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How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money

use an instant pot

We’re always looking for ways to save on meals and groceries, but have you ever thought about how the way you cook food could also save you money?

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

An instant pot is basically the modernized version of a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook the food inside. A pressure cooker is a pot that you use on the stove top, but the instant pot is an electric pressure cooker, so it doesn’t go on the stove top, it plugs into an outlet. It uses a strong clamp-down lid to seal in the contents of the pot and the heat, for some fast, efficient cooking. Now your water can boil at even higher temperatures because less heat is escaping into the air. The steam and building pressure inside the instant pot can also help your food get more moist, tender, and full of infused flavors.

In a really simple form, you can think of it as a crock pot, or a slow cooker. You put the ingredients inside, close the lid, and punch in your settings. But instead of letting your food stew in the crock pot for 4 to 8 hours, you can put ingredients inside the instant pot, close the lid, set the settings, and have your food ready in just 15 to 30 minutes.

When your food is done cooking there are two ways to release the steam inside. You can use a quick release by turning the valve at the top manually and letting all the steam out right away or you can let it go, and the steam will naturally release over time. You’ll want to use the quick release when your food is done cooking, and the natural release when you want your food to keep cooking a little longer while it cools down.

How to Use an Instant Pot
  1. heat up the pressure cooker
  2. place the food inside
  3. seal the lid
  4. set your pressure level and your cooking time
  5. release the pressure when the time goes off
  6. wait however long the recipe says for the pressure to release
  7. thoroughly clean the pressure cooker after your meal and put it away for next time

 
instant pot cooking
 

Hot Water Test

Understanding how an instant pot works is important if you’re going to start cooking with one. It is a different type of cooking since you aren’t just using heat from the stovetop or oven, you’re using pressurized heat and steam. Because of this instant pots come with their own science of cooking that you’ll want to become acquainted with before you begin using your new instant pot.

To help you understand what happens inside your instant pot while it’s cooking you can do the hot water test. The hot water test will show you how the pressure cooker works, and how much water evaporates as it cooks. Depending on what you’re cooking inside the pot, you will probably need less water than you’re used to.

  1. pour 3 cups of water into the instant pot
  2. close the lid
  3. in your settings select simply steam or pressure cook
  4. set the timer to 5 minutes
  5. when the timer goes off, turn the valve to release the pressure

Now you can see what happened to the water. Measure it and see for yourself how much water evaporates in a pressure cooker as opposed to a pot on the stovetop.

How an Instant Pot Saves You Money

save money
 

Have you ever felt the struggle of wanting to eat well, but not having the amount of time necessary or the energy to spend cooking healthy, real meals every day? We know that eating healthy has so many obvious, long-term benefits, but in our busy day-to-day lives, it can be a real struggle to eat right. Money and time constraints get in the way and we end up buying another frozen pizza or eating out again. Thankfully, with the instant pot, eating right doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes of your time.

By eating healthier every day you’ll have better health. Staying in good health can really save your wallet. Being healthier means you’ll feel more energized, get sick less often, avoid missing work, keep your medical bills low, and keep the doctor away, as the saying goes.

An instant pot can help you save while stocking your pantry as well. Cooking with the instant pot can bring you back to cooking basics, helping you eat simpler, more satisfying meals. You can easily and quickly cook rice and even dry beans! Eating this way is also ultimately cheaper. It’s cheaper to keep your pantry stocked with the basics (like rice, beans, potatoes, seasonings, and sauces etc.) that you can use to make many different kinds of meals throughout the week, rather than pay for a full meal at a fast food place.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

  • Miss work less often
  • Spend less on medical bills and doctor visits
  • Spend less time cooking meals and more time on other pursuits
  • Spend less on groceries

How to Clean Your Instant Pot

After eating your yummy, healthy, homemade meal, it can be tempting to leave the dishes undone and move on to other things. But try and not wait too long after using the instant pot to clean it out, because letting thing crust over will only make it harder to clean later.

  1. Take it apart
  2. Hand wash the outer lid and instant pot with warm soapy water. The inner pot and accessories can go in the dishwasher
  3. let white vinegar sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes to remove stains
  4. Use a small brush to get in between spaces
  5. Steam clean it, 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, lemon slices, on the steam mode to get rid of smells
  6. Dry and put back together

Tips and Tricks You’ll Want to Know

  • Replace sealing rings
  • You can get accessories like a glass lid so you can see inside
  • Bring your instant pot camping or on vacation, all it needs is a power source to cook
  • You can cook freezer meals
  • You can make popcorn
  • Get meal Tupperware and prep your meals for the week ahead of time
  • Reheat in the instant pot instead of the microwave using the warm setting
  • Use the rack to cook 2 things at the same time, like meat and veggies, or do pot-in-pot cooking
  • Use the curved end of the ladle to safely turn the release valve without getting your hands too close to the steam.
  • You can rest your lid upright by putting the handle of the lid into the rectangle opening of the handle of the pot.
  • To cook even faster, use already hot water in your instant pot so it comes to pressure even faster
  • Make a tin foil sling to put under the pot your putting in the pot so that you can easily lift your pot out
  • Get more than one stainless steel insert
  • Use some handy time-table charts to know how long things should cook
  • You can turn the instant pot onto saute mode before you put your ingredients inside in order to get it heated up and cook faster

Warnings

There are some warnings to be careful of when working with an instant pot. There are also some things you just can’t do with a pressure cooker, but don’t worry. What you can do with a pressure cooker still far outweighs what you can’t.

  • Be careful you don’t overheat it
  • Be careful of the steam
  • Keep it off of hot surfaces
  • Don’t put the appliance in the dishwasher
  • Don’t fill it more than 2/3
  • Don’t open the lid until it’s completely depressurized
  • Don’t make fried foods in a pressure cooker
  • Milk will curdle in the pressure cooker



READ MORE
Read more about how to save money on groceries, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

Find some great basic instant pot recipes, “6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes.”

Read more about Instant Pot hacks by reading the following articles:

11 Clever Hacks That Will Make You Love Your Instant Pot Even More

20 Instant Pot Hacks Every Cook Should Know

16 Genius Instant Pot Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

7 Tips for Workplace Wellness

tips for workplace wellness
 
In order to take good care of your work you first have to take good care of yourself. Taking care of your well-being will not only help you in life, but it will help you in the office as well.

  1. Get Quality Sleep
  2. Fuel Your Body Effectively
  3. Exercise
  4. Prevent Eye Strain
  5. Decorate Your Desk
  6. Learn to Unwind
  7. Have Pursuits Outside of Work

Believe it or not, but even an office job can have its own hazards. You may not think about it but everything from vending machine food and sitting all day can cause serious health problems. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to combat these workplace hazards and increase office wellness. This can mainly be done by having a work-life balance. Everyone always seems to be talking about having a good work-life balance, but what does this balance really mean? Ultimately your wellness at work is about taking care of your physical and mental health.
 

Take Care of Your Body

physical well-being
 

Get QUALITY Sleep

Sleep is a factor that greatly affects your performance throughout the day as well as your physical and mental well-being. But it isn’t enough to just go to bed and hope for the best. You don’t just want enough sleep you want quality sleep. There are ways you can optimize your sleep so that you are getting the most out of your nights.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time

This will help your body to adjust to a regular schedule. Once your body is used to this schedule falling asleep each night and waking up each morning will become much easier. Set an alarm or reminder for when you need to start getting ready for bed to help you learn to wind down at the same time each night.

Stay hydrated

You actually get dehydrated as you sleep which can cause a dry and hoarse throat in the morning, leg cramps during the night, and an overall lack of quality sleep. You lose hydration in the night through breathing or a dry or warm environment in your bedroom. Another thing that can cause night dehydration is exercising late in the evening. To combat this issue, hydrate yourself well throughout the day, keep a water bottle on your nightstand, and keep your room temperature on the colder side with a humidifier turned on while you sleep.

Fuel Your Body EFFECTIVELY

Your body is like a complicated machine and in order to work at top performance levels and feel its very best your body needs fuel that it can work with. There are a lot of foods out there today that might be quick, easy, and immediately filling, but they won’t provide your insides with the proper nutrients to function at full capacity and eventually you’ll feel this as you feel more and more lethargic throughout the workday. You can fuel your body with a lot of things, but only certain nutrients will give you effective nourishment to give you optimal health and energy.

Eat wholesome meals

Make healthy meals at home and take healthy meals with you to work. Many of your coworkers might be going out to eat every day and though this might be fun in the short term it probably isn’t beneficial in the long term. Healthy homemade lunches will improve your physical wellness and improve your spending! You can also start bringing in healthier treats for your coworkers to help improve workplace wellness as a whole.

Eat wholesome snacks

If your stomach is growling for the majority of the day, you will likely crash before the end. Make sure you have the right nourishment going into your body and it will pay off. Even simple snacks can help keep you going between meals. Nuts, fruits, and cut up vegetables can really give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Cut down on sugars

One of the biggest issues office workers fight on a typical workday is lethargy. Sugar intake can be one of the major contributing factors to your lethargy. Take note of the sugar content of what you are consuming in a regular day and you’ll see how prevalent this ingredient has become in a lot of our foods.

Then remember, while you pick your foods each day, that each gram of sugar adds to unpleasant feelings like bloating and tiredness. Make sure you take these tips to heart in order to keep your body happy and healthy throughout the workday and throughout your life. You will be grateful when you still have energy after retirement!

Stay hydrated

You would be shocked to know how much staying hydrated can improve your workplace wellness. There is nothing more important than drinking enough water throughout the day. It doesn’t matter whether it is summer or winter, your body is made up mostly of water and you need to continually replenish it. Don’t wait till you are thirsty to start drinking. It is much better to have a set amount that you plan on drinking throughout the day.

In general it is advised that you drink 8 glasses of water a day. It can help to have a designated water bottle that you keep with you throughout the day to drink from. If you have trouble getting yourself to drink enough water each day try drinking with a reusable straw. This can make drinking enough liquids faster and easier. Another thing you can do is put things in your water to make drinking water more fun! You can add cut up fruits and vegetables, mint leaves, and many other things to your water to make staying hydrated healthy, tasty, and fun.

Exercise

Exercise may seem like a dauntingly intense habit to get into, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to boost your well-being because any amount of it will help. Even if you only go out of your way to exercise 20 minutes on weekdays, that’s still better than no exercise at all.

The average person is advised to get 75 to 150 minutes of physical activity into each week. This averages out to be around 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes really isn’t asking too much of your time and there are a million ways you can get this 30 minutes of physical activity into your day without having to do crazy intense workout sessions at the gym. You can simply go on a walk, plan a hike for the weekend, go swimming, biking, or take a physical class like dancing or yoga.

Put Exercise on the Agenda

You can implement a routine of exercise into your day before or after work. Getting yourself to exercise will be easier if you schedule it into a specific time of day. In fact, a study found that working out at the same time each day made exercise more effective.

Work Out at Work!

You can also find ways to grab some exercise while you’re at work! There are hundreds of exercises you can do at your desk. Everything from simple stretches to replacing your chair with a stability ball can greatly improve your health.

Whatever you choose to do, change things up and get your body moving as much as possible. By the end of the day when most of your coworkers are crying about sore backs and tired limbs, you will be ready to keep going with your day.

Office Friendly Exercises

  • Practice good posture
  • Leg raises
  • Chair dips
  • Use weights at your desk
  • Ab workouts with your swivel chair, or stability ball
  • Lean on your desk to do planks or pushups
  • Use a standing desk
  • Go for a walk around the building
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Prevent Eye Strain

If you work in an office chances are you also get a lot of screen time at work. Staring at screens all day can put a strain on your eyes and even cause headaches and nausea after a while. But you can help prevent eye strain by getting a blue light filter on your screen, or blue light filter glasses to wear at work. It is also a good idea to take a break or two from your screen while at work to give your eyes a rest.
 

Take Care of Your Mind

mental well-being
 

Decorate Your Desk

Decorating your desk will make you happier, and liven up your workspace. You can get plants, you can set up some photos, you can decorate with cool looking bulletins and white boards, or splurge on a special mug or thermos just for your desk.

Learn to Unwind

You don’t have to pay for an expensive spa to still have your own personal spa day. There are endless things you can do to unwind and everyone relaxes in different ways. For some people relaxing may include hanging out with friends and going out. For others, relaxing may mean staying home, taking a warm bath, watching TV, or reading a good book. In order to learn how to unwind you need to learn more about yourself and what relaxation techniques work best for you.

  • Learn about mediation
  • Keep a journal
  • go outdoors
  • listen to music
  • have a spa night
  • read a book

Have Pursuits Outside of Work

It will give you a special sense of accomplishment to have your own personal pursuits outside of your job. And if you need help with funds to make your club or go on a weekend getaway you can use a Check City Personal Loan!

  • Volunteer
  • Join a book club
  • Start your own group or club
  • Join a recreational or intermediate sports team
  • Make personal goals
  • Plan vacations and getaways
  • Take a class

Having workplace wellness is all about having a work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is all about taking care of both your body and mind. If you remember these key principles of taking good care of yourself than not only will your life and health improve, but you will actually become more successful and productive at work as well!


READ MORE
Read “Workplace Wellness” from Mental Health America (MHA) to learn more ways you can improve the overall well-being of your employees.

Read an NPR report about how effective wellness programs are in the article, “How Well Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?

Read an article from Corporate Wellness Magazine called, “What is Workplace Wellness Really? “ to learn more about what workplace wellness means.

For more tips about workplace wellness, see our article, “How to Stay Healthy at Work.”

Diet During the Holidays With These 5 Tips

The holidays are a great time to take a break, kick back, and enjoy the company of friends and family. There are a lot of different reasons to love this time of year. After all, the weather is crisper, the leaves change colors, and there is more time to relax and enjoy life. The holidays are also full of delicious food, and it can be very difficult to resist. With all of the big and luxurious meals come the extra pounds. Meals are going to be heavier (especially on the holidays themselves) and people are not going to be as active (because of the colder weather). Therefore, metabolisms are going to be reduced and the natural opportunities to work off weight are going to be much less present during the holidays.

As such, it is a good idea to come up with a healthy diet plan for these times during the year when everyone around you is eating. While we do not suggest skipping Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (far from it) we just suggest a more balanced diet that is full of healthier foods. Here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions on how you can diet during the holidays while still enjoying yourself:

Make a Plan

Coming up with a plan of action is the best way to set up a diet and to be successful with it. Don’t go into the battlefield unprepared! Making a plan ahead of time will help you be more careful, avoid over-eating, and help you to make meals that are healthier and less fattening. So, what is your plan of action? We suggest you plan weekly. Plan out a balanced diet that allows you to eat healthy and still enjoy yourself.

Does your family make huge holiday dinners? Do your research ahead of time to see what food is healthy and what you should avoid. If you want to enjoy yourself, but don’t want to overeat, we have a great solution for you. Don’t show up to the party really hungry. Simply have a protein shake, or a green smoothie beforehand so you won’t be hungry enough to overeat.

What to Eat?

Consider eating more leafy green and purple salads during this season, as well as eating fruit. These are good alternatives to completely filling up and encourage good digestion and better conversion of food into energy. Eat lighter foods in order to encourage better results for your body. During the colder months your body will crave more heavy foods, unhealthy sugars and carbohydrates. Try to settle that sugar craving with healthy sweet foods like fruit and veggies.

Chew Gum?

If you are starting to get hungry, and it isn’t time to eat yet, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. This works well when you are trying to not snack on all of the food that is constantly around you during the holidays. It also brings great flavor without having to eat anything.

Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping a meal usually means splurging and eating too much later on. Don’t skip meals if you are trying to diet during the holidays. If you show up to the party really hungry, you will most likely eat unhealthy. Try and eat a balanced breakfast and lunch to avoid overeating at dinner.

Save it

Make the extra effort to eat healthy during the non-special days so you can enjoy yourself for the holidays. It is important to stay healthy throughout the year and be consistent with your eating habits. Make it one of your new year’s resolutions to consistently eat healthy. We hope you have learned how to diet during the holidays. Thanks for reading!

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