Summer is the time to get out the camping gear and head outdoors. In addition to the hot dogs and s’mores, consider packing some of the following choices to balance out meals and snacks.
- Fruits and veggies. Sturdier fresh produce that holds up well includes apples, carrots, snap peas, and oranges. Dried fruit also makes a great snack.
- Whole grains. Popcorn is a whole grain and is an easy snack to take along. For cereal bars, check the nutrition label and choose those made with whole grain and that have a lower sugar content.
- Dairy. If you have adequate refrigeration, hard cheeses, cheese sticks, and yogurt tubes are much easier to pack than a carton of milk.
The dates provided on food products can be confusing. This confusion often leads to unnecessary food waste. Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of the best quality. To determine quality dates, manufacturers consider the length of time the food has been held during distribution and the holding temperature, the characteristics of the food, and the type of packaging used.
For example, fresh beef packaged in a reduced oxygen packaging system will stay fresh longer than meat not packaged this way. The quality may deteriorate after these dates, but the product is still safe to eat if handled properly. Open dating is used on most food, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Closed or coded dating is a series of letters and/or numbers that typically appears on shelf-stable products like cans or boxes of food. Common phrases used are the following.
- ‘Best if used by/before’ indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- ‘Sell by’ tells the store how long to display the product for inventory management. It is not a safety date. You should buy the product before the sell-by date, but you can still store it at home beyond that date as long as you follow safe storage procedures.
- ‘Use by’ is the last date recommended for use of the product at peak quality. It is not a safety date.
For more information, check out this website: stilltasty.com.