Leftovers get a bad rap — we tend to think of them as a last resort when we don’t have time to prep a meal. But, here’s the thing, leftovers can actually be a total game-changer when it comes to sticking to our healthy eating goals, especially if you turn last night’s dinner into healthy leftover meals that you can enjoy throughout the week.
We’re breaking down what you need to know about how to make leftovers go from bland to delish with these seven tasty meal ideas.
7 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Healthy Leftovers
#1 Make a “Kitchen Sink” Lunch
Ever hear of a kitchen sink meal? It basically involves taking the ingredients you have on hand and using them to make a healthy meal.
Here are some delicious ways to use healthy leftovers to create a kitchen sink dish.
- Have leftover beans or lentils from yesterday’s dinner? Why not pair them with some rice, quinoa, and whatever veggies you have on hand. Drizzle with coconut aminos for a tasty and filling vegetarian dish.
- Take whatever leftover protein you have (chicken, turkey, beef) and pair it with some salad greens, a complex carb (sweet potatoes, quinoa, rice), and a veggie.
- Whip up a filling and nutrient-packed salad with all the veggies you have leftover, a protein (chicken or salmon works well), a complex carb like quinoa, and your go-to dressing.
#2 Blend Up a Filling Soup
Make healthy leftover meals by getting creative with what ingredients you have on hand to blend up a filling soup.
Here are some tasty ways to mix and match ingredients to create a healthy soup to go alongside your favorite salad.
- Make a homemade chicken veggie soup with broth, leftover chicken, and a blend of whatever veggies you have prepped.
- Create a vegetable soup using veggie broth, leftover beans or lentils, and dark leafy greens.
- Blend up a creamy sweet potato soup with leftover cubed sweet potato, bone broth, onion, and garlic.
#3 Turn Healthy Sweet Treats Into a Nourishing Breakfast
If you have some leftover banana bread or healthier gluten-free muffins prepped and you’re not sure what to do with them, turn them into a nourishing breakfast.
Here are some mouth-wateringly delicious leftover ideas for a breakfast you’ll be excited to jump out of bed and enjoy.
- You can use banana bread to make french toast and pair it with berries.
- Cut a muffin up into bite-size pieces and enjoy it over a bowl of full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt and serve with a side of fresh berries.
Talk about delicious healthy leftovers!
#4 Whip up a Mason Jar Salad
Take any leftover salad greens, beans, lentils, chicken, salmon, or even beef you have leftover and make an on-the-go Mason jar salad. You can prep it right in a Mason jar or any portable jar you have at home.
Drizzle with your favorite dressing — we love balsamic vinegar with olive or avocado oil and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
#5 Enjoy a Stir-Fry
Making healthy leftovers is easy and delicious when you take what you have already prepped and turn it into a delicious stir-fry.
All you need is a protein, complex carb, and lots of veggies.
Here are some leftovers that work really well in a stir-fry to toss together the next day.
- Brown rice with bell peppers, broccoli, tofu or chicken, coconut aminos.
- Rice noodles with broccoli, cilantro, onion, salmon, or shrimp, tamari.
- Chicken or beef with quinoa, kale, bell peppers, garlic, and onion.
#6 Make a Healthy Pizza
Yes, pizza can be healthy, and when you have lots of veggies and lean protein leftover, pizza night just got way healthier.
Use leftover cauliflower to make a cauliflower crust or make a traditional pizza with a healthy spin by topping it with all the veggies you have in the fridge.
Need some inspiration? Here’s our guide to making homemade pizza the healthy way.
#7 Bake a Casserole
Breakfast casserole fans — this one’s for you. Turn last night’s dinner into a delicious casserole. Think broccoli and turkey or beef with dark leafy greens. The options are endless here, so get creative with what you have leftover to make something delicious to enjoy the next day.
Here are some yummy casserole leftover ingredient add-in options to get you started.
- Ground beef with cheddar cheese, cilantro, garlic, onion
- Turkey, broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic
- Chicken, kale, enchilada sauce
Make Leftover Day Your Favorite Day of The Week
With these healthy leftovers, you can make delicious meals that make leftover day your favorite day of the week.
Say goodbye to the days where leftovers were the last thing you wanted to eat and hello to making leftovers something that can save you a ton of prep time in the kitchen — oh, and let’s not forget that these hacks may be exactly what you need to help make staying on track with your healthy eating goals easier.