Week six: Learning to love your leftovers

Week six of the Six-week Food Waste Challenge aims to reduce your food waste by getting creative with your leftovers. 

Six simple ways to love your leftovers

Here's six simple ways to love your leftovers and reduce waste. For more helpful tips, check out our Love Food Hate Waste love your leftovers and prevent food waste page

Create leftovers purposefully

When planning a meal, consider what you could do with the leftovers. Try preparing and cooking enough vegetables for two meals, or a double batch of pasta sauce. By thinking ahead, you can save time and energy in the kitchen.

Store leftovers so you can see them

Leftovers are easy to forget about unless they are placed in a location where they are seen. Invest in a set of transparent containers that you keep for leftover food. Store leftovers on the top shelf of your fridge.

Build a leftovers night into your meal plan

If you expect to have some leftover food during your meal plan period, make a plan to eat it. Dedicate one night to a dinner made up of small portions of several meals.

Eat your leftovers for lunch

The simplest way to avoid throwing away leftovers is to eat them for lunch the next day. If you don't like eating the same meal for a second day, freeze your leftovers in portions and save for another day. Leftovers make a great meal and save you money.

Think ingredients, not leftovers

Adopting a 'think ingredients, not leftovers' approach opens up enormous potential for food in your fridge and freezer. Roast vegetables can be ingredients in a quiche, salad or pasta sauce. Leftover pasta, vegetables and meat can be mixed creatively to create fried rice, a burrito or toasted sandwich filling.

Use your freezer

When it comes to reducing food waste, your freezer is your best friend. Freezing stops the growth of bacteria and increases the lifespan of food to save it from being wasted.

Frozen food quality begins to decline over time, so make sure you use your frozen food. For best results, ensure your freezer is operating efficiently (it should be at minus 18 degrees Celsius) and check that your door seals are intact.

Ideas for using up your leftovers

Check out our three ideas for using up your leftovers.

Make soup with your vegetables

Steamed, roasted and grilled vegetables can be made into soup. Puree them in a blender with three or four cups of broth and warm the soup in a pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with pesto, olive oil or croutons.

Make stock with your vegetable scraps

Keep a container in the freezer to store your vegetable peelings and scraps such as carrot skins and tops, ends of onions and leeks, wilted celery sticks, tomato cores and the stems of herbs and greens. Any produce that is past its prime, can also be added. When your container is full, defrost the contents and cover with water in a large pot. Simmer for two hours, strain the contents (you can compost the solids) and you'll have preservative-free stock which can be refrozen.

Make a salad

A gourmet salad can be made with just about any reheated cooked vegetables. Simply add cheese and meat (e.g. chicken, fish, pork, beef), toss them through some salad greens and drizzle with your favourite dressing.

Congratulations for completing the challenge

You have just completed a six-week journey that has hopefully transformed the way you look at buying and using food, resulting in less food waste and more money in your wallet.

Even if you only focus on one strategy we've covered in the past six weeks, you'll save money and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

If you're ready for another challenge, join our bonus week seven, where we'll look at composting and growing herbs.

Last updated: 9 July 2020