Here’s a familiar scene: You come home from work, kids are hungry, you’re tired, and more than ever those take-out menus tacked to the fridge are starting to call your name. You start to dial.

But put the phone down. Right now. Now walk back to the fridge. Open it. Look over there… no, not at the ketchup that had a “use by” date in the Reagan administration, over there. Yeah. Those random leftovers from the other day.

Printable leftovers/use-up food checklistBefore you roll your eyes, hold on a minute. According to The New York Times, Americans waste one pound of food, per day, per person. That’s over 250 MILLION pounds of food a day. (Your mom wasn’t joking when she was talking about those starving kids in China/Africa/Timbuktu when you were a kid.)

So what to do about it?

First of all, if you tend to have a large amount of leftovers, ask yourself why. Do you just buy and make too much food, or are your meals not getting eaten?

Next question, since you’re usually going to have leftovers… what do you do with them? Well, they also suggest posting a “leftover list” on the fridge with items to use up — in fact, based on an Iowa State University Extension example, we made a little Leftover/Use up food list for you to download and print out right here!

And yet more ideas

Here are three other sites to check out for more ideas about what to do with your leftovers:

  1. LeftoverChef
  2. Love Food, Hate Waste
  3. Recipe Goldmine: Cooking with leftovers

So go ahead, put a couple of those takeout menus in the junk drawer and make a little room for your new money-saving, lower-waste lifestyle.

More Stories
Dinner menu planning calendars