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Let's Love Leftovers!

Lynn Dugan- MyPlate2Yours

LEFTOVERS! Finding ways to use them will help reduce food waste.

Unfortunately, 40% of all food is wasted in the United States and about half of this waste comes from our households. Here's a list of ways to avoid food waste when dealing with LEFTOVERS!

Steps #1: Make a plan! Save leftovers whether from a restaurant or at home. Get them in a container and into the fridge within 2 hours to ensure food safety. Consume saved leftovers within 4 days.

Step #2: Re-heat or re-make leftovers. If you don't want Monday's dinner to be Tuesday's lunch, then be creative on how to re-make it. Leftover veggies can be used in soups, omelets or skillets. Leftover eggs or meats can be enjoyed in warmed tortillas as tacos and quesadillas. Be creative!

Step #3: Freeze them! Consider freezing leftovers to use for future meals. Make sure to label and date the container since sometimes foods become less distinguishable when frozen. Even before cooking, consider dividing larger pieces of fish and meats and freezing the extra portions for another time.

Many foods (including fruits, cheese, herbs, nuts/seeds, grains and bread) can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Peeled ripe bananas, rinsed and dried berries, washed grapes, and sliced peaches, pineapple, and mangoes can all be frozen and are great additions to smoothies (try frozen fruit in MyPlate2Yours favorite smoothie, Peanut Butter Blueberry Banana Smoothie). Fresh herbs can be frozen and used any time a recipe calls for them. Leftover grains like rice, quinoa and farro can be frozen and used in recipes; portion them into smaller freezer bags to use in a rice/quinoa bowl for a future lunch. (Leftover quinoa can be used in today's Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Egg Bake). Sliced bread lasts in the freezer, as do tortillas, pita, bagels, English muffins and more. Like my friend's Aunt Marie says, "you can freeze just about anything!"

Step #4: Prevent leftovers! If none of these options work for you, prevent leftovers by matching the amount of food you purchase and prepare to the amount you'll eat. You can also share leftovers with neighbors and friends whenever you do encounter leftovers.

Where will you start from this list to reduce food waste?

I'm looking forward to my lunch today from last night's leftovers!

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