboard in the house (usually the one that’s furthest from both the stove and the sink. You don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on fancy containers either: large glass mason jars with screw-top lids work just fine.

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            How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

            How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

            Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

            But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

            Sight – Visual Stimulation

            The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

            1. Maximize your exposure to light.

            Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

            Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

            2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

            Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

            Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

            Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

            3. Take note of your environment.

            Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

            By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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            Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

            What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

            4. Engage in conversation.

            Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

            Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

            Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

            Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

            5. Listen to upbeat music.

            Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

            Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

            Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

            If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

            6. Work your nose.

            Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

            If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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            Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

            Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

            If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

            7. Have a good breakfast.

            Start off with the most important meal of the day.

            Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

            Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

            Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

            20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

            8. Drink lots of water.

            Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

            So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

            How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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            Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

            3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

            9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

            Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

            Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

            Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

            25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

            Touch – Tactile Stimulation

            Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

            10. Splash cold water on your face.

            Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

            This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

            5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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            11. Use acupressure.

            Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

            Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

            12. Get moving.

            Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

            And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

            You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

            Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

            Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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