How to repurpose holiday leftovers for a delicious week of meal planning

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Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Don't let leftovers from the holiday contribute to weight gain. Instead, try these strategies to repurpose holiday leftovers for a delicious week of meal planning

How to repurpose holiday leftovers for a delicious week of meal planning

Smart strategies for dealing with holiday leftovers

Some people look forward to leftovers and others can't imagine eating the same food for several meals. Whatever your opinion is, it is important to have a plan for how to manage them. Here are strategies and recipes for dealing with all those holiday leftovers.

Strategic Freezing

Leftovers make future meals less time-consuming. Try portioning out a lean protein, green veggie and a whole grain into a plastic container. Place this in the freezer for a lunch-to-go or dinner for a night when you'd rather not cook.

If you end up with extra desserts, try freezing small servings in plastic snack bags. It is a lot easier to avoid tempting treats when they are out of sight. And yet individual dessert servings that defrost quickly will provide a portion controlled option to quench that sweet tooth.

Repurposing holiday leftovers

Try reusing holiday leftovers and morphing them into something new. Here are a few recipes using common holiday proteins. The first recipe is Wild Rice and Leftover Turkey Soup from The Seasoned Mom. It contains wild rice which is high in minerals and dietary fiber.

The second recipe is Leftover Ham & Bean Soup from Jo Cooks. I like this recipe because it contains parsnips, which are high in potassium and white beans, which are both filling and an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Looking for a lower calorie lunch with that extra turkey? Try making these turkey salad lettuce cups (Turkey Salad with Grapes, Apples & Walnuts) from Food Done Light.

Give Yourself Permission

If you enjoy eating leftovers and your refrigerator is stocked, why not give yourself permission to portion out the leftovers and enjoy them. Many clients I work with find it is easier to stay on track if they plan out what they are going to eat ahead of time. Simply front-load the meals into your tracker by entering in the meals ahead of time. This can help prevent going over your calorie budget and prevent spontaneous eating as you will be planning out your meals ahead of time.

Have a Potluck

Finally, if you find you have an abundance of holiday leftovers, why not reheat them and invite the neighbors over for a potluck. What a great way to enjoy good company, good food, and share how everyone celebrated the holidays!

Originally published on 25 December 2018,
Updated: 20 November 2019

Holidays / Parties->Thanksgiving Holidays / Parties->Winter Holiday Season
Nov 20, 2019

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