- 89% admit to eating eat leftover takeaway the next day, with the top three being Pizza, Chinese and Curry
- 16% of Brits prefer to eat their leftovers for breakfast!
- Soutter's Top Tips for cutting down on food waste include: preparation, saving veggie scraps and befriending your freezer
12th January, UK. There are tons of good reasons to embrace leftovers in 2021 - from cutting down on food waste to being frugal - but today leading Harley Street Nutritionist Lily Soutter (Bsc Hons) has revealed to British food delivery company Deliveroo why eating leftovers can actually be better for you and more delicious. It's great news for 89% of Brits who admit to eating leftovers the next day, as revealed today in Deliveroo research.
While the majority of Brits tuck into round two of yesterday's meal for lunch and dinner, 16% of Brits don't wait around and eat their leftovers for their first meal of the day. Pizza for breakfast anyone?
According to Soutter, there are a number of nutritional and scientific reasons why Brits should be getting stuck into their leftovers. Soutter explains why the taste-profile of leftovers changes with time:
"Chemical reactions continue to take place long after a meal is initially cooked. The process of reheating leftover foods can further breakdown animal and vegetable proteins to amino acids such as glutamate which increases the umami (meaty) flavour. This can result in leftovers with a more enhanced, savoury flavour."
She continues "Furthermore, when reheating leftovers, amino acids react with sugars in a process called the Maillard reaction - known as browning - think of seared steak or even golden crispy pizza crust. This process stimulates the production of new flavours, aromas and colours. Allowing takeaway options such as curries to sit, can also encourage accompanying oil and spices to continue to tenderise the meat, stimulating further marination whilst enhancing the flavour. Pizzas are perfect as left-overs - they rarely go soggy and can be enjoyed the next day hot or cold. Flavours such as garlic and herbs also have time to develop, enhancing their flavour."
It doesn't stop there - Soutter explains why eating leftovers can have increased nutritional benefits for tomato and carb-lovers:
"The cooking, cooling and reheating process can result in chemical changes which enhance the nutrient density of that food. Tomato-based sauces which are commonly found in pizza, pasta and even curries contain beneficial phytochemicals called lycopene, which is responsible for their vibrant red colour. Cooking and reheating tomatoes can restructure the lycopene making it more bioavailable and easier to absorb. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is currently under research for supporting cardiovascular health."
She continues: "Potatoes, rice and pasta and other carbohydrate-containing foods such as barley, peas, lentils and beans are actually better eaten as leftovers. The heating and cooling process of these carbohydrate-containing foods triggers a chemical reaction which increases the level of resistant starch. Resistant starch is a special type of fibre that has prebiotic properties, which feeds our good gut bacteria. Resistant starch stimulates our gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which is a key energy source for the cells of the large intestine. Finally, greater levels of resistant starch in these leftover carbohydrates can reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal and may increase feelings of fullness."
The Deliveroo research carried out by Censuswide of 1,500 Brits under 50, revealed the nation's top 5 favourite leftover takeaways are:
Arabella Jenkins at Deliveroo says: "The saying 'waste not, want not' has never been more relevant this year and it's clear the people of Newcastle have got the hang of this already - with 25% admitting they eat their leftover takeaway for breakfast. At Deliveroo we're on a mission to help the nation master leftovers to get every inch of value and joy out of food."
Soutter explains why reducing food waste is more important than ever right now and her top tips for how to cut down on it:
"A third of food is wasted globally! This doesn't just waste money, the discarded foods are sent to landfills where it contributes to harmful greenhouse gasses. We can all do our part in reducing this harmful practice by engaging in simple 'no-waste' strategies. Here are my top tips:
1. Preparation is the key to success! If you regularly find yourself throwing away ''out of date food' or find mouldy veg at the back of the fridge, then a little preparation can be the key to shopping success. Plan your meals weekly and shop for what you 'need' to avoid bulk buying.
2. Get savvy with leftovers. If you cook more than you need, enjoy leftovers the next day! Not only do you get a satisfying delicious lunch, but you also save on time and money. Try storing leftovers in clear glass jars or Tupperware rather than an opaque container to ensure you don't forget the food.
3. Pick imperfect foods. Fruit and vegetables which aren't visually 100% perfect doesn't mean that they are less healthy or lower in quality. Non-perfect fruit and veg can be just as nutrient-dense and delicious and is a smart strategy for reducing waste.
4. Save the scraps! Veggie scraps like end stalks and peels may seem like a waste, yet they can be used to make delicious soups, stews and curries. They can also be used alongside leftover meat bones to make homemade stock, just add a dash of herbs and seasoning for a nourishing broth.
5. Befriend your freezer. It's a common misconception that frozen food is less nourishing than fresh, yet the freezing process retains nutrients. Use your freezer to store leftovers as 'ready meals' for when you don't have time to cook - label them by 'date cooked' so there's no confusion on what to eat first.
Deliveroo is proud to continue its work delivering surplus food to families in need, delivering food, juices, healthy snacks, cereals and fresh fruit and veg to the Felix Project and FareShare, who then distribute it to frontline charities, food banks and families.