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Ask us anything about food waste, from meal planning to food storage to using up leftovers. Our experts are ready to answer your questions.

 

This Week's Expert


Nicole Gomes

Nicole Gomes

Nicole Gomes was crowned as Canada’s Top Chef by Food Network’s Top Chef Canada: All-Stars, and was a semi-finalist on Iron Chef Gauntlet. With over 20 years of professional experience and currently as chef owner of the highly successful Nicole Gourmet Catering, Nicole has cooked across the globe and been recognized with several awards. In 2016, Gomes opened Cluck N’ Cleaver, a crispy fried and French style rotisserie chicken take-out joint that will soon be expanding across Western Canada. Nothing gives her more joy than sharing her craft by bringing people together to enjoy great food. Ask Nicole about chefs’ secrets for reducing food waste in the kitchen.

 

This Week's Expert


Jenny Rustemeyer

Jenny Rustemeyer

Jenny Rustemeyer is a documentary film producer and part of the team behind “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.” For six months, she quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survived only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. Ask her about why food waste matters and how you can use up food in your own house.

Send Jenny a question using the form on this page.

 

This Week's Expert


Elaine Cheng

Elaine Cheng

Elaine Cheng of Food Connections Consulting helps businesses in Metro Vancouver save money by reducing food waste, and she can help you too! Ask her about storing food to keep it fresh or using up food that’s past its prime.

Send Elaine a question using the form on this page.

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Love Food, Get Answers

You asked, our experts answered. Find tips to keep food fresh, use up every bite, and get started meal planning below.

(Questions and responses have been lightly edited and summarized for clarity.)

 

 

Spinach is cheap in big bags, but I run out of ideas on what to use it with. Shakes and casseroles are good, but I don't like it sautéed much anymore. Ideas?http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/57Spinach is cheap in big bags, but I run out of ideas on what to use it with. Shakes and casseroles are good, but I don't like it sautéed much anymore. Ideas?<div class="ExternalClass2E30316850CD4E699CF7BAEB90A18DBA"><p>The first thing you can do is store your spinach so it stays fresher for longer. Try keeping it in the high humidity drawer of your fridge, and lining the bag or container with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb extra moisture. You can also freeze spinach to use later. (Fresh pre-washed spinach freezes well, or steamed in individual portions.)</p><p>Try adding fresh spinach right into hot soups, stews, and pastas. Sautéed spinach is great on pizza, with scrambled eggs, in a quiche, or as part of a bowl meal like bibimbap. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
Here’s what stops us from meal planning: Space, procrastination, weekly flyers, picky eaters. And time.http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/56Here’s what stops us from meal planning: Space, procrastination, weekly flyers, picky eaters. And time.<div class="ExternalClass97840D2555A441D793F9E2EAC92B40DE"><p>​Try starting small and strategically! Rather than planning a whole week, plan just the next few days. Look at ingredients you already have on hand, what's on sale at the store, and think of recipes you love, then make a list to fill in the gaps. As you get the hang of it, meal planning can become part of your routine.</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
I need meal planning tips for just for me and him. I'm on a weight loss journey and he needs all the calories he can get!http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/55I need meal planning tips for just for me and him. I'm on a weight loss journey and he needs all the calories he can get!<div class="ExternalClass0F9BB83534A240A1A44A8131CD485C58"><p>One thing you can do is keep your pantry stocked with kitchen essentials like grains, beans, and frozen veggies. Then you can make one recipe, but bulk up his servings with extra quinoa, pasta, or rice, for example. </p><p>Another idea is to cook something that can be made in a large batch, like stew or lasagna, and freeze in the portions you'll want to eat – smaller for you, larger for him. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
I need meal planning tips for a family of 4. Mom, meat-eater dad, good-eating 9 year old, endlessly fussy 4 year old!http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/54I need meal planning tips for a family of 4. Mom, meat-eater dad, good-eating 9 year old, endlessly fussy 4 year old!<div class="ExternalClass1895C86A6B884F71A963321F7BD782E1"><p>People tend to like things they helped make, and children are no different. So try involve your kids in meal planning and cooking. Give them choices when possible. #AskLFHW</p><p>Find some more tips for avoiding food waste with kids here: <a href="/use-it-up/waste-less-with-kids/Pages/default.aspx">http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/use-it-up/waste-less-with-kids/Pages/default.aspx</a> </p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
Can you help me find a black bean recipe that isn’t chilli and doesn’t include corn?http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/53Can you help me find a black bean recipe that isn’t chilli and doesn’t include corn?<div class="ExternalClass004356C7C3D24C81B11EB06E22C18A6E"><p>Chili burnout is real! Here are a couple of ideas for your black beans. </p><ol><li>Shrimp and black bean salad (combine shrimp, black beans, romaine lettuce, toasted almond slices, and parmesan, and then top with a lemon vinaigrette)</li><li>Roasted garlic and black bean crostini (mash together black beans and roasted garlic, then spread on toasted baguette slices and top with sour cream, chives, and crumbled bacon)</li></ol><p>#AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
Single here. I need some tips for meal planning.http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/52Single here. I need some tips for meal planning.<div class="ExternalClass46184BA57E51438F87F7722A736A72DF"><p>​Eating the same thing all week long can get pretty boring! One tip is to keep kitchen essentials on hand. Stock up on a few grains, key spices, and sauces you love like barbecue or peanut sauce. The can bring new flavour to leftovers. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
My challenge with meal planning is and thinking of meals that will carry over and or last the week.http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/51My challenge with meal planning is and thinking of meals that will carry over and or last the week.<div class="ExternalClass0AAEEE3535CF400B8451A1B66976974F"><p> One tip is to think double duty. Planning a taco night? Think about other ways to use those tortillas. Asian salad wraps, perhaps? Ingredients sometimes come in larger portions than we need. If you plan a second meal around them, it’s easier to avoid the end-of-the-week overload. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
I don’t follow recipes. I create! So it’s hard to plan ahead sometimes.http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/49I don’t follow recipes. I create! So it’s hard to plan ahead sometimes.<div class="ExternalClassAC388100172449C485AB888A1F40035B"><div><p>​If you love to cook freestyle, but still want to avoid wasting food, our top tip is to start with your refrigerator. See what needs to be used up and then think of a meal to make with those items. Check your pantry for the rest of the ingredients and add missing pieces to the shopping list. Voilà.</p></div></div>Love Food Hate Waste
I find it difficult to meal plan because of the lack of time. I wish that someone could buy the produce and cut the veggies and clean the kitchen for me!http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/50I find it difficult to meal plan because of the lack of time. I wish that someone could buy the produce and cut the veggies and clean the kitchen for me!<div class="ExternalClassCCB95987AAD84A4FAB2F0FD7139B48EF"><p>​We feel your pain! One thing that could work is to cook and freeze on a weekend afternoon. Soups, stews, casseroles and lasagna can all be made in large batches and then frozen and defrosted when you need a quick dinner. To keep it easy, always freeze in the portion sizes you'll want to defrost. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste
I try to do meal planning for the week every Sunday. But, I find I keep turning to the same 10 or 12 recipes, which can make things boring. http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-inspired/ask-lfhw/question/48I try to do meal planning for the week every Sunday. But, I find I keep turning to the same 10 or 12 recipes, which can make things boring. <div class="ExternalClassD30A7029A9034E0882D2D60086E89792"><p>​One way to plan your meals but still allow for some creativity is to use building blocks. Pick two types of protein, one or two grains and a vegetable medley to make at the beginning of the week and incorporate into different meals. For instance, a sauté of broccoli and peppers can be used as a side one night, spooned onto enchiladas another night and worked into a soup or meatloaf later in the week. #AskLFHW</p></div>Love Food Hate Waste