7 Ways to Reduce Food Wastage at Home

With so many suffering from food insecurity and nutritional inadequacies, it’s sobering to consider how much food wastage there is around the world, particularly in developed countries. Some of the massive food wastage that takes place occurs after harvest and during food processing, but it also occurs in supermarkets and at home. In fact, a third of all food produced ends up as wastage. Sobering statistic, isn’t it?

Food waste doesn’t merely deprive people who need it of nutrition; the food that’s tossed ends up in a landfill where it produces methane gas that’s harmful to the environment. You may not be able to control the wastage that occurs outside your living quarters, but there are ways to cut back on food waste at home. Even small changes can have an impact. Let’s look at seven ways to do this.

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Don’t Buy More Than You Need

 

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It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store and end up buying more than you really need. All the brightly colored packages and coupons that entice you to purchase, but how much will end up being tossed? Plus, most packaged foods are a poor investment in your long-term health. The risk of overbuying is even greater if you shop when you’re hungry or bring the kids along. Change your shopping approach. Plan the week’s menus ahead of time, make a list, and stick to it. Avoid the urge to impulse shop at the grocery store. Planning ahead is also easier on your budget.

Buying in Bulk Isn’t Always a Bargain

Buying items in bulk can save you money, but not if half of what you buy goes to waste. Don’t be so focused on a bargain you buy more than you need to save money. Buying in quantity only works well for items that you actually use. For example, don’t purchase five loaves of bread to get a bulk price when you know you can only use one. Some people get so wrapped up in copping a bargain, they forget that it’s not a deal if they can’t use it.

Store What You Buy Properly

Another way to reduce waste is not to let what you buy spoil before you use it. Fresh produce has a limited shelf life, and if it gets moist, its lifespan will be even shorter. If you can’t use produce quickly, buy frozen vegetables instead. Studies show that frozen produce is as healthy, if not more so, than fresh since frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of freshness. Unlike fresh produce that loses nutrients as it sits on shelves, freezing locks in nutrients. You can also freeze fresh foods – right from the garden!

Compost Your Leftovers

 

Food scraps are not something people think about, but everyone has some in their kitchen — in the fridge, in cooking pots, and on dinner plates. There are no escaping food scraps! Instead of holding onto this organic waste to rot in the trash, compost your leftovers. Composting is easy to do and can greatly reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills. If you don’t want to compost yourself, there are other options available to you. You can hire someone to do it or donate the leftovers to a local farm or pet shelter with an area where they can be used in composts. Compositing is good for the planet too.

Don’t Be Afraid of Ugly Produce

Ugly produce, produce that’s a bit deformed or not as pretty, still provides nutritional value, and you can often get it at a cheaper price. It’s a win-win! By buying ugly or irregular produce, you keep it from being tossed or wasted, and you save money too. Keep an open mind and stop looking for perfect produce and help take a bite out of food wastage.

Donate What You Can’t Use

 

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If you accidentally buy packaged produce you can’t use, don’t toss it into the garbage where it will end up in a landfill. Instead, donate it to a food bank. When you do this, you’re taking a bite out of hunger in your local area. What doesn’t work for you can be a source of sustenance for someone in need. Be part of the solution by donating to your local food bank. They’ll love you for it!

Don’t Let Your Fridge and Cabinets Fall into Disarray

When your cabinets and refrigerator are disorganized, it’s easy to let foods sit past their expiration date. Arrange the shelves of your fridge and cabinets, so that older items are toward the front and newer ones in the back. It’s easy for items to get “lost” in a vast fridge or in spacious cabinets, and go past their expiration date unused. Also, track expiration dates weekly and designate items that will soon expire as a priority. Additionally, know that many expiration dates have to do with food quality, rather than whether something is safe to eat. Know what phrases like “use by” mean.

Conclusion

Food wastage is a major issue worldwide, and reducing it is a good way to help the environment and your pocketbook. Be part of the solution and a friend to mother Earth and the environment by valuing her resources.

 

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Tips for Students to Optimize Their Time for School Work

A new school year comes with an anticipation of new challenges and upcoming work. After the first weeks of school, the work starts to accumulate along with other duties, which can make your school year more challenging and stressful than it needs to be. How does a student best perform in an environment that is crunched for time? There are several solutions you can use for yourself or your children. Here are several time management techniques to apply at school.

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Create a Regular Schedule Template

Time management for student's homeworks Agenda

You may have many assignments and projects that make up most of your day, but planning and management are still important in helping you get the things you need done on time. Set up a list of objectives ahead of your day, then organize them into a template that can be reused for future periods. A good template can help you outline what you really want to prioritize throughout the day and set the deadlines you want to have them done by. Your template is also a guideline to get you to decide which projects you are going to allocate most of your resources and energy on. Time blocking lets you hone your sights and resources on the most essential projects and assignments for your class.

Create Checkpoints Throughout the Day

Maximizing your time means being action-oriented in how you are going to start and conclude each day. Craft a plan of action for both your morning and evening routines. You can assign two hours of your morning specifically to research or writing. Regardless of which activities you are dedicating blocks to, your school work can gradually be more efficient by having specific assignments completed within an invested bubble of time.

Schedule Unique Times for the Most Important Projects

The highest priority projects deserve a block of time on their own. In this case, it is important to have time reserved to focus on your projects and get the most critical tasks done. Google calendar can be your best friend when it comes to scheduling and organizing crunch time sessions to hone in on your top-priority projects. The #focustime feature on Google calendar can be especially helpful for blocking out external alerts and notifications from other websites while you are working on a specific project.

Schedule Physical and Social Breaks

Time management take a break

A realistic and healthy academic schedule also accommodates social and rest time. Your well-being can benefit by having a good balance between school work and your social endeavors. In addition, when you have social and leisure plans set on your calendar, you can optimize your time more in completing assignments and projects.

Set Goals and Milestones

Tracking your work progress helps you facilitate projects on time and ensure you meet your daily classroom obligations more efficiently. Instead of setting long-term or extensive goals, divide them up into smaller ones to ensure you have a workable milestone to complete each day. You can start working forward with a small goal, then build it up to maximize your progress towards completing your large goal. Breaking down your goals can be valuable towards helping you complete your school work throughout the semester.

Conclusion

The common mistakes of a student are procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed by the workload of a new semester. Successful students integrate consistent strategies into making their schedule as manageable as possible. By adopting and applying the aforementioned principles into your routine, you can make you or your child’s semester something to look forward to while being productive and successful at the same time.

 

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Keep Your Kids Active This Winter With These 8 Fun Activities

The days are shorter and the weather is colder, but that doesn’t mean the fun needs to be limited! There are plenty of fun activities to keep you and your kids active this winter. From family fun as a group to individual adventures, there’s plenty of fun things to do to carry us through the cold winter months.

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Follow Animal Tracks

Les Elfes Winter camps - 8 activities for winter - animals

Animals are out and about all year long, but winter is the best opportunity to find evidence of their travels. Go on the hunt for animal tracks in the snow and try to figure out who or what made those tracks. Measure the size of the print, count the number of toes, and look for other clues that might help you find an answer.

 

Feed The Birds

Not all birds migrate to warmer climates in the winter and, for those who stick around, food can sometimes be hard to come by. Create some bird feeders with simple things you probably already have around your home. It can be as simple as a toilet paper roll or pine cone, covered in peanut butter and rolled in bird seeds. Your kids can feed their feathered friends and watch their creations in action.

Get Colourful

Pure white snow makes the perfect blank canvas for some beautiful artwork! Fill squirt bottles or spray bottles with water and a little food colouring, then send the kids outside to start creating. In no time at all, you’ll have the most vibrant snow-covered lawn in the neighbourhood! “My kids love being able to decorate their front lawn and make it their own. And, when there’s another snowfall, they’ve got a brand-new canvas to work on!” raves Alice, an educator at PaperFellows and BoomEssays.

Winter Camps

Les Elfes Winter camps - 8 activities for winter - winter camps

Getting away for day or overnight camps isn’t just for summer break! Winter camps will give your kids the opportunity to form new bonds and friendships while learning new skills and enjoying all that winter has to offer. You can find camps specific to certain sports or activities, like hockey camps, or more general camps where they’ll participate in a variety of activities.

Have Fun With Frosty

What’s winter without building a great big snowman? But, the fun doesn’t have to end when you pop on his hat and plug in his corncob pipe. Have a little fun with Frosty by taking turns trying to piece him back together while blindfolded. Try to get his buttons, eyes and nose back in the right spots without being able to see where his pieces are landing.

Light Up A Fire

Les Elfes Winter camps - 8 activities for winter - winter fire

There’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire and enjoying the company of family and friends. Add s’mores to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect night! Winter bonfires are great for keeping toasty warm and because the sun sets earlier in the evening, you can get that fire roaring sooner!

Create A Band Of Snow Angels

There’s possibly no activity that is more classic than falling back in the snow and swishing out a good old-fashioned snow angel. Why not grab those squirt bottles filled with coloured water and give your angels a vibrant hue.

Erupt A Winter Volcano

A little baking soda topped with a little vinegar makes for a great reaction! Add a little colour, and your kids can create their own winter volcano. All they need to do is build their volcano out of snow, leaving a space on the top for a cup. Scoop a few spoons of baking soda into the cup, along with a little food colouring. Thicken your ‘lava’ up with a little dish soap in the cup before adding your vinegar! “The best part about a snow volcano is that it’s quick and easy to build a new one – no need to spend the time building a paper mache volcano that just gets one use,” explains Derrick, a writer at StateOfWriting and EssayRoo.

Conclusion

There is plenty of fun all around to keep your kids busy through the cold winter months. Whether you’re all participating together as a family, or sending the kids out on their own adventures, make the most of this beautiful season.

Biography

Using her experience as a mom, Emily Henry contributes as a parenting writer at UKWritings.com and Academized.com. She also adds her expertise and knowledge as a manager at Oxessays.com.

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Education, Pandemic Learning Loss, and How to Prevent It

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning for all learners across the world in the past year. Gov. Institutions in various parts of the world have to adopt robust measures to prevent pandemic learning loss. In this article, we shall discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the education system and strategies schools can adopt to reduce learning loss in middle and high school students. 

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Triggered School Closures

At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, governments across the world announced school shutdowns. Then, some officials in the US said it would be a few weeks or months before the reopening of schools. However, an increase in new infections kept students away from learning environments for an entire year.

Educators and students had to do with other learning techniques like distance learning to avoid further interruption of the new school year. While remote learning has played a significant role in promoting academic progress, it has affected the emotional well-being of many learners. For example, anxiety and depression cases have surged, and some students have lost interest in learning. 

Estimating the Impact of the Pandemic Learning Loss on the Academic Year

The learning loss might be more significant in some subjects like mathematics. On average, students will likely lose approximately nine months of learning by the school year’s conclusion. With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations, schools are more ready to prevent continued learning loss.

Governments should lay down structures to ensure learners go back to school where possible. Enhancing remote learning will also go a long way in preventing further disruption and ensuring students catch up with the grade level they lost during school closures.

To recover, school systems should adopt post-pandemic approaches to enable students to reach their full potential. They will also need to address the lasting education policy inequities. 

Adapting to Remote Learning Realities

While some students are still learning remotely, conditions have improved tremendously. More schools have modified their outreach, teacher training, and curricula to promote engagement with parents and teachers.

According to statistics, 60% of K-12 students in Texas and New York began their 2020-2021 school year remotely, while 20% started with a combination of in-person and remote classes. The other 20% resumed in-person classes. These statistics show a mixture of approaches in different public school districts across the USA.

Maintaining student engagement in a remote setting can be challenging. Recently released data from a teaching software provider published on McKinsey shows that student engagement in remote mathematics coursework dropped by nearly 11% during fall compared to participation before the pandemic. The drop among low-income students was 16%, while high-income student engagement dropped by 2%. 

Reducing the Pandemic Learning Loss will be Challenging

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the education system in the US and other parts of the world. Many schools have had to implement strategies with no certainty on the results. Current remote learning research is established on virtual charter institutions that do not represent the public school community.

There are no proper studies to show the effect of hybrid education models on learning, student’s mental health, and limiting the spread of COVID-19. As a result, schools struggle to outline adequate learning strategies while researchers cannot anticipate the effects of current disruptions.

Based on the pre-pandemic studies of the impact of virtual learning and evaluation data acquired at the beginning of the current school year, here are some scenarios that educators should consider succeeding in reducing learning loss.

·       Lack of Progress

This scenario defines what learners would have lost if governments and schools had not switched to remote learning. With numerous improvements in place currently, education experts believe they have thwarted the worst-case scenario. 

·       Status Quo

In this scenario, students will have to remain in their current learning systems until the end of the school year. However, the quality of their remote learning will be more improved than ancient virtual charter institution performance. 

·       Improved Remote Learning

Here, students will remain in their current learning systems until the end of the school year but with tremendous hybrid and remote learning quality improvements. 

·       Back to School

This scenario, similar to the status quo, ended in 2020, after which students resumed an in-person learning approach from January 2021 to the end of the academic year. 

These scenarios will have a significant effect on current achievement gaps. Improving the quality of remote learning and reducing the length of the interruption could lower learning loss effects, especially for vulnerable students. 

How to Prevent Pandemic Learning Loss

Many schools in California and other parts of the world have adopted strategies to implement remote learning during school closures. However, more needs to be done to reduce learning loss and ensure students make up for the lost time. 

·       Target Strengths and Overlook the Negatives

According to NWEA research, many students experienced massive learning losses in reading and maths following the pandemic. The losses resulted from a bizarre pandemic that was magnified by inequities in the education system.

While schools, parents, teachers, and students are not to blame, we should avoid negative terms like learning loss, COVID slide, and falling behind. Such terms only worsen an already dire situation and create a shaky learning foundation.

By assuming an asset-based concept to learning loss, both teachers and parents demonstrate to their kids that even though they did not complete their maths curriculum, they:

  • Mustered the art of seeking help
  • Acquired time management and coping skills

In the end, learners will bring their adaptability and resilience to school, which educators can bank on to forge ahead. 

·       Work from the Bottom Up

There is no universal approach to compensate for learning loss. How then do you determine where to begin? According to the HMH Academic Planning and Analytics Senior National director Dr. Stephan Knobloch, the following planning order could work well.  

  • Develop relationships with learners, their families, and caretakers.
  • Provide equitable learning tools
  • Support teachers with continuous professional development
  • Determine vital remediation skills and begin with grade-level lessons

Dr Knobloch reiterates teachers must start at step one to make up for pandemic learning loss successfully. While you may want to leverage an adaptive software tool, it will be ineffective if students lack a computer or WiFi. A teacher who has not engaged in online teaching may not understand how to leverage technology to fill skill gaps without training, resources, and continuous support. 

·       Focus on Socio-Emotional Learning

We can leverage examples of previous unfulfilled learning. Research conducted on victims of Hurricane Katrina indicates that they experienced concentration challenges and often displayed signs of depression in the subsequent months.

Apart from supporting students’ learning efforts, teachers should also care for their emotional needs during the pandemic. Learners will have a difficult time studying if their basic needs remain unmet. Many students struggle with anxiety and fear of contracting the virus, loss or reduced family income, and food insecurity. To reduce learning loss, focusing on wellness and health is crucial. 

·       Provide Support and Scaffolds

Students have had different levels of learning loss and unfulfilled learning. Many teachers have met their students online, while others will meet them for the first time since this fall’s pandemic.

Before providing the support and scaffolds students require, educators should consider using high-quality diagnostic and standardized tests. These tests will help identify the necessary skills students require to recover from the learning loss.

Teachers can also leverage the just in time strategy to reduce learning loss. In this approach, mediation occurs as students come across grade-suitable materials. Giving students a vast range of entry points to the scaffolds, content and modified instruction is crucial in ensuring that grade-level content is more accessible.

·       Work on Grade-level Content

Teachers may want to evaluate student’s test scores immediately, remediate, reteach, or determine their skill gaps. Research suggests that these practices are not only ineffective, but they could also trigger student disconnection from school and more inequities. Remediation can have adverse effects on students who are already a grade level behind. Teachers should focus on covering grade-level content and ensure it is easily accessible to prevent more learning loss

·       Use Technology to Work on Skill Gaps

Now that many students are learning remotely or in a combination model, teachers can use technology to work on skill gaps. However, all students should have access to technology. Adaptive software tools analyse students, track their progress, and allocate particular skills. Students who have no technology access at home can use these tools at schools. Parents can also mobilize the community and nonprofit organizations to avail WiFi hotspots and other tools students can use after school.

Conclusion

Many students are struggling with pandemic learning loss across the world. Schools, parents, and teachers can use the tips here to help learners cope with the challenges and reduce losses. The journey to recovery may be challenging, but learners can make it with the necessary support. 

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