As I talk to friends and fellow moms, one thing that amazes me is no one has a leftover night anymore. Growing up we had a weekly leftover night and a monthly freezer-clean-out night. No one does this anymore! We now throw our leftovers away, wasting perfectly good food and money.
In our home we have a weekly leftover night. At first the kids (and Trent) weren’t so sure about leftovers. The idea wasn’t “normal”, no one eats leftovers, on and on… I heard every excuse. After I sat down with Trent and showed him how expensive our groceries were, and how much I could save each month by not planning one full dinner, he was on board. Now, it was time to bring the kids to the dark side.
Instead of calling it “Leftover Night” we call it Buffet Night. Just like at a buffet, our kids are in control of what they eat.
Here’s how we turned the dreaded leftover night into a buffet:
- Take each meal out of the container or Tupperware and present it in a clean, fresh bowl. Yes, this makes for more dishes. However, it also helps the meal to look fresh without the condensation, food settling and a big whoosh of smell.
- Set the counter up like a buffet. Dishes and silverware at the front, and food lined up where the kids can see exactly what is available.
- Let them serve themselves. Again, bigger mess but you’re getting everyone involved.
- Serve a new dinner item on the buffet. We usually serve a fresh salad and rolls or Italian bread so not everything on the table is old news.
- Have a backup plan. Some week’s left overs are scarce; meals were eaten for lunch or someone had an extra helping. When we don’t have enough for a leftover night we usually have a “Make Your Own” night. On these nights dinner is a sandwich, cereal or something out of the freezer. Again, let them choose what’s for dinner (within reason).
The biggest take away on bringing back leftover night is the savings. An average meal can cost our family $10 or more. If you save $10 each week, that’s $40 each month and $520 each year!