How To Repurpose Leftovers

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I am a big believer in leftovers.  I think that they play a big role in eating good, healthy meals all week long, as well as helping keep food costs down.  I only cook for two people, but I tend to cook like there are four of us and make extras to have for lunches throughout the week.  One thing that I have noticed though is that people tend to get bored of eating the same thing over and over again.  If you get bored with having the same food, you might be more likely to switch back to your unhealthy eating habits.  Because we don’t want that, I wanted to share just a few ways that you can repurpose your leftovers and make a whole different meal with just a few minor adjustments.

 

 

Meats 

This might be one of the easiest things to turn into a different meal.  Summer time is the perfect time to pull out the grill and BBQ some meat.  When you do this, make sure to throw a few extra pieces of whatever you’re making onto the grill.  Now you have some extra meat to turn into lunches or dinners for the week.

  • Shred chicken or pork and make a stir fry by adding it to some vegetables, brown rice, and soy sauce.
  • Slice up steak or chicken and add to a salad
  • Use fish to make some simple fish tacos.  Just add some salsa or corn, cilantro, and squeeze a little lime juice over everything
  • Make a chicken salad with shredded chicken, celery, avocado and mustard
  • Add any kind of meat to a frittata

Vegetables

If you do your meal prep over the weekend, make sure that you cook up some extra vegetables however you like.  Grill, roast, or saute them and you can use them for meals throughout the week.  Summer time also means the garden is full and your farmers market is in full swing, so you might be loaded up with extra vegetables.  Here are some ways you can repurpose your vegetables for leftovers.

  • Roasted root vegetables, like sweet potatoes or parsnips, can be added to salads or cooked grains for a simple lunch
  • Root vegetables are also really good pureed into soup or a sauce for pasta.  Add almond milk (or whatever milk you like) for an extra creamy texture
  • Grilled eggplant can be made into a simple baba ganush
  • Grilled zucchini or summer squash can be added to tomato sauce for extra texture and flavor
  • Cooked vegetables can be added to stir frys, soups, frittatas, or sandwiches
  • If you have an overabundance of cooked vegetables, you can also freeze them to be used later

 

Grains

Grains are a great thing to cook in big batches and then just add to meals throughout the week.

  • Grains make a really good bed for stir fry, vegetables with sauce, or cooked meat
  • Add your favorite grain to a leafy salad for a new variation
  • Leftover pasta?  Use it up by making cold pasta salad.  Toss your favorite pasta with some olive oil, seasonings, and vegetables like cherry tomatoes or avocados for a delicious summer meal
  • Try adding cooked grains to your lettuce wrap for extra texture and oomph

 

Fruit

Fruit is also pretty abundant this time of year and you can make it into a few different meals throughout the week.

  • Use leftover fruit salad as a cereal, granola, or yogurt topper for breakfast
  • Freeze leftover fruit and use in smoothies or added to water for extra flavor
  • Make a quick toast topping by mashing up leftover berries and adding a little honey/cinnamon
  • Turn frozen leftover fruit into sorbets by blending them in a high powered blender or food processor

 

There are a ton of ways that you can vary your leftovers so that you don’t eat the exact same meal every single day of the week.  With just a little bit of prep work, you can have the makings of a healthy and new meal each day.  Get creative and see what you can make out of the meals in your fridge!

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