You hear it all the time: the best way to stay on track with your weight loss goals is to meal prep. We’ve given you the tools and the plans to prep once and eat clean all week long so all you have to do is reheat the meal and you’ll be ready to eat! The only problem, though, is how do you reheat those meals without sacrificing their quality and flavor? No one wants to eat a soggy sandwich or an uninspired piece of casserole, so is there a best way to reheat your leftovers? If so, what’s the secret?
As a professional chef, I know a lot about reheating food. Almost all the food you eat in a restaurant is prepped ahead of time and finished to order. You’d never know it, though, because restaurant chefs take great care to reheat food with quality in mind. So how can you use meal prepping as a tool to stay on track with your weight loss plan while still eating meals that taste fresh? Follow this one simple principle.
The Best Way to Reheat Your Leftovers Is…
Reheat your food the same way you cooked it. This is the golden rule for reheating leftovers! If you initially baked it in the oven, don’t use a microwave to reheat it: use the oven (or, a toaster oven) instead. Choose a pot on the stove to simmer soups and stews, and the stovetop to reheat stir-fries and skillet meals.
If you don’t have a full kitchen at your disposal, use a toaster oven for reheating anything breaded, baked, or fried, and the microwave for anything steamed, simmered, sautéed, or boiled.
What if I Can Only Reheat My Food in a Microwave?
You might not always have the original appliance at your fingertips, and that’s okay. Although it’s nearly impossible for your food to retain its original crispy texture after heating in a microwave, follow these tips to get things as close as possible.
- Don’t heat everything all at once. Some foods (like chicken breasts) take longer to heat than others (like vegetable side dishes). It’s tempting to save time and toss it all in on one plate, but cooking the chicken breast before the side dish will ensure everything stays as high-quality as possible.
- Cover foods you don’t want to get soft with a paper towel. Never use aluminum foil in a microwave – that can start a fire! – but covering your food with a damp paper towel will prevent steam from making things soggy.
- Add a splash of water to foods that are already juicy. If you’re reheating something that’s already soft, you don’t have to worry about it getting soggy, but you may worry about it drying out! Add a splash of water to your microwave-safe dish and cover it with a lid while you’re heating it up.
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