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Love your Leftovers - The 2-2-2 rule to using up all your food!

Love your Leftovers - The 2-2-2 rule to using up all your food!

Leftovers are one of the top wasted foods in New Zealand. People are constantly buying or making food, putting it in the fridge then throwing it away! Even worse, others cook meals and chuck away what they didn't eat. Wasting leftovers is a waste of time and money!

If we used all of our leftovers for lunches the next day, we could be saving the cost of a sandwich which adds up over time. Generally, leftovers can last longer than we think. As a rule of thumb remember:



The first 2 in the rule is that you have 2 hours to get leftovers into the fridge. Often when we're out for dinner or lunch and happen to have leftovers we think “I won’t be able to take that home because it's been sitting out too long”, but this is simply incorrect! From the moment you finish your meal, you have 2 hours to get the cooked food into a fridge.


After the food has been nicely refrigerated, we then have 2 days to eat it! Some cooked foods last slightly longer when refrigerated but it’s best to try and eat food within the 2 day period.

Comment from the Waste-ed with Kate team – Acacia

 I love eating curry the day after or even 2 days after we cook it because the sauce has even more time to marinade! It’s more flavourful and delish!


Our last 2 in the rule is 2 months in the freezer. If you know you aren’t able to eat your leftovers in the following 2 days after making it, then freeze it! Leftovers last up to 2 months in the freezer, just remember to defrost them in the fridge and use without 24 hours.

TIP: Make a note on the top of your freezer of when you put the leftovers in there so you remember to use it ASAP.

Some extra help: Use-it-up Meals!

If you have quiet a few leftovers, instead of cooking a new meal you could designate one meal a week as a use-it-up meal.

TIP: Put a bento style plastic container in the freezer for all your leftover tidbits (e.g. stray mushrooms, leftover chicken pieces) then at the end of the week, put it all on a pizza base and enjoy!

Start applying the 2-2-2 rule to every meal you have and minimise your waste today!!

Check these awesome companies for all your food storage needs:


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