Having trouble getting your family to eat leftovers? Eating leftovers doesn’t have to be a punishment. Save money and lower food waste with a few tips.
One of the first struggles my husband and I had when we got married was something a little weird.
It was leftovers.
I grew up in a house where eating leftovers for supper was a regular occurrence.
(My dad still wonders how my Mom was able to cook only once a week and serve leftovers the other 6 nights. Mom still puts up with him. haha)
The Hubby…did not.
Leftovers were gross, and you didn’t have them unless you absolutely had to.
(Obviously, something totally delicious was an exception.)
So we ended up with a lot of wasted food and money going down the drain.
As we slowly collected kids (we’re up to 6 now), eating leftovers became less of an option and more of a requirement.
It took some time, but I was finally able to convince the entire family that leftovers are actually a good thing.
And I think I can convince you, too.
How To Learn To Eat Leftovers (And Not Hate It)
Some Like It Hot
Early in our marriage, my husband asked me why I always wanted my food to be piping hot.
I don’t know. It’s just how I roll.
If having a nice, hot meal is important to you, too, that could be one reason you don’t like leftovers.
It’s no fun to bite into what you think is a nice hot burrito to find that the middle is still cold (or even frozen, gross).
Sometimes, warming food up on the stove top or in the oven instead of the microwave can make it taste much better.
That’s not always possible at work. But you can still try other things.
Wrap up your food in a paper towel to keep it from drying out while it heats to the perfect temperature.
Or add a glass (literally, use a glass glass) of water for the same reason.
Experiment with the right amount of time for your favorite foods so that they come out nice and hot without being overcooked.
It’s worth some experimenting to waste less food!
Give It A Makeover
Tired of eating the same grilled chicken breast? Cut it up and make a casserole or soup.
You can sprinkle a lot of meats over a salad for a cool treat on a hot day.
Put leftovers in a quesadilla. (We love this quesadilla maker…even the kids can use it!)
Make It Fancy
I hear you…
Alright smarty pants, what if you already made it into a casserole and no one wants those leftovers?
Well, there’s a trick for that, too.
You just have to make it a little fancy.
Let them sprinkle some different cheeses over the top. (It’s surprising how often that works here.)
Or, make a new topping from breadcrumbs or corn flakes.
You can get all sorts of seasonings at Aldi for a buck. Sprinkle some new flavors on the dish to give it a whole new taste.
Have A Buffet
One day I put all the leftovers we had on the kitchen counter and told everyone to wash up for supper.
They walked into the kitchen to discover that they could eat whatever they wanted!
(That’s a treat at our house. Usually I cook and you eat. We don’t do something different for everyone here.)
They grabbed a plate and filled it with their favorites of everything we had eaten lately.
If you present leftover night as a treat, the family will be more likely to accept it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should try to eat leftovers within 4 days.
(In our home, we eat them within 6 days. But never eat anything that doesn’t pass the smell and look test. And you should follow your own intuition.)
But if you freeze those leftovers, you can slow that clock waaay down. (Up to 3-4 months in the freezer.)
A lot of soups and casseroles freeze well. Then you can warm it up in the oven in a week and people won’t feel like they just had this.
If you find that you have a ton of leftovers all the time, adjust how you cook. Make smaller batches of your recipes.
Make less meat.
Once your family realizes that there’s not such an abundance, they may appreciate the food even more.
If the thought of saving money on groceries excites you, just wait until you sign up for the 30 day challenge!
Eating leftovers doesn’t have to be a punishment.
Who knew that you were just a few easy tricks away from wasting less food…
…gee, what will you spend that extra grocery money on?
How do you get your family to eat leftovers? We’d love to borrow your tricks!