Using Leftovers to Help Manage IBS
Last updated: June 2018
Of all the strategies to help manage IBS, leftovers may not seem very important. But bear with me while I explain how leftovers are a super important strategy in my IBS toolbox.
Cook once, eat two or more times
We all know that stress can trigger IBS symptoms, so anything that decreases stress is a good thing for IBS. And leftovers are an excellent way to decrease stress because you get maximal benefit from minimal effort.
Think of it this way… if you take 30 minutes to make a meal that feeds you once, you’ll need to spend 30 minutes every time you eat that particular meal. But if you make twice the amount of food at once, you’ll save the time that would have been needed to cook it a second time. And if you can make even more leftovers in that same amount of time, then you’ll save even more time in the long run. Which is time you can use for other things, such as sorting out those things that are stressing you out. Or you could use it for other activities that will help you to destress.
Perfect for days when you can’t cook
Having leftovers is also wonderful for the days when you don’t have the energy to cook. Maybe that’s after a long day at work or because you’ve been running around all afternoon with kids’ activities. Or perhaps you don’t have time because something unexpected has landed on your plate. At these times, leftovers are priceless.
Leftovers are also exceptionally helpful for times when you’re ill. Whether that’s because your IBS has flared up or because you’re ill with something else. Not having to cook, while still having nourishing food, will do you wonders at those times.
You know what’s in your leftovers
Aside from the time saving, this is the real advantage of leftovers… you know they meet your dietary needs. So you won’t get caught out like you could if you were to grab takeaway on the way home. Or if you grabbed something quick from a café or food stand, which might have your food triggers in them.
Because of this, leftovers are also excellent to use for work lunches. So it’s handy to cook a larger amount of dinner, which can then be packed up to take to work so you'll have safe food choices.
Planning your leftovers strategy
- Consider your fridge and freezer space. There’s no point making extras if you’ve got nowhere to store it. And be sure you have some good containers for storing leftovers too.
- Consider when you’ll eat it. If you’re going to eat the leftovers in the next couple of days, storing in the fridge will be okay for most things. But if you won’t eat it in that time frame, or if you’ve got loads of leftovers, you’ll need to freeze it.
- Consider what you’re planning to cook. Not everything reheats well, even if only stored in the fridge. While other things are fine reheated from the fridge, but don’t freeze well. So only make extras of foods that will reheat okay. And only freeze leftovers that you know can handle the freezing process.
- Keep track of your leftovers. A good way to do this is to stick a list on the fridge and write down all leftovers that you make. Then cross them off as they get eaten so you know what’s left to use.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?