Skip to main content

How to be a Savvy Shopper with Savory Leftovers

Posted by Kristina E Beaugh, MPH, Food Safety Education Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA in Health and Safety
Nov 25, 2015
Leftover turkey can be eaten cold or hot.  If you are reheating leftovers, reheat them to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Leftover turkey can be eaten cold or hot. If you are reheating leftovers, reheat them to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Thanksgiving is finally over, and now comes the biggest weekend for holiday shopping.  According to the National Retail Foundation, the average shopper spends about $380 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.  

When planning out your battle strategy shopping budget, you may forget to account for the meals you eat before, during, and after a long shopping trip.  Those lattes, sandwiches, garlic knots, and smoothies you may buy to fuel your shopping can really start to add up and will put a damper on your holiday shopping budget. 

A great way to save money is to cut back on eating out and enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.  Your leftover turkey and sides are safe in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days… that’s until Cyber Monday!  Enjoy your leftovers to fuel up before you head out the door to hit up the sales or to help you relax after a long day of retail therapy.  Reheat your Turkey Day favorites in the microwave to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.  Gravy should be reheated until boiling.  Cover leftovers to retain moisture so they stay savory. 

If you are planning a longer shopping trip, you can save money by opting out of the food court and packing turkey sandwiches.  Pack an insulated cooler or lunch box with everything you need to make your sandwiches—sliced turkey, cheese, and condiments as well as any cut fruit or veggies.  Use frozen gel packs or bags of ice to keep these items cold for several hours.  Items like bread, chips, pretzels, and whole fruit are safe if kept at room temperature.  If you do this, don’t forget wet knaps to clean your hands before your meal. 

With the money you save from eating leftovers, you may have enough to buy yourself a little something! #TreatYoSelf

Have More Questions? 

If you have questions, visit Let’s Talk Turkey to learn how to safely plan, select, thaw, and prepare a turkey or check out these turkey resources at  

If you have additional questions about cooking a turkey, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish. 

If you need help on Thanksgiving Day, the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  You can also ask questions of “Karen,” FSIS’ virtual representative, 24/7 at  Visit for questions in Spanish.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety