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While the date of those leftovers in the fridge might be a bit difficult to trace, the concept of leftovers probably can find its history all the way back to the beginning of time! Perhaps there weren’t leftover green bean casseroles in ancient times, but certainly saving food for the next day is not a new concept.

National Leftovers Day brings attention back to the benefits that come from being intentional about eating those leftovers.

History of National Leftovers Day

Holidays often come with their own set of extra leftovers, likely to do with the fact that the meals cooked for these days are often huge! National Leftovers Day is here to act as a reminder of the tasty treats that are just waiting patiently in the refrigerator!

Aldi Scotland is responsible for launching National Leftovers Day in the UK in 2022, with the purpose of encouraging everyone to reduce waste and promote sustainability and reduce waste by eating up all of the food that remains after the Christmas holiday. In Australia, National Leftovers Day was started in 2009 by the Do Something organization and is celebrated on December 26 or Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.

This day is certainly no burden because the food was so delicious the first time around, it’s likely that the leftover turkey, ham, or goose, warmed up with mashed potatoes and gravy will be a delight to enjoy!

How to Celebrate National Leftovers Day

Enjoy some yummy food and do something better for the environment too by celebrating National Leftovers Day! Check out some of these ideas to get started:

Get Creative with Leftovers

Sometimes finishing the leftovers can feel like a burden because it feels like the same thing over and over again – perhaps more like Groundhog Day! But, having leftovers in the fridge can be a nice way to avoid having to cook a full meal while enjoying something a little different than the day before.

For instance, those who cooked a turkey for Christmas might find it delightful to make turkey pot pies or use the turkey breast on a salad. With ham, it can be delicious to put those leftovers into a bean soup or in scalloped potatoes. And even leftover mashed potatoes can be turned into potato pancakes or a delicious shepherd’s pie. The sky’s the limit when it comes to celebrating National Leftovers Day!

Learn About Food Waste 

One factor that can be motivating regarding the celebration of National Leftovers Day might be the statistics that surround food waste in the western world. For instance, in the United States, roughly one-third of the food that is grown or produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. This would be enough to feed 3 billion people! One of the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development plan for 2030 is to cut food waste in half.

Consider some of these other facts related to food waste that might be important to remember and share:

  • Food waste negatively affects climate change because it wastes resources and adds to landfills

  • Wasted food puts pressure on water resources because growing and producing food requires a lot of water.

  • The UN estimates that the direct financial cost of food waste throughout the globe is close to $1 trillion.

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