Leftovers: Meals for Days

You can tell a lot from a person if they don’t eat or utilize their leftovers. Unfortunately, throwing out leftovers is a more common occurrence than many can imagine, millions of pounds of food are wasted are tossed out per year. Yes, there is a difference from people who never cook more than required and leave nothing to spare- but people that simply throw out their leftovers, from both prepared meals and going out, are throwing away money. I grew up in a household where sayings like ‘you will eat what we provide for you’ or ‘there are children who don’t have food, so be grateful’ were common, and the result for those teachings developed into a more found respect for the food I nourish my body with. Now there are plenty of people who look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers all year, because of how delicious holiday dinner food can be; but why limit this practice to just the holiday season? In this brief article we’ll dive into utilizing leftovers.

Leftovers are delicious, leftovers are efficient, but leftovers can be boring- simply because we don’t recreate the dish we made. A person can only eat the same thing twice or thrice before it becomes mundane, this is why leftover meals must be transformed. There are so many leftover dishes that can be recreated into whole new flavors without having to spend hours prepping. Utilizing leftovers is a quick way to throw a new meal together that will save both time and money, without sacrificing flavor or nutritional value. One method is making some stir fried veggies; these can literally turn them into any dish. From noodles to rice, quinoa, bulgur, and pasta, you name it. Another favorite is turning a multi grain medley into fillings for burritos, piroshki, stuffed peppers, or anything that needs a filling. That method can be used for veggies, any grains, or sauces as well. For adults, the leftover aspect of a bulk meal is a great alternative for lunch; even for kids this method works great for one aspect of their lunch meal. The bulk leftover lunch method is by far one of the easiest ways to save money during the busy work week.

When going out to eat, a top deciding factor in the decision of where comes with the thought: how much leftovers will we have? There’s nothing like doing out to eat and having leftovers for an additional 2-3 meals. There are tricks and methods to optimizing what foods you get as well. But For example, if my significant other and I get pizza, we’ll get a partially baked cheese for pick up; when we get home, we simply add our own veggies onto it and finish the baking process. The money we would use on the extra toppings would be wasted. Another would be if we get Mexican food, we’ll try and get fajitas and save some of the veggies, and if we get another dish we’ll save the sides and share the fajitas. The basic ideology is ensuring we’re taking home as much food as possible to be utilized for another dish. Anytime we order out we try to pick our top two dishes, then we share and save both for a lunch  or even dinner the next day. There are certain foods, like Indian or big communal meals that taste even better after a night of marinating in the fridge. Certain foods however don’t usually taste as good, like fries. But these types of foods can be restored if you cook them right, like in the oven opposed to microwave. Many leftovers, when baked, taste better and come out with a fresher flavor. This trick especially aids in reheating foods that might have gotten soggy, just bake them until that moisture cooks outs. In all honesty, we avoid most foods like burgers etc that get soggy because we’d rather just make our own.

Simply put, leftovers are awesome. Utilizing leftovers are a great way to save money and time. Reusing your meals starts with planning them out. There are plenty of recipes to explore that will help you along this journey. Leftovers are an excellent tool at staying disciplined in your goals of living a healthy lifestyle. All it takes to utilize leftovers is a little change in approach.



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