21 Apr 2021

    Agents of Change: Learn how to Reduce #FoodWaste from our very own Master Chefs, our Mums!

    By Emirates Nature-WWF Team ,

    #CookSmarter and spruce up your leftovers this Ramadan with these tried ‘n tested tips from the best of the best – our mums! Afterall, they’ve been doing it since before it was the cool thing to do.

    MicrosoftTeams-image (19)This Ramadan, we shine the spotlight on 5 fantastic mums who are tackling food waste in homes. We hope these stories inspire you to Shop Smarter, Cook Smarter and Eat Smarter so that you too can #SaveOneThird of food from going waste.


    1. Huda Kanj (@HealthyByHuda): Plan Meals Ahead of Time

    Mother of Natalya and Reem Kanj, Huda Kanj has been guiding thousands of us on what to cook through Instagram @HealthyByHuda. Here, she shares her secret sauce to reducing food waste while cooking.

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    Link to recipe for - Manakish Zaatar, Roasted cauliflower, and Healthy porridge

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What are your top tips to reduce food waste while cooking? 

     @HealthyByHuda: Plan your meals ahead of time. If you have extra vegetables and fruits, freeze them to keep them as fresh as possible and use at a later time.

    "Check your fridge and cupboards regularly and bring foods that are nearing their expiry to the front, so you remember to use them."

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s the best way to use leftovers, so that perfectly edible food isn't thrown away?

    @HealthyByHuda: As food will be staying within the household this year, store the food correctly in Tupperware to keep it as fresh as possible. Then re-plate it for iftar or suhoor the next day.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s your advice for readers who are cooking their own iftars and suhoors?

    @HealthyByHuda: Keep the dishes simple and focus on family favourites. Whenever possible, stay away from heavy meals and avoid frying so that you’re satiating yourselves with food that is good for you and will keep you full for longer.

    You can’t go wrong with soups and salads, they’re my favourites and a great way to add variety.

    2. Ghada Nabil (Egypt): No One Really Eats a Big Portion for Iftar

    Picture6-4Mother of two gorgeous girls, Emirates Nature-WWF’s very own Ghada Nabil shares her tips for a waste-free Ramadan

    Emirates Nature-WWF: How do you reduce food waste while cooking?

    Ghada Nabil: People who fast usually think they will eat a big portion for iftar. In reality they don’t! They won’t be able to eat more than the amount that fits the palm of the hand. I used to make 4-5 main courses but now cook only two mains, without feeling shame. I also make smaller portions during Ramadan than on normal days. So, if we are four persons I literally cook for three. My younger daughter loves to comment, “Mama this is not enough!” It is always enough, sometimes even more, and we consume it the next day too.

    "A few years ago, my friends used to make fun of me for making smaller portions and less variety of dishes for iftar. Now, they do the same! I feel proud that I’ve succeeded in spreading the message."

    The best way to cook smaller portions is to use smaller pots.

    Another tip is to plan the meals based on availability and NOT recipes. So, first I check to see if I have any vegetables or ingredients that I can cook. My mother also taught me to replace specific ingredients with foods that I have available at the time. For example, instead of cutting a lemon for a few drops and then wasting or forgetting to use the rest of it, use a few drops of vinegar.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: How do you maximise leftovers?

    Ghada Nabil: The Freezer is my best friend, especially in Ramadan. I freeze the leftover to consume on another day, serve it with a side dish or turn it into a new dish. For example, leftover rice will become tomorrow’s fatta or fried rice.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s your advice for readers who are fasting?

    Ghada Nabil: Ramadan is month of peace, sharing and love. What you might waste during cooking or eating, is another person’s right, so you are wasting his portion. Ramadan is our opportunity to get back in touch with our humanity and care about each other. Let us have a new start in our life.

    3. Laila Ahmad Ali (UAE): Use your Freezer for Meal Prep and Leftovers

    Picture7-3Mother of Hoor Alrais – one of our UAE youth Ambassadors for Nature, Laila Ahmad Ali shares her top tips.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: How do you reduce food waste while cooking?

    Laila Ahmad Ali: We are a small family, so I try to not overcook. I plan my menu ahead of time and prepare certain foods every day. If I have extra veggies, I used them to make soups.


    Emirates Nature-WWF: What do you do with leftovers?

    Laila Ahmad Ali: If the food can last longer then we’ll freeze it. Otherwise, we gather the excess food and give it to the livestock. We use the vegetable and fruit scraps to make fertilizer.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s your advice for readers who are cooking their own iftars and suhoors?

    Laila Ahmad Ali: In normal times, you could make a deal with one of you friends or family that you will cook for one day and they’ll cook the next day. This way you don’t have to cook every day and you’ll still get delicious food. This year is different though.

    "If you find it hard to cook every day, try the meal prepping method where you prepare enough food that would last you through the week in advance and freeze it."

    4. Sirine Bakri (Lebanon): Keep the Dressing on the Side

    Lebanese mum Sirine Bakri is well known as an amazing cooking in her own circles – and daughter Rima’s too! She shares tips and ideas on making the most of leftovers.

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    Emirates Nature-WWF: What are your top tips to reduce food waste while cooking? 

    Sirine Bakri: Don't make too many different dishes; it's good to have a variety especially during Ramadan, but try to keep the portions small.

    "Make a salad or fattouch with the dressing on the side. This is what I always do in my house. We add the dressing to our own plates, so we don't end up throwing away leftover salad."

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What do you do with leftovers?

    Sirine Bakri: A lot of leftovers can be turned into other dishes. For example, if the meal has chicken, you can use the extra chicken to make grilled chicken sandwiches (just add some avocado), or chicken and spinach quiche, or chicken soup. The same goes for dishes that have meat, you can make a stew with rice or quiche. Leftover pasta can be turned into "fake lasagna" as we call it in our household, which is basically pasta with some additional sauce and cheese on top.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s your advice for readers who are fasting?

    Sirine Bakri: For suhoor, eat fruits, vegetables, soup or dairy sandwiches. Juices are a good idea too. But stay away from salty and fried foods – or you will be thirsty during the day!

    5. Zareena Qureshi (India): Buy Perishables on a Weekly Basis

    Picture10Mother of Emirates Nature-WWF’s own Huma Qureshi, Zareena Qureshi reminds us to appreciate food during Ramadan, and highlights the importance of keeping it from going to waste.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What are your top tips to reduce food waste while cooking?

    Zareena Qureshi: Making a weekly menu during Ramadan for Iftar and suhoor helps in buying just enough fruits and veggies, which would not spoil or have to be thrown. You can also reduce spoilage by buying perishables like fruits and veggies on a weekly basis, or by choosing frozen flavoured yogurt. Your freezer and oven are the best tools in the kitchen. Use them.

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What do you do with leftovers?

    Zareena Qureshi: Leftover chopped fruits would become a fruit punch. Leftover mains like chicken or meat can be shredded into smaller pieces and used as filling for sandwiches the next day.

    "Dates are usually gifted in large quantities during Ramadan. These can be converted into date pastes, frozen to last longer, and used to make chutneys and dips over time."

    Emirates Nature-WWF: What’s your advice for readers who are fasting?

    Zareena Qureshi: Ramadan is about understanding the hardships of the underprivileged and how we must appreciate food on regular basis. Participating in lavish buffets, which then leads to wastage, contradicts the entire purpose of Ramadan. So, cook just enough that you are able to consume it on the same day itself.

    Learn more about food waste and the benefits of saving 1/3 of food from going to waste. Sign up for our Zero to Food Hero challenge and take action today.

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