Americans throw out up to 40 percent of their food supply over the course of a year.

40. Percent. Let that sink in for a minute.

Food waste isn’t only a huge environmental issue, but it’s expensive — no one likes to blow their hard-earned money. And it’s completely unnecessary.

So, here are my favorite ideas for getting creative with those leftovers.

Plan ahead

When planning your meals for the week, see what ingredients you can incorporate into multiple meals.

If you’re planning on having salmon and sweet potatoes one night, you can use the leftover veggies or fish later on to make sweet potato black bean tacos or fish tacos. Or whip up sweet potato toast for breakfast (below, one of my favorites!) and then use the leftover potatoes chopped up in a veggie bowl for lunch or dinner.

Remember: Leftovers = ingredients

When looking at your leftovers in the fridge, think about how you can use the items as ingredients in other meals.

Whenever I have extra chopped onions or peppers, I throw them into an egg scramble in the morning. I also love using leftover rice to make freezer burritos to enjoy throughout the week.

Get creative

Experiment and have fun. Here are some unique things to do with those leftovers in your kitchen:

  • Make quinoa for dinner. Then use leftovers to make a breakfast of quinoa porridge.
  • Turn stale bread into breadcrumbs using a food processor. Toss them into pastas, roasted veggies, or salad.
  • Freeze overripe bananas for ‘nice cream’ or use them to bake a batch of PB chocolate chip breakfast cookies (below), one of my favorite on-the-go morning snacks.
  • Throw overripe avocados in smoothies for some healthy fats and added creaminess.
  • Toss leftover cauliflower, spinach, and sweet potatoes into smoothies, too. Yes, cauliflower!

Whip up stir-fry and Buddha bowls

A delicious way to use up leftover veggies and protein is to throw everything into a stir-fry or Buddha bowl and top with your favorite sauce or dressing. These meals are some of my favorites because you get so many different flavors and textures.

Store and freeze extras

Storing your food in reusable glass containers allows you to see what you have in your fridge more clearly, which means you’re more likely to use it up. On top of that, it saves you money by not going through hundreds of plastic bags.

You can also throw things in the freezer when you know you might not get to them. Just portion them out, write the date on them, and they’re perfect for a quick meal whenever you’re in a pinch.

Leftover night

I dedicate one night a week for leftover night. This allows me to go through the fridge, use up what I need to eat, and it makes dinner that night so much easier!

I hope these tips show you how easy (and healthy) it can be to use that leftover food you have in the fridge.

Put great food on your table, a little more money in your pocket, and contribute to making our world a better place!

Let me know if you have any more tips or great recipe ideas on my Instagram @beazysbites.

J.J. Beasley is the man behind the Instagram and Facebook account @BeazysBites. He recently graduated with an undergrad degree in Business Management and International Business. He’s in the process of getting a master’s degree in nutrition and becoming a registered dietitian (while working part-time at a hospital as a nutrition assistant). He wishes to help others pursue a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, and cannot wait to make his passion into a lifelong career.