Recent surveys have found that we toss out majority of our selected produce from the grocery stores. That adds up to around $160 billion worth of food literally tossed out to trash. And that is just produce! Conversely, Americans spend an average of $3,000 each year on eating out!

The one nice thing about eating out isn’t you don’t have to cook but you can save your delicious food for later. Leftovers are great because you can help cut back on wasting food.

However, If you’re going to be bringing leftovers home make sure to follow a few unwritten rules to keep your food still in the safety under health standards zone and to limit your overall waste of food.

Below are 3 tips to help you make the most of your leftovers:

Don’t Let Your Food Sit Out

The first rule of leftovers is to not let your leftovers sit out at room temperature for no longer than two hours. In other words, don’t leave them overnight in your car.

Create Labels with Dates

This maybe more of a tedius task but it will help you in the long run. This isn’t just for what you bring home but what you cook for dinner, too. That way you can make smart judgement calls about what to have for dinner. The goal is to eat the leftovers that are closest to expiring. Don’t wait until the end of every week to toss out everything. Put that food to use!

Expiration Dates

It might help to understand just how long food can last in the fridge. First, make sure your fridge is set at the right temperature. Ideally, it should be anywhere between 36 to 38 degrees. An overstuffed fridge can prevent cool air from circulating. That’s another good reason for eating your leftovers.

According to food experts food in your fridge has a shelf life and below are a list of items you can follow to determine when your food expeires: 

  • Pizza : 3-4 days
  • Cooked seafood : 3-4 Days
  • Rice/pasta dishes without meat : 3-5 days
  • Cooked meats like steaks, pork and chicken : 3-4 days
  • Soups and stews : 3-4 days
  • Cooked vegetables : 3-4 days
  • Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads : 3-5 days

It’s hard to imagine leftover pizza sticking around for more than two days, let alone four! That’s why placing a date on items in the fridge will help determine when its time to go. Try this tip: Forge the dates of the week. Just put the days. The pizza you get on Saturday should be eaten by Tuesday. Simple. Not only does eating leftovers cut back on waste but also on spending. If you can get two meals for the price of one, then everybody wins!