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4 ways to make the most of leftovers

Most of us don't usually eat our leftover food, probably more often than we'd like to admit. We don't want to eat the same thing again, or it gets pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. This can result in a good deal of unnecessary waste of both food and money. And as a major emitter of greenhouse gasses, lowering your level of food waste seriously reduces your carbon footprint as well. 

If you want to start utilizing your leftovers more fully, here are four of the best ways to save and reuse your leftover food. 

1.  Freeze for Future Meals

Let's face it, many of us have busy schedules, and it's not always easy to cook healthy homemade meals every day. However, if you cook in larger batches, you can freeze a portion of the meal for future use. 

You might be eating the same thing a day or two later, but it's a lot less work to have quick leftovers than prepare a new meal. Consider freezing your leftovers once or twice a week for future meals, so you don't get tired of always eating the same food two days in a row.

One of the easiest ways to store food is vacuum sealing it. While you can also use glass and plastic containers to store your food, you can be sure you won't encounter any messy leaks with a vacuum sealer. Since it sucks all the extra air out of the bag, it will also help you maximize storage space in your freezer. 

There are several styles and sizes to choose from, so make sure to pick the best vacuum sealer to keep your food as tasty as possible for a few days. 

2. Repurpose Ingredients into Stir-Fry 

Stir-fry is often a catch-all for leftovers. It's hard to go wrong, no matter what you put in it. Vegetables that tend to work especially well are leftover onions, peppers, carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms, but you really can use anything. All you need to add for a simple stir-fry is a little oil for cooking, some soy sauce, and a bit of rice to serve over. 

The trick to a successful stir-fry is adding your vegetables in the correct order. You'll want to add your veggies to the pan in batches from least delicate to most delicate. This way, the denser vegetables can cook fully, and more sensitive vegetables won't become overcooked or burned. 

3. Make Hearty Soup

Soup is an incredible way to use your leftovers, especially when you don't want to put in a lot of effort. To make your soup, add your leftover veggies and meats to a pot of stock and perhaps add additional seasoning. Then simmer your soup until everything is heated thoroughly and has melded together. 

While you can always use store-bought, using your leftovers to make soup stock is a great way to utilize even the smallest scraps. Whether you want to make vegetable stock or try it with a type of meat, the core process will remain the same. Boil your scraps in a pot of water with a little salt. Simmer for a few hours and then cool and discard any solid remnants. You can use your stock right away or freeze until you're ready to make soup. 

4. Blend into Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to utilize any fruit scraps you want to get rid of. You can use whatever fruit you have and blend it with any yogurt or milk. If you are looking for a more hearty smoothie, try adding some peanut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, or oats.
If you're looking for something a little less sweet, try making a green smoothie. Green smoothies are delicious ways to get in your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. You can add spinach, kale, celery, or avocados to your basic smoothie mix for an added energy boost. 


There's no need to eat the same meal twice in a row. There are many delicious ways to use your leftover food and transform it into something new. Using your leftovers as an opportunity to cut down on food waste will be beneficial for the planet as well!

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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