Dealing with Leftovers

Thanksgiving is a time to slow down and think about all that we are thankful and grateful for and to reflect on the many good things in our life. It is a time to share a delicious meal with loved ones and dear friends…and if we aren’t careful, it can be the meal that keeps on giving as we work our way through days of leftovers.

Thanksgiving Turkey
Thanksgiving Turkey / Jim Capaldi / CC BY 2.0

This year I have a plan for dealing with extra holiday food. Here are ten tips I think are perfect for managing the excess….just another thing to be grateful for.

1. Ask everyone to bring a container with them that can be used to pack up a portion they want to enjoy again tomorrow. Take this one step further by providing reheating instructions (and possibly recipes)so they can enjoy the meal again!

2. Thank your friend or family member for bringing their very delicious dish…and then politely ask them to take it home again if there are any leftovers.

3. Host a “day after Thanksgiving” pot luck dinner! Invite friends over and ask them to bring their leftovers that would round out your meal.

4. Depending on how many people you are serving, consider dividing portions so that they can be frozen easily or brought to a friend (dividing portions ahead of time makes them look less like “leftovers”).

5. Go mini! Small desserts are in…follow this trend with smaller pies and breads that are more likely to be finished. (Or can be easily passed on if they aren’t!)

6. PUT THE PIE AWAY! Out of sight…out of mind. Avoid storing pies on the counter…where you can see them all of the time! This will definitely curb your intake.

7.  If you are hosting, assign dishes to guests that want to contribute. This will help ensure you have a balanced meal and decrease the likelihood that there will be too many leftovers.

8. Limit how much food is offered before the meal. Offering fewer appetizers means more room for dinner and less leftover.

9. Repurpose leftovers into something that can be frozen. For example, used leftover turkey to make a pot pie; bake and freeze for a future dinner (when you are not tired of eating turkey!).

10. Be grateful. While you may have so many leftovers you don’t know what to do with, there is likely someone in your community that doesn’t have enough to eat. Consider creating meals to share with those in need by contacting your church or synagogue, a community center or other organization that can connect you with an individual or family to feed.