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Love Your Dairy Leftovers

by Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD | September 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Love Your Dairy Leftovers

St. PAUL, Minn. – Americans waste an estimated 40 percent of the food they buy. In fact, the average person wastes an estimated 25 pounds of food every month, and dairy products are thrown out more than other foods, even produce. Learning kitchen tricks and strategies to store dairy products properly can help reduce food waste.

There are many ways to make a difference, including using dairy products correctly and being creative in the kitchen. Follow these tips to reduce food waste and make the most of dairy’s nutritional benefits.

  • To toss could be a loss. Research conducted by Midwest Dairy Association found more than half of consumers don’t understand the meaning of “Sell-By” or “Use-By” dates on dairy products. These dates actually indicate peak quality, not safety. Dairy products can be safely consumed beyond the “Sell-By,” “Best-By” or Use-By” dates up to one week for milk, up to 10 days for yogurt and weeks or months for most soft and hard cheeses.
  • Know when to throw it. Discard dairy products if they have an off flavor, odor or appearance. Soft cheese or yogurt with mold should be discarded. Mold on hard cheese should be removed by cutting off a 1-inch square around the affected area and throwing it away; the rest is safe to eat.
  • Love your dairy leftovers. Rely on dairy’s versatility to transform leftover ingredients into a new creative meal idea. For example, milk and cheese can help turn tonight’s roasted turkey breast into tomorrow’s Turkey Tetrazzini with Cheddar and Parmesan.
  • Portion and freeze future meals. Soups, stews and casseroles all freeze well, including those that contain dairy products. Milk is best when used within three months of freezing and yogurt when used within two months. For best quality, soft cheeses should be used within two to three months of freezing and hard cheese within six months.
  • Put nutrition first. Many experts agree eating too many calories is a form of food waste; it can impact health and lead to chronic disease, including obesity. “Maximize food choices with healthy, nutrient-rich options,” says Midwest Dairy registered dietitian, Stephanie Cundith. “For example, milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients, and three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products have been shown to improve overall diet quality, promote good health and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.”
Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD
Manager, Corporate Communications at Midwest Dairy

As a registered dietitian and nutrition spokesperson for Midwest Dairy Council, I work on behalf of dairy farmers to communicate the benefits of dairy nutrition. In addition to Dairy Makes Sense, I am a blogger for The Dairy Report.

I write from the perspective of a working mom who recognizes the challenges families face when sorting out nutrition information and putting healthy foods on the table. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt - all proven to play a critical role in overall health and development – take center stage in my family’s meal plan. As a runner who always is training for the next big race, I also write from the perspective of an athlete. I understand the important role nutrition plays in fueling an active lifestyle and believe that dairy helps me perform at my best.

My education background may be considered non-traditional in the field of dietetics. I have an undergraduate degree in journalism. After graduation I decided to go back to school to study nutrition and become a dietitian. I joined the Midwest Dairy staff eight years ago. Before that, I worked as a hospital dietitian and a weight management coach.

I'm originally from Pennsylvania, but Kansas has been my home now for more than ten years. Favorite pastimes include traveling east to visit family, cooking, and doing anything outside - especially distance running or chasing after my nine year-old son.

Let’s talk more about dairy nutrition, health and fitness! Follow me on Twitter @scundithRD.

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