How to Make Over Your Holiday Leftovers


With the holidays upon us, I am getting so excited about which recipes my family is going to focus on for our feast. But these days, especially with the focus of the holidays being about indulgence and copious amounts of food, I find myself trying to practice more sustainable eating practices. Did you know that about 40% of all food we produce ends up in the trash? Because of this alarming statistic, I am now thinking about how my family is going to eat the smorgasbord after we enjoy the big feast.

The solution? These super-easy, creative leftover recipes built around some common holiday foods! If you don’t know what to do with tons of leftover turkey, mountains of stuffing, oodles of roasted veggies, and the seasonal cranberry sauce, then these recipes are for you. These recipes are also paired with important nutrition information in case you need a neutral conversation starter. So this year, get creative with these easy and quick recipes to help you make over your family’s leftovers.

Turkey Cranberry Sliders

Recipe (for 4 sliders)

  • 4 rolls
  • 1 cup leftover stuffing
  • 12 thick slices of turkey breast
  • ¾  cup goat cheese
  • ¼ cup cranberry sauce

Instructions (for 1 slider):

1. Slice roll in half
2. Add two to three slices of turkey to one side of the roll
3. Mix goat cheese and cranberry sauce in bowl
4. Add ¼ cup of goat cheese and cranberry spread to other side of the roll
5. Add ¼ stuffing on top of turkey breast
6. Combine the two sides and enjoy!

Notable nutrients in this recipe:

1. Enriched refined grains from those found in the rolls and stuffing contribute important nutrients like carbohydrates for energy and B vitamins which support heart, gut, and developmental health and can be building blocks of a healthy eating style.
2. Lean turkey is a good source of protein which promotes lean muscle, satiety, weight loss/maintenance, immunity, and bone health.
3. Cranberry and goat cheese spread provides antioxidants from the cranberry sauce and calcium and vitamin A from the goat cheese.


Turkey Leftover Pizza


Recipe (for 1 pizza)

  • 1 premade whole wheat pizza crust
  • ¾ cup cranberry sauce
  • ¾ cup gravy
  • 10 roasted Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 10 thick slices of turkey breast, chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup goat cheese


1. Spread cranberry sauce on dough.
2. Drizzle gravy on top of sauce.
3. Add Brussel sprouts.
4. Add turkey.
5. Top with cheese.
6. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.

Notable nutrients in this recipe:

1. Whole grains from the pizza crust contribute important nutrients like carbohydrates and iron which provide sustained energy and promote gut health.
2. Brussel sprouts are rich in fiber and vitamins C and A.
3. Lean turkey is a good source of protein which promotes lean muscle, satiety, weight loss/maintenance, immunity, and bone health.
4. Goat and cheddar cheese provides calcium and vitamin A.


Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Recipe (for 2 servings)

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk (feel free to use soymilk or almond milk)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (can use 3 packets of low-calorie sweetener and 1/8 cup brown sugar to cut calories)
  • 4 teaspoons chia seeds
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix well.
3. Pour into to-go containers.
4. Refrigerate overnight.
5. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Notable nutrients in this recipe:

1. Oats are a great source of B vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. The fiber in oats has also been shown to reduce cholesterol.
2. Pumpkin is a festive way to get your daily dose of vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants.
3. Greek yogurt delivers twice the protein as regular yogurt, along with vitamin D and calcium.
4. Low-calorie sweetener helps to reduce calories, without sacrificing taste.
5. Chia seeds supply healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and calcium.

I hope these recipes get you excited about eating your holiday leftovers in a healthful way! I will definitely be adding the extra few ingredients to my cart so I can whip these recipes up over the holiday weekend, and I hope you will, too!