18 Foods You Should Never Reheat The Next Day

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By Jonathan Trent

When you get home late after a busy day, reheating leftovers is a quick and convenient way to eat. However, it can also lead to a variety of digestive problems–or worse. With your health in mind, here are 18 food items you should never warm up the next day!

Rice

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Many people are guilty of reheating rice because it’s a meal staple that most of us cook often, but it’s one of the worst things you can reheat. Reheating rice risks bacterial growth and the formation of harmful toxins that could wreak havoc within your body.

Chicken

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You should never reheat chicken the next day for two reasons: first, it actually ruins the texture and flavor, so you can guarantee your chicken will taste bland and feel rubbery if you try. Two, it also runs the serious risk of salmonella contamination if you’re not careful.

Potatoes

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Many people don’t know this, but reheating potatoes runs the risk of giving you botulism, a rare illness affecting the body’s nerves and breathing. According to the CDC, an average of 110 cases of botulism are reported in America per year. That may not sound like much, but is it really worth the risk?

Spinach

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If you want to be like Popeye, you should only cook fresh spinach! Reheating spinach comes with risks due to its high nitrate content, which increases dramatically if you reheat it. Not only that, but meals with spinach in them are more prone to bacterial contamination.

Mushrooms

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Heating your mushrooms the next day could cause them to lose their key nutrients, affecting the flavor and leading to uncomfortable digestive issues. Because of their delicate texture, mushrooms are very difficult to get right when it comes to reheating, so eat them fresh or not at all.

Eggs

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Eggs are highly susceptible to Salmonella contamination, which means reheating them poses a huge risk of bacteria growth. Bacteria are commonly found in raw eggs; if they’re improperly reheated, they can multiply rapidly. Let’s be honest; reheated eggs are soggy and gross, anyway.

Cooking Oils

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Oil is commonly used in most dishes, which means you’re also reheating the oil if you’re reheating a meal. When you reheat oil, it can form a harmful compound and decrease the nutritional value of all the ingredients. If you’re looking for a safer option, we’d recommend coconut oil!

Celery

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Reheating celery isn’t the riskiest leftover food option, but it won’t be pleasant! Celery not only rapidly loses its nutritional value when it’s reheated, but it also loses all that refreshing crispiness when it’s heated up. It’s best to stick to eating raw celery if you want to enjoy your meals!

Seafood

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If you reheat any seafood, you risk histamine poisoning and a huge loss in flavor and texture. Histamine is a natural compound found in common seafood options like tuna and sardines, and the AAAAI claims histamine poisoning is often confused with a fish allergy! Yikes.

Pasta

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Pasta might seem like one of the safest options to quickly reheat, but in reality, it could lead to the formation of gut-destroying bacteria. Even if you dodge this, reheated pasta just isn’t the same as when it’s cooked fresh.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens are the pinnacle of a healthy diet, so you’ll likely have many meals with them ready to reheat. Don’t! Reheating leafy greens means a rapid loss of all those helpful nutrients, not to mention the risk of bacterial contamination. It’s much better to eat them fresh.

Milk

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Reheating milk isn’t common, but perhaps you’re wondering whether you can warm that hot chocolate in the microwave. We’d advise you not to; as you might suspect, reheating milk comes with all sorts of bacteria risks and a breakdown of proteins and nutrients.

Beets

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Reheating beets will result not only in a less-than-enjoyable texture and flavor (like most vegetables) but also in an increase in nitrate levels, just like with spinach. The high levels of nitrates in beets can quickly become dangerous when reheated, especially in younger children, so you should never do it.

Coffee

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We’re all guilty of letting our cup of coffee go cold when we’re busy. This isn’t the riskiest re-heat in the world, but it will lead to oxidation, resulting in a gross taste. Food & Wine advises keeping your coffee in an airtight container to retain freshness, but even that won’t solve this problem!

Any Fried Foods

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We know it’s tempting to heat up those leftover chicken wings, but any deep-fried food really shouldn’t be reheated. Reheating deep-fried food comes with all the risks of reheating potatoes and chicken, for example, but the texture and taste will also be disappointing. What’s the point if it’s not crispy?!

Sauces and Dressings

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You might not have given any thought to reheating the actual sauces or dressings on your meals, but these small additions also pose a risk during the heating process. Not only will they separate and change texture, but they could also come with–you guessed it–the risk of bacterial contamination.

Salad greens

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Finally, if you’re ever tempted to heat up a salad you made the previous day, you should definitely avoid it. Salads are better cold anyway, but reheating salad greens also makes for a wilted and soggy salad. Common signs of salad spoilage, as noted by Martha Stewart, include a change of color and a foul smell. Nasty!