Americans reveal the best and worst foods for leftovers

A new study from OnePoll and Bosch found many 46% of respondents will turn to leftovers because it’s easier than having to cook. (Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)

What’s for dinner? Stress, according to new research.

A new survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans found 56% said getting asked “what’s for dinner” is one of the most stressful things they’ll encounter in a day.

Leftovers can be an easy solution to this stressful question, but they can be a hot debate themselves — with 72% of Americans identifying as pro-leftovers with the rest saying they don’t like to eat them or never eat them.

The study found that Americans’ weekly diet generally consists of five home-cooked meals, three leftover meals, three takeout meals and three meals out at restaurants.

Forty-six percent of respondents said they’ll turn to leftovers because it’s just easier than having to cook and 32% said affordability seals the deal so they don’t have to go out and buy anything.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bosch home appliances, the survey found 61% of Americans are chowing down on leftovers more than ever since the pandemic started.

Half of respondents opt to eat leftovers from a home-cooked meal or from takeout the most frequently and 42% use meal prepping to have leftovers on a regular basis.

What makes a good leftover meal? Over half said a key factor is how recently the food was made, followed by how it smells (46%) and where the food is from (46%).

With this in mind, there are a number of ways to best reheat leftovers — and 41% of respondents said reheating ability is a key factor that would incentivize them to eat more leftovers.

“Steam cooking retains nutrients, moisture and the original integrity of your food so your leftovers always come out fresh and flavorful. With a steam oven, you’ll never know you’re eating leftovers!” said a spokesperson for Bosch home appliances. “Or, if you’re in a hurry, reheat leftovers on an Induction cooktop for fast and precise reheating to ensure your leftovers don’t have any cold spots, and for easy cleanup.”

What foods are the best leftovers? Soups top the list at 79%, followed by pizza (63%), meat (62%), pasta (60%) and rice (55%).

Over half of respondents said Chinese food takeout (53%) and roasted potatoes (52%) are leftover-worthy foods — and 47% even said tuna and egg salads are worthy enough to save for later.

The two foods that respondents feel both positively and negatively about being good leftovers were avocados and guacamole. A third (33%) of respondents said avocado is a no-go for leftovers and 34% said they would be good enough to save. Guacamole seems to have a slightly better chance, with 36% saying it’s a good leftover compared to 30% who said it’s a bad choice.

Eggs and sushi were by far the worst things to keep as leftovers, at 42% and 33%.
Outside of the 12% of respondents who “never” eat leftovers, many Americans save food with the intent of eating it as a leftover meal. Sixty-three percent always keep leftover food whether something would be a good leftover when ordering takeout and 65% take this into consideration when whipping something up at home.

The study found that eating leftovers may be key to helping Americans lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Over half (56%) said this was the top sustainable practice they uphold in their kitchen, followed by limiting food waste (55%).

“Sixty-one percent of people believe they would waste less food if their fridge had more useful storage capacity,” said a Bosch home appliances spokesperson. “To help Americans make the most of their leftovers and limit their food waste, it’s imperative that their refrigerator is equipped with flexible and customizable organizational details and freshness features.”

BEST FOODS TO HAVE AS LEFTOVERS
Soup/stew — 79%
Pizza — 63%
Meat — 62%
Pasta — 60%
Rice — 55%
Vegetables — 54%
Chinese food takeout — 53%
Roasted potatoes — 52%
Sandwiches — 47%
Tuna salad — 47%
Egg salad — 47%
Fried food — 46%
Salads/fresh greens — 43%
Fish — 42%
Guacamole — 36%
Avocado — 34%
Eggs — 32%
Sushi — 29%

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NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

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SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

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