Navigating the confusing world of food expiration dates is like playing a culinary game of ‘Truth or Dare’. The ‘best by’, ‘sell by’, and “use by” labels can send a lot of us into a tizzy, tossing perfectly good because we’re worried we might get sick. But here’s the deal: lots of foods are still safe to eat after those dates have passed. (It’s not like an egg is looking at the date stamped on the carton and then instantly going bad as soon as it passes.) Here’s how you can save money, reduce food waste, and keep from getting sick by understanding which foods you can still eat long after their expiration dates have passed.

1. Dairy 

Products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are often safe to consume after their expiration dates, as long as they’ve been stored properly. Milk can last about a week beyond its printed date, and yogurt is good for up to a couple of weeks. The key here is your nose and taste buds—sour smell or taste means it’s time to let go. (Hopefully smelling will do the trick, because bad dairy is hard to untaste!) Hard cheeses like parmesan can even last months past the date if they’re kept free of moisture and mold.

2. Eggs

Eggs are another surprising resistor of the expiration date demise. They can be good for 3-5 weeks past the date on the carton. To test if an egg is still okay to eat, drop it in a glass of water. Fresh eggs sink while bad ones float. This is because as eggs age, the air pocket inside the shell grows larger as moisture and carbon dioxide seep out, making them float. (Bonus chemistry lesson—don’t say we never taught you anything!)

3. Cereal and pantry staples

Pantry items like cereals, pasta, and rice have long shelf lives and are usually safe to eat long after their expiration dates, especially if they’re kept in a cool, dry place. These items can last months or even years beyond their dates. (And they’ll generally never be dangerous. Stale, maybe, but not dangerous.) The same goes for canned goods. As long as the can isn’t bulging, rusty, or leaking (those things usually mean dangerous toxins, so if you see them definitely toss that can right away) canned foods can be safe years past the expiration date. Keep in mind that while they’re safe, these items might lose some flavor or texture as time goes on. But hey, you’re tough, right?

4. Baked goods

Bread can mold or go stale past its expiration date, but it’s often still safe to eat if you don’t see any mold. Bread can last a good week beyond its sell-by date if you store it in the fridge, and indefinitely in the freezer. Pastries and other baked goods can also last longer if refrigerated or frozen and are generally safe to eat as long as there’s no mold and they smell okay.

5. Snacks and sweets

Chips, crackers, and cookies might lose some of their crunch after their expiration date, but they’re typically still safe to eat. Chocolate can last months past its expiration date; if it develops a white film—known as ‘bloom’ from the fat coming to the surface (usually means it’s melted a little at some point)—it’s still safe to eat but might have a slightly altered texture.

6. Condiments

Most condiments are high in preservatives, so they can last much longer than their expiration dates suggest. Ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and similar products can be safe for up to a year past their date if they’re stored in the fridge. Even mayo can last up to a month beyond its date as long as it’s always been refrigerated since opening.

7. Frozen foods

Frozen foods are the champions when it comes to longevity. Things like frozen vegetables, fruits, and meats can be safe indefinitely if they stay frozen. But their quality might fade over time, so even though they’re safe, it’s still a good idea to use them within a few months of their expiration dates for best taste and texture.