10 Foods You Should Never Eat As Leftovers

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Let’s be honest: there’s nothing that the microwave can’t fix, right? You might be tricked into believing it, but in reality, it’s not that true. Before you heat up your leftovers, take your time to read this article.

While it’s extremely convenient to pan-fry one juicy chicken breast, sometimes we might cook an entire casserole. And that’s totally fine, until that point when you realize that you can’t eat all of it in one day. Or two, or three.

See, now we have a problem because there are certain foods that can’t be reheated and used as leftovers. They can make us ill. If you’re curious to know which leftovers you should never eat a second time, read here:

Foods You Should Never Eat As Leftovers


If you’ve made too much spinach only for a quick and nutritious side dish, it’s best if you just toss it out or eat the leftovers cold. As an alternative, you can also stir it into a pasta salad.

The thing with spinach is that it contains a high quantity of nitrates, which our bodies need in order to function properly. When we eat some of these vegetables raw, our bodies turn these good-for-you nitrates into nitrites.

So, nitrates don’t represent a problem for us until the heating process activates them. They can release poisonous carcinogenic effects when they’re being processed, so it’s best to avoid reheating altogether.


The thing with fries, which is definitely one of the most beloved dishes on the ENTIRE planet, is that the minute you cook them for a second time, they can become toxic.

How? Warm temperatures are known to enhance the growth of rare bacteria and botulism, which can be found in potatoes. If you can’t bear to throw those fries away, at least refrigerate uneaten cooked potatoes right away.

Don’t take them out of the oven and let them sit for one hour, just refrigerate them right away. This way, you’ll avoid eating leftovers that might harm your body, but you’ll also avoid throwing out food!

Celery & Carrots

The same rule we have for spinach applies to celery and carrots too. But luckily, when it comes to these vegetables, there are plenty of things you can do with the excess you’ve got left.

You can use celery to make vegetables, meat, or fish stock. As it has a hardy nature, it can be cooked for several hours, and it won’t color your stock.

You can use the main stalks to add flavor, by cutting them into big chunks so they don’t disintegrate. As an alternative, you can always go for celery soup or celery gratin. There are lots of options.


The same as with the potatoes, try not to leave rice out at room temperature after you cook it. If you don’t store it properly, cooked rice can grow bacterial spores that are capable of producing poisons that harm your body.

And guess what? These devilish spores actually thrive when you keep the rice at room temperature, rather than in the fridge. In order to avoid food poisoning, just make sure you store it in the fridge in an airtight container right after you finished cooking it.

Otherwise, try cooking only the amount of rice you know you can eat. Better safe than sorry!

leftovers food
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Of all the foods on this list, mushrooms are definitely the most capable of making you physically ill. That’s because of how vulnerable mushrooms are to microorganisms.

When you eat cooked mushrooms, it’s best to eat them the minute you prepare them. But if you cooked more than just one or two dishes and you plan on eating them again the following day as leftovers, at least make sure you eat them cold from the refrigerator. It doesn’t sound very appealing, right?

I know, but reheating mushrooms can be very dangerous to your stomach, so instead of waking up with God-knows-what, eat them cold.


Beets are one of the healthiest and most delicious foods out there. And they’re not only extremely tasty, but they also have tons of nutritional benefits.

However, beets are in the same category as celery, spinach, and carrots when it comes to eating them as leftovers. They’re also rich in nitrates, and from here goes the same old story.

Your safer bet when it comes to beets is to cook only the amount you think you’re actually going to eat in one sitting. Or, if you feel comfortable and you like them like that, you can eat them cold, like on salads and such.


While eggs can be an excellent source of protein, cooked eggs can be a source of sickness if you leave them or re-expose them at higher temperatures.

Whether they’re boiled or scrambled, reheating eggs and saving them as leftovers isn’t such a good idea. They can be destructive to your digestive system.

Or, if you’ve just made a great Spanish omelet and you realize you can’t eat it in one go, make sure you cooked it thoroughly, and then store it right away, and reheat it to an adequate temperature to make sure you kill germs and prevent foodborne illness.

Also, watch out: there are different reheating methods, depending on how you cooked your eggs.


Our favorite source of protein and dinner staple, chicken, is the biggest superstar we all love because it’s easy to cook and it’s delicious. And I know all of us have eaten reheated chicken at least once in our lifetime, but it’s worth knowing that it can be extremely tricky.

A general rule of thumb is that if you want to reheat your chicken to eat as leftovers, you have to do it one time only after you originally cooked it. You also have to make sure that it’s hot, and when I say hot, I mean completely hot through and through to the center and eat it right away.

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Processed meats

Another food you should never eat as leftovers is processed meat. You probably already know that these meats are rich in chemicals and preservatives that only extend their shelf lives.

Microwaving can only aggravate things for our health. When you microwave these meats, you might unknowingly expose yourself to chemical changes, like oxidized cholesterol, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Another study published in the journal “Food Control” shows that reheating processed meats with a burst of microwave radiation might increase the formation of cholesterol oxidation products (COPs), which are directly linked to the development of coronary heart disease.


Your favorite shrimp recipe might not have the same taste the next day, and there’s a good reason for that. Shrimp is all about texture and mouthfeel, so when you reheat it, that texture can become rubbery and not so tasty.

You should never leave cooked shrimp to be left out for more than 2 hours, and not for more than one hour if the outside temperature is above 90 degrees.

If you just made a delicious recipe with shrimp and you know for a fact that you can’t possibly eat all of it, just wrap it up really well and put it in the fridge immediately.

But remember, just because it stays in the fridge, doesn’t mean that the shrimp lives forever! You can consume it for a maximum of four days!

If you enjoyed reading this article about leftovers, we also recommend reading: 10 Fast Food Items You Should NEVER Eat

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