An Ode to Leftovers

411leftoversLeftovers: They’re basically the greatest. Am I right?

And to think, a couple nights ago, after chowing down on some spicy sweet potato and black bean goodness, I rather cavalierly scooped the remainder into some Tupperware.

“Might be good for dinner later this week,” I thought in passing. But I know, based on my history, I was only almost as likely to enjoy that simple dish another day as I was to totally forget about it and, weeks later, wonder what, exactly, it was when I first tossed it in the fridge.

But not this time! This time, I might have saved the leftovers, but it was the leftovers that truly saved me. After several days of long swims and challenging physical therapy sessions, I woke up early this morning to take my husband to the airport. I got home, had some yogurt and fruit for breakfast, poured myself a vat of coffee, and figured I’d be set.

All morning long, however, I kept getting up from my desk and looking for something else to eat. A banana and nut butter. Some sunflower seeds. More coffee. And nothing satisfied my deep and growling hunger.

And then, a light shined down from the heavens and illuminated the path of righteousness … or at least the path to feeling full for the first time today. I glanced at the clock — 11:02 a.m. Is that too early for lunch? No! No it’s not!

As I placed the container in the microwave and began chopping up half an avocado, I silently thanked myself for thinking to add some chopped chipotle peppers to the mix before refrigerating — surely, by now, the spice will have mingled with the remaining flavors, so I had a real and true “heat and eat” meal.

Upon scooping up the steamy, spicy goodness, I came to a realization — I hadn’t just left myself leftovers for lunch. I had enough for yet another meal. You guys? When I tell you a tear of joy came to my eye, I am not exaggerating one bit. With all these morning swim workouts (which, apparently, really really rev my metabolism because they always leave me hungry), I have little doubt I’ll face several more days of temptation at the hands of the fridge, and knowing I have more filling, nutritious, and ready-to-eat-in-about-a-minute leftovers at hand? It’s kind of the best feeling in the world.

I’ve been working hard at making large, healthy, easy-to-repackage meals so that grabbing leftovers becomes more of the norm, but even so, having amazing leftovers readily available never seems to lose its sparkle.

Do you have feelings — like, you know, feelings — about leftovers? What’s your favorite leftover dish? —Kristen

Categories: From Kristen, Nutrition, TipsTags: , , ,

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  1. Oooooh, gurl, totally get you on the FEELINGS about leftovers. They are my modus operandi–I don’t really even think of them as “leftovers” anymore. I just choose one day a week to make a TON of tasty food, then reheat and enjoy all week long. Right now, it’s spicy mango chili. So simple to warm up and dig in, and so satisfying!

  2. Totally agree that leftovers are a great time saver. My favorite leftover is Chili because it’s so much easier and cheaper to make one big batch instead of a single small one. I just throw the leftovers in the freezer and pull them out a week or two later, so I don’t end up having to eat chili every day for a week.

  3. Leftovers are how I stretch my budget and how I’ve fit back into my jeans! (not sure how much I’ve lost as I don’t have a scale, I too easily become a slave to the number, but I wasn’t fitting into my jeans and now I am, yay!)

    I make a couple of meals over about a week or maybe two, and freeze the leftovers in single-serving sized tupperwares and I have three or four meals to choose from for the next month! It really saves on time and helps me overcome the temptation to get Chinese takeout when I don’t feel like cooking (hence the fitting back into my jeans! I rarely ever eat out anymore since I’ve started this cooking strategy and it’s made a HUGE difference!)