June 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm
by Irina Gonzalez
I don’t know many people who truly love eating their leftovers but, ever since I became a diet success and started cooking (and dining out) healthier, it’s been one of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal. Mostly I bring leftovers for lunch at work, because it’s quick, easy and a sure-fire way to both save money and eat a well-portioned meal. But I’m not a huge fan of eating the same thing every week, so I’ve come up with a set of rules that helps me to make sure that I am not only saving a bit of money but also not wasting any food–all while staying healthy. It’s a lot easier than it sounds to actually start enjoying this kind of eating, so take a look at my top tips, below.
1. Portion it all out: The first thing I do, whether I’m cooking at home or going out to a restaurant, is I divide up my food into several portions. I find that, for lifelong diet success, I really need to not eat too much so smaller meals makes all the difference. When I go to a restaurant, I divide my plate in half and make sure to ask for a doggie bag for one half and eat the other. When I’m cooking at home, I have my tupperware ready to go and divide the meals up into several different portions for me to eat later on.
2. Freeze it if you can: My absolute FAVORITE part of eating leftovers is being able to freeze them to have at a later date. I think one of the most boring things, for most people, is that you don’t want to eat the same meal two days in a row. Trust me, I can’t really do that either. In fact, I pretty much hate it. So, instead, what I do is freeze my meals in those perfectly portioned tupperware containers (yes, that’s really the inside of my freezer) and then am able to have them whenever I want, however I want.
3. Dress it up good: Sometimes all it takes to eat your leftovers is actually changing them around a little bit. You’d be surprised how much life you can give a meal by just adding a little something or other. For instance, if I have fish or chicken leftover from a restaurant, I’ll dress that up with a side dish–like sauteeing frozen broccoli with some garlic and onions. You can also try combining dishes here and there, like leftover fish with some leftover pasta and–voila!–you have a brand new, easy dish for lunch.
4. Keep a food diary: To be honest, my biggest saving grace when it comes to healthy eating and, in particular, making sure that I eat all of my leftovers, is making sure that I am writing everything down. Whether it’s keeping a traditional food diary (what I did in the past) or doing a digital version these days, I like to make notes of what my leftovers are. I also tend to plan ahead, so I’ll note days that I am eating out and days that I’m not so that I know if I need to pre-pack something or grocery shop for extras.
Do you eat your leftovers? How do you portion out your meals? Share with us in the comments below!