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The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow

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 ‘UHT’ labeled one lasts longer.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow

The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow

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

nytimes.com

9

Key Ideas

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 expire soon, we would assume. But the truth is a bit more complicated. Expiration dates aren’t set in stone and are in fact the manufacturer’s calculated ‘guess’ as to when its product will not be of optimal quality. The good news is some of the expired stuff you may have with you is still edible.

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 steel-cut oats will last for a year, while par-cooked (instant) ones can last even more than that.

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 due to the presence of fats in anything which is unrefined.
  • Tree nuts can go bad in a few months if not stored in a freezer.

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 freezer.

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, and at most lose some of their flavor and potency while still being edible.

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 moldiness, bad odors or cloudiness. Food packed in metal lasts longer than what is packed in a glass jar, while plastic-packed food spoils the fastest.

Soda cans stay fizzy for years, glass ones for a year, while plastic soda bottles lose their fizz in a few months.

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 mayonnaise and mustards can last even longer.
  • Ketchup can change color but still be usable for about a year. Pickles kept in their oil preservation last long even without refrigeration, while soy sauce is also usable for a good period of time.

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 ‘UHT’ labeled one lasts longer.

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, if needed.

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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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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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The Paleo Diet
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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

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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

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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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Replacing protein

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Eat Beans

Beans come in many varieties and are excellent stand-ins for meat in certain recipes.

Cooking the beans yourself provides a better flavor and texture, but canned beans are also a good alternative as convenience food.

High-Protein Grains

Grains have more protein than we think and also contains a host of other vital nutrients, especially when we eat them whole.

Some staple that fills a grain bowl is quinoa, Kamut, teff, millet, wild rice, buckwheat, cornmeal, and even pasta.

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The reasons we crave junk food
  1. The sensation of eating the food: what it tastes like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth.
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How craving are stimulated artificially
  • Salivary response: the more a food causes you to salivate, the more it will cover your taste buds.
  • Rapid food meltdown: this tells your brain that you’re not full, even though you’re eating a lot of calories.
  • Calorie density. junk foods are designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but to not fill you up.
  • Memories of past eating experiences: When you eat something tasty, your brain registers that feeling and will bring it up in the future.
Building better habits means changing your environment

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.

Nowhere is this more true than with food.

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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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