Healthy Meals to Make From Your Holiday Leftovers

As you're winding down from the holidays, you probably have a lot of leftovers in your fridge. While holiday dinners are always a delight, you may not necessarily be looking to eat them every meal for the next three weeks to come!

That’s why it’s always handy to know how to make some new dishes from the old, especially ones that give you a healthy twist on some of the dense holiday menu items.

Everyone’s holiday leftovers will be different, depending on which holiday you’re celebrating, and how you celebrate! Chances are if you’re looking at the leftovers from Thanksgiving, you’ll have items like stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, soup, cranberry sauce, or mac and cheese.

Here are a few ways you can transform some of those staples into something new, reminding you of the great holiday while keeping your body healthy.


An easy and healthy lunch option to polish off your leftovers is through salads! There is no wrong way to make a salad, but it’s always nice to diversify the toppings, textures, and flavors of your salad.

You can start by laying some greens on your plate and topping it with some shredded meat from the fridge. If you have leftover vegetables, those are easy to add on top. Do you have leftover nuts, pumpkin seeds, or pepitas hanging around? Sprinkle some on for added crunch. Stuffing and cranberry sauce can also be great to mix into the salad.

If you’re finding that your leftovers are low in vegetables, you can dress some up for your salad very quickly. Take one vegetable – like a carrot – chop it up, spread it on a baking sheet, dress in oil and salt, and broil for about 5-10 minutes, then add it on top (take care not to burn yourself when pulling it in and out of the oven, as the element gets very hot from broiling!).


Don’t throw away your turkey carcass. Instead, make an incredible broth from it to use for delicious soups down the road. Simply take your carcass, break apart the bones so it fits in a pot (it’s ok to have meat and skin still hanging on the bones), fill the pot with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the bones simmer in the water, and add any vegetables, spices, or herbs you might like to season the stock with. Here’s a recipe from kitchn for specific instructions.

Once you have your stock, you can make a number of soups with it, chopping up any number of vegetables, leafy greens, beans, and meat. Customize it to your liking, and don’t forget to add your favorite spices for flavor.

Scrambles and stir-fries

A great breakfast treat is turning leftovers into scrambles. You can add chopped meat, stuffing, and potatoes to an omelette or scrambled eggs, adding cheese or chopped vegetables for extra flavor and fiber.

For dinner or lunch, stir fry leftover vegetables and meat with something like brown rice, bamboo shoots, green onions, or spinach. Season to your taste, and enjoy!


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