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Love your Leftovers – Starting the year as we mean to go on!

Love your Leftovers – Starting the year as we mean to go on!

What if you could do one thing in 2024 to really reduce your food waste?

Eating your leftovers could make a huge difference.

We know that 58% of people say keeping leftovers but not using them up in time is the main reason for throwing food away. And 43% of people say leftovers are the food they throw out the most.

Imagine how much food waste we could prevent if we all acted on our good intentions of saving leftovers and actually eating them!

Let’s take action in 2024 to love our leftovers!


Think INGREDIENTS, not leftovers

So why don’t we eat our leftovers?

Maybe we’re bored of eating the same thing. Maybe there’s not enough left for a whole meal. Maybe we just forget about them.

What if we thought about leftovers as the key ingredient to build an appetising meal around?

A half portion of leftover curry? Pop it in a lunchbox with pitta bread and a spoonful of mint yoghurt to take to the office! Boiled potatoes leftover from Saturday night? Spanish omelette for brunch on Sunday! Cooked too much pasta for dinner? Pasta salad for tomorrow!

By making leftovers the star of the show, we can plan to use them and look forward to eating them!

There are simple steps you can take to love your leftovers:

  • Plan meals and plan portions to avoid unwanted leftovers,
  • Store leftovers correctly to keep them fresher for longer,
  • Plan to eat leftovers so they don’t go to waste, or
  • Freeze leftovers for later use.

Let’s get started!


Plan meals to use leftovers

  • Plan your portions. To reduce the amount of unwanted leftovers when you cook, you can measure ingredients by count, by volume or by weight.
  • Sometimes you’ll want to deliberately plan to have leftovers. Make an extra portion to save for lunch the next day!
  • Plan for a leftovers night. If you know the fridge or freezer is going to fill up with leftover food, plan for one night a week when you use everything up for dinner. This works well just before you do a weekly shop!

Store leftovers correctly

  • Don’t let leftovers sit on the counter for too long. Once they’ve cooled down, pop them in the fridge.
  • Store leftovers in clear containers so you can see what you have to use up.
  • Transfer leftover tinned food to a container before storing in the fridge.
  • Know how long leftover food will keep –
    • Cooked vegetables: 4-5 days in an airtight container.
    • Cooked potatoes: 3-5 days in an airtight container.

Embrace ‘Leftover Hero Dishes’

Whatever leftovers you have to use, you can be sure they’ll be the star ingredient in one of these easy meals:

  • Omelette / Frittata
  • Curry
  • Stir Fry
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Tapas

You’ll find lots more recipes to love your leftovers here, from Jamie Oliver, and over on BBC Good Food.

Freeze leftovers & don’t forget to use them up!

  • Freeze cooked meat by putting in an airtight container or wrapping tightly in clingfilm. It will maintain quality for 2-4 months.
  • Cooked veggies with low water content freeze best – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beans.
  • Freeze in small portions so you only have to defrost as much as you need to use in future.
  • Freeze leftover cooked pasta and pasta sauce separately if possible.


Will you love your leftovers this year?

We’d love to hear about the steps you’re taking to stop wasting leftovers. Maybe you have your own top tips to share with us using #LoveYourLeftovers on social media?

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