The ultimate guide to using up your child’s leftover food

The ultimate guide to using up your child’s leftover food

Whether it is cold porridge, uneaten carrot sticks or sandwich crusts, it can be hard to know what you do with your child’s leftover food.

As busy parents, we understand the temptation to just throw it into the bin but at Love Food Hate Waste we believe that every mouthful of food is worth saving.

So what can you do with their half-eaten food? You can try to re-serve it to them, either at a later meal or in a different way, you could eat it yourself or freeze it for another time.

Sometimes it may take a little creative thinking to work out what to do with half-eaten or small amounts of leftovers.

Here are some ideas for what you can do with your child’s leftover food:

Raw vegetables:

Raw vegetables, such as carrot or celery sticks, can be chopped up or added to your dinner. They will work well in a stir fry, pasta or stew, or can be steamed or roasted on their own. They can also be grated or finely chopped and used to make fritters. This will work for other vegetables such as capsicum and cauliflower.

Vegetable fritters

If the vegetables aren’t quite at their best, throw them in a bag in the freezer and use them to make stock.

Cooked vegetables:

There are lots of options for cooked vegetables, whether it is steamed broccoli or roasted pumpkin:

Mashed potatoes:

Raw fruit:

Jungle gelato

Cooked fruit:

Cooked pasta:

Noodle Fritters

Cooked rice:

Cooked rice is safe to eat, providing it has been cooled quickly.

Bread crusts:

Bread crusts

Bread crusts (and bread ends) can be a pesky leftover as you often only have one or two at a time, so it is hard to know what to do with them. We recommend keeping a crusts bag in the freezer and stashing them away until you have enough to make one of these delicious recipes.


Depending on what is in them, they can be toasted – just make sure there are no salad ingredients, like lettuce or cucumber. Leftover sandwiches can also be frozen and then toasted at a later date.

Even sweet sandwiches can be toasted – try peanut butter and banana or a Nutella sandwich.


No one wants to eat cold toast, and it’s not quite the same reheated. Depending on what was on the toast, freeze it and use it to make breadcrumbs.

Alternatively, cut the toast into chunks and use it to make croutons to go on a soup or salad, or use it for a bread and butter pudding – sweet or savoury.




Soggy cereal sounds pretty unappetising, but you can pour into ice cube trays, freeze it and then add it to your next smoothie (or skip the freezing step if you are going to make the smoothie the same day).

Stale cereal can be toasted in the oven to crisp it up – make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

The dregs of a packet or two of cereal can be added to compost cookies or made into a cereal slice.




Make sure it is refrigerated or frozen and then either eaten cold or reheated until piping hot.

Chicken nuggets:

Cold leftover chicken nuggets can be unappetising. One quick way to reheat them is to pop them into a sandwich grill – it will get the outside nice and crispy.

Hot chips:

Potato chips:

Compost Cookies

Leftover cheese:

Freeze it in a bag or container in the freezer. Next time you are making a pizza, cheese sauce or macaroni cheese, use it.

Baked goods (cakes, muffins, biscuits etc):

Have we missed something? Or do you have a great way to use up a certain food? Tell us on our tips page.