Leftovers are a big problem for many families. They just sit there, unwanted, until they rot and get thrown in the trash. It’s a big source of food waste, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some ways you can keep more of your leftovers from going to waste.
1. Freeze them for work lunches.
This only works for foods that can cope with being frozen and reheated, but it’s a great way to save on lunches for people who work outside the home. Freezing allows the food to stay good for longer, so no one is stuck with having the same thing for dinner one day and lunch the next.
2. Add them to other foods.
You don’t have to serve leftovers as is. Some can be combined into other foods to make them more appealing. Think soups, salads, sandwiches and stir fry. Not every leftover can be worked into something else, but it relieves the monotony of eating the same thing over again when it does.
3. Organize them.
Don’t let your leftovers get shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten until the next cleanout. Keep them where you can see them. Mark them with the date the food was made so you don’t have to guess whether or not it’s still good.
4. Have leftover night.
If leftovers are getting out of control, declare a leftover night rather than cook something new for dinner. Anyone who is capable of reheating their own food can select their own meal this way, and the cook gets a little more time off.
5. Just eat them yourself.
Sometimes it’s not worth the trouble reminding people that there are leftovers available. As you remind others to consider eating the leftovers, remind yourself too.
Stephanie, this is something I’m very familiar with. I’m a hunter by trade (I hunt for food, not for “sport”) and it’s something I’ve been learning for many years: how not to waste any of the food you get. Right now I’m at a point where if I can’t use EVERYTHING in the kitchen, I get almost angry.
An extra tip I can give is to ask family members what they think could be done with the leftovers in question. Oftentimes we just can’t think of something, but others can.