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The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow

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https://www.nytimes.com/article/expiration-dates-coronavirus.html

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The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow
The first thing you should know? The dates, as we know them, have nothing to do with safety. J. Kenji López-Alt explains.

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The Expiration Date

The Expiration Date

The Lockdown has forced us to keep our Supermarket trips to a minimum, and finally check what’s been lying in our fridge/pantry for months, or even years.

Most of the stuff we have would ex...

112 SAVES


Vinegar, Honey And Oats

  • Vinegar, honey, vanilla and many other extracts, along with sugar, salt, corn syrup and molasses will last years after they are showing expired on the package.
  • Oats: Rolled and ste...

103 SAVES


Flour And Nuts

Flour And Nuts
  • White Flour lasts quite long but whole-wheat and whole-grain flour start going bad after a few months. Anything refined and ‘white’ lasts longer than anything unpolished and brown. This is d...

98 SAVES


Bread

Processed bread (with preservatives and oils) stays soft and fresh for a week, but real bread made in a real bakery will be stale in one or two days. It’s a good idea to keep your bread in the free...

92 SAVES


Beans And Spices

Beans And Spices
  • Dried beans and lentils can last for years but can be tough to cook if they are kept too long, especially with acidic ingredients like molasses or tomatoes.
  • Spices don’t go stale, an...

97 SAVES


Canned Food And Soda

Food packed in aluminum cans, if not punctured or spoiled externally, can be edible after their expiration dates in case of fruits, veggies, or meats, though you have to be cautious and check for m...

96 SAVES


Oils And Ketchup

Oils And Ketchup
  • Oils remain usable for years, but one has to check for fishy, soapy or metallic smells. Touching a spoiled oil feels tacky, too.
  • Salad dressings last for months in a fridge, while ma...

98 SAVES


Milk And Eggs

  • Eggs can last up to 30 days more than the 30 days stamp on most of the cartons, and give off a distinctive rotten smell to warn you in case they turn bad.
  • Milk is trickier, but the ‘...

97 SAVES


Baby Food

Baby Food

Baby food, due to its sensitivity, carries a federally mandated use-by date. You may not feed it to babies after the expiration date, but you still can eat it yourself for some nutritional benefit,...

99 SAVES


SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Best foods don’t have labels

Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables

The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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Understanding how long food lasts

Understanding how long food lasts

Should humanity face a nuclear apocalypse of worldwide war, we need to understand which foods might be safe for survivors to eat, and how long the foods will last.

To understand this, we ne...

Why foods go bad

Most foods spoil because of the growth of microbes. Preserving food is an attempt to limit microbial growth. Food can be preserved by drying, salting, chilling, or storing in air-tight containers.

  • Drying is the most effective because microbial growth is inhibited.
  • Salting is effective because it removes moisture, creating an environment where microbes cannot survive.
  • Sugar coating can prevent bacterial cells from functioning correctly.
  • Storing in air-tight containers is less effective because there are probably a lot of microbes on the food before you put it in the container. Some microbes are anaerobic, meaning they don't need oxygen.

Food preservatives

Preservatives are used in foods to extend their shelf lives. One of McDonald's Big Mac in Iceland is an example of a long-lasting processed food. It has been on display since 2009, in a glass box. Preservatives that has been discontinued by McDonald's are:

  • calcium propionate that prevents mold growth on bread.
  • sorbic acid that also inhibits mold from cheese
  • sodium benzoate, which inhibits the growth of bacteria in the Big Mac special sauce.

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet

The basic concept of the paleo diet is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.

Studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improveme...

A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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Ultra-Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods like white bread, cereal, chips, and wafers are remarkably common, convenient, affordable, extremely profitable for the makers, come in strong flavors and are aggressively ma...

Our Everyday Foods

We consume ultra-processed foods every day without even realizing it.

  • The morning cereal and flavored yogurt.
  • The savory snacks and sweet baked goods.
  • The vegan hotdog and the chicken nuggets available on the street.
  • The doughnut or the premium protein bar we buy as a snack.
  • The carton-packed almond milk put in our coffee or the diet coke we have.
Apart from obesity, ultra-processed foods are responsible for depression, asthma, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer.

More Light On Ultra-Processed Foods

Most cooked foods can be termed as 'processed foods', but ultra-processed foods are in a different domain, with few people having the clarity to differentiate.

A cooked carrot is processed food, but a bag of industrially-produced, carrot-flavored veggie puffs are ultra-processed and are still aimed at toddlers as a portion of natural food. Other examples include frozen peas or pasteurized milk.

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Body rebellion

Drastic or too-strict diets can trigger mood swings, headaches, physical and mental fatigue, irritability, digestive upset, and brain fog...

Hunger

Chronic hunger generally indicates that your diet is imbalanced or inadequate, which can cause your body to conserve energy and resist weight loss.

Include healthy foods that boost satiety and keep you fuller longer, namely those high in lean protein (organic eggs, poultry, fish, beans and lentils), fiber (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils), and good fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive and coconut oils). 

Cravings

Trying to be "perfect" week after week typically leads to feelings of deprivation, resentment, even anger or depression, and culminates in either binge eating, or diet abandonment.

Ditch the "all or nothing" mentality. In that mindset, one small diet deviation triggers thoughts like, "Well, I blew it, I might as well go all out!" which keeps you stuck. Allow yourself small splurges in ways that reduce the chance of overeating.

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Brand name products

You don’t have to spend money on the big brand names.

Your local grocery or drug store might have a store brand or sell a generic version. In most cases, the ingredients are pretty muc...

Basic car maintenance

You do not need a professional mechanic to sort out many of the simpler car problems.

There are all sorts of easy and helpful instruction videos available to repair or maintain your car for cheap.

Shopping when you’re hungry

We are more susceptible to buying stuff we don’t need when we are hungry. The same goes for a leisurely grocery trip. 

Make your shopping trip when you have other errands to do and a limited time to do them. You will be less likely to spend time exploring and picking up items that you did not originally plan to purchase.

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Vegan fast food

Vegan fast food alternatives may often be worse for your health than the meat equivalent. It is good that people start to think about plant-based foods, but the danger lies in thinking t...

Plant-based protein menus

Plant-based protein sources are not the same as animal protein sources. Proteins are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of every cell and hormone in our body. Meat protein contains all nine essential amino acids, whereas plant-based protein usually lacks at least one of the nine essential amino acids our body needs.

Unripe jackfruit makes a convincing choice for pulled pork alternatives, curries and burgers. But it is almost valueless if you needed protein since jackfruit consists of carbohydrates. Vegan burgers are made up of beans, but this is not a complete protein source.

Iron content

One study found that 25% of vegans (mainly women) had very low blood iron levels, compared to 0% of omnivores.

Plants like whole grains, legumes and spinach are high in iron but is not always the best type. Animal sources contain haem iron. Non-haem iron, found in plants, is not as well absorbed by the body.

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Stay Hydrated

Do:

  • Keep in mind that the usual recommendation is eight glasses per day of fluid.
  • Set regular reminders to ensure we are hydrating our bodies.
  • You ...

GO Foods

GO foods give us the energy to be active, work, and fight diseases.
From this category: rice, pasta, bread, and root crops. They release energy more slowly, fuelling you for longer and helping to maintain your weight.

GROW Foods

Grow foods help our body with physical growth and help the body rebuild after diseases and infections.
From this category: meat, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. They are often required in small amounts but are essential to be consumed daily.

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