Christmas leftovers … we face the same challenge each year; how to safely deal with these leftovers and minimise waste.
To ensure you make the most out of your leftovers and maintain nutritional value, here are our top three tips:
Chop, bag + freeze!
Yes – it’s that easy.
Chop up foods you don’t think you or your family will eat in the next day. Place small amounts (think portion sizes) into zip lock bags or containers that you have clearly marked with the contents and the date you are freezing them. Then pop them in the freezer!
- Peel and chop up fruits; these are great for fruit smoothies and desserts
- As an alternative, blend your tropical fruit and place in ice cube trays to add to drinks instead of ice
- Chop up soft cheeses; this makes an easy ‘go-to’ for cheesy sauces
- Dice Christmas meats (ham, chicken, turkey). These freeze well and can be used in omelettes, quiche, zucchini slices, soups, toasties, fried rice … so many options!
Make sure you bag / container is clearly marked with contents and date you are freezing it. This ensures that it’s easy to find in the freezer and great for meal planning. The date is important as a general rule of thumb, you should not be keeping things in the freezer longer than 3 months. The quicker you freeze your food, the more it retains its quality.
- Zip lock bags; lay them down in the freezer and flatten them out and so they are taking up less space. This means you can stack the zip lock bags up and safely fit a lot more in your freezer.
- Containers; make sure the lid is securely fastened, as the food can spoil.
Your freezer will become your best friend in dealing with Christmas leftovers, so you need to make sure it’s ready for you! Before you start stacking you newly packaged leftovers, look through it and see if there is anything in there that needs to be removed (hopefully not last years’ Christmas leftovers?). Does the existing contents need rearranging? Make sure that you are not over packing your freezer.
- Store foods that you know will not be used immediately at the back of the freezer, where the temperature is more likely to be consistent and the coldest.
- Avoid storing items in the door of the freezer, as the temperature will be affected each time the door is opened
So … now what?
Make a plan to use your leftovers. Mark a few days each week on your calendar to be ‘leftover night’. This will ensure that you are actually using your leftovers and not just taking up precious space in your freezer. Talk to your friends, swap left over recipes and make the most of your pre-cooked and ready meals!
If you have any questions about your diet and your nutritional needs, reach out to us. At Mobile Rehab, we have a team of accredited dietitians who can help you in your own home. You can call us on 1300 363 483 to make your appointment today.