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Five creative ways to use leftovers and avoid wasting food



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There’s nothing as exciting as trying out a new recipe or preparing your favourite meal and sitting down to enjoy it. But what happens to the leftovers? Do you throw them away? Do you save them for another meal? And if you do, how do you make those leftovers as tasty as the original meal?

What you do with leftover food and ingredients contributes to how we care for the environment. Vegetables that have been thrown away release methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming.

On the other hand, you work hard to buy that food. Throwing it away is a waste of money.

Being clever about how you store your leftovers, in clear containers, will help you remember that they need to be eaten before they go bad.

Below are creative ways you can use leftovers to reduce waste and save some money.

1. Plan ahead

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Think about what else the ingredients can be used for. Don’t think about them as leftovers but as ingredients instead which can form a part of another meal or as lunch you can carry to work the following day.

For example, cooked rice is a good base for other dishes like chicken, vegetable and egg fried rice.

When making a new recipe that calls for certain ingredients that you know you will only use that one time, consider using alternatives that you are sure you will use again and again.

2. Bread

If you are forced to buy a large 800g loaf of bread, divide it into portions large enough for your family to eat in one sitting and store the rest for subsequent breakfasts.

Stale bread can be dried (on your countertop, in the sun or oven) and crushed to make breadcrumbs for recipes like chicken in breadcrumbs, stuffing, meatballs, etc.

3. Vegetables and fruits

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Add bruised or wilting fruit and vegetables to your smoothie ingredients and make a healthy breakfast.

Overripe bananas and apples can be peeled and frozen and used later in smoothies, baking and pancakes.

Blend overripe fruits like mangoes, avocadoes, pawpaw and drying oranges to make a fruit juice.

If you chop too many vegetables for a meal, keep the excess in a container and use them the following day in an egg omelette.

4. Fish

Flake fish and combine it with boiled potatoes, onions, dhania, salt and seasoning of your choice to make fish cakes.

5. Chicken and meat

Leftover fried, roasted and grilled meat and chicken when shredded, can be used in sandwiches, salads or in soups and stews.

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