Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. They are tremendous sources of vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins, full of phytonutrients, have lots of fiber, and low in calories. Leafy greens are superfoods.
You plan for the meals. You plan for the guests. Maybe you even plan for the feeling of equal parts relief and exhaustion once the holidays are actually over. But what about all the leftovers?
The good news is, traditional holiday meals have got it all: protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates. A typical plate—say roast turkey with Brussels sprouts, green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes—ticks all the nutritional boxes, which is key for helping blood glucose (blood sugar) levels stay steady, says Angela Goscilo, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and senior manager of nutrition at WeightWatchers®.
The challenge, however, is making them as enticing the second (or third…) time around. “When you’re pulling leftovers out of the fridge or freezer, you always want to bring in a fresh element,” says Leslie Fink, RD, a registered dietitian and recipe editor at WeightWatchers. Top off a ham sandwich with sliced apples, for example. “Bringing in something new makes everything pop from a flavor perspective and a texture perspective.” Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas.
Make a sweet and savory sandwich or wrap:
- • Pile your favorites—green beans, turkey, or ham, all of it—on a tortilla or large lettuce leaf with a few sprigs of parsley. Then wrap and roll.
- • Spread whole wheat bread with honey mustard. Add reduced-fat Swiss cheese and leftover turkey or ham. Then top it off with fresh tomatoes and leftover Brussels sprouts for a little crunch.
- • Make a traditional grilled cheese a touch more gourmet. Spread Brie on whole wheat bread and add some non-starchy veggies like baby spinach or collard greens. Top it off with a spiced apple chutney made with minced shallots and ginger, diced apples, and a touch of apple cider vinegar—cooked until jam-like over medium heat.
- • Try a mash-up of a BLT and a club sandwich by layering crispy turkey bacon, juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, and leftover turkey with mashed avocado.
- • Fill an egg omelet with turkey or ham, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts—then add some chopped fresh herbs.
- • Leftover roasted vegetables? Pack them into a fiber-filled egg frittata by baking them in a sheet pan and topping with diced tomatoes.
- • Make a smashed veggie hash. Chop up veggies and add them along with sweet potatoes and any other side dishes you like to the mix. Brown the ingredients in a skillet, then make small wells in the hash. Crack an egg into each well, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat until the eggs are to your liking.
- • Just put an egg on it. Fink notes that pretty much any carb—like leftover rice or potato latke—does well heated up in a pan and paired with veggies and a cooked egg.
Get set for soup season:
- • If you made a turkey, keep the carcass—the bones make an excellent foundation for a flavorful broth. Then, freeze the broth itself in an ice cube tray so you can grab a cube as you need it. “I like adding a little broth to a stir fry or cooking whole grains like brown rice in the broth instead of water for extra flavor,” says Fink.
- • Start with your favorite bean soup recipe, then add leftover turkey and thinly sliced kale for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- • Swap chicken with turkey or ham for a cold-season-classic noodle soup. Boil chopped carrots and celery in broth for five minutes, then add broken whole wheat or chickpea angel hair pasta and simmer until just cooked. Stir in shredded leftover turkey or ham, frozen corn, and dill, and heat until warm. Want to pack in more veggies? “Try a package of baby spinach or coleslaw mix—aka shredded carrots and cabbage,” says Fink. “No prep is needed and they cook really quickly.”
WeightWatchers is committed to supporting people living with diabetes and during January, February, and April 2023, WeightWatchers will donate $1 from every membership purchased via the promotional link to the American Diabetes Association®. Learn more about the WeightWatchers Diabetes-Tailored Plan.