BYU-Idaho students have put their own spin on meal stretching, an inventive way to save food and money.

Stretching a meal is about reducing waste, making good food go further and using the food one does have in different ways to expand the meal while retaining its taste and appeal, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters, a website dedicated to helping Americans increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

Students can make their meals go further by adding classic fillers, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Breads, rice, pasta and noodles, canned beans, polenta and other flour or grain based foods can help to fill a person up as much as they do to make food last, according to the website.

“A lot of times when I have leftover vegetables or meat, I’ll throw that in with pasta,” said Peter Strand, a junior studying business management. “I cook some noodles and take out whatever I have left over, like cooked chicken or beef, and I’ll mix it together with some pasta and sauce.”

Making soups from leftovers can also help stretch food, according to Heavenly Homemakers, a blog focused in part on menu planning.

Using the parts of the meat that are normally thrown away can help to stretch a number of meals. Chicken bones and skin can be used for broth, and the chicken can be used with filler ingredients, like rice, pasta or salad to make more food.

“Stretching meals is all my family did,” said Emily Phelps, a freshman studying horticulture. “My favorite, since I became gluten free, was to make rice pudding. We’d make a giant batch of rice, and then we’d use that for three nights or so, and then when the rice got hard we’d make rice pudding.”

Stretching meals also helped her family to feed its seven members,     Phelps said.

The way meats are cut and served can also help to make meals last longer, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Instead of serving a whole steak or a drumstick of chicken, one can slice the steak in half or chop it for a stir fry.

“I usually make something, but make it big,” said Adam Simmons, a junior studying mechanical engineering. “And then I just eat that for the next few days. I might do something with it, like add vegetables or a salad.”

Phelps said these meal-stretching habits have helped her and her siblings save money and get the most out of their food while they have been in school.

“We would not have survived if we hadn’t done that over the years,”     Phelps said.