A meal plan for Zero Waste Week

Next week is Zero Waste Week and I have a blog post coming along all about it! I try really hard not to waste things, especially food, but I am not perfect and sometimes something slips through.  However, my meal plan for Zero Waste Week needs to be better. If I make a bit effort it will make me more conscious day to day.

I won’t achieve zero waste. There isn’t enough time in my life to grow all our food from scratch. Neither is there a specialist zero waste store nearby for me to buy all of our ingredients with no packaging. However, by using much of what we already have, especially those items tucked at the back of the cupboard that I am cheerfully ignoring, I won’t be wasting them. The ingredients I do buy must be minimally packaged, so I will be taking my reusable bags and containers to the shops to avoid plastic bags as much as possible.

meal plan for zero waste week

What is lurking?

Here are some of the items lurking in the back of the cupboard. I want to use at least some of these as part of my Zero Waste Week meal plan.

Tins of potatoes, chickpeas, green lentils, aduki beans, tomatoes and sweetcorn.  I also have a tin of coconut milk and a can of mushroom soup that has been there for, possibly, years! (Why is it there? None of us like it!). There is a large jar of green olives too, which we forgot about. Usually olives get eaten really quickly as we love them. A pack of poppadoms too.

I have a jar of korma sauce, a green Thai curry kit and a small pot of tikka masala paste.

Lots of tuna! About 6 cans. Plus a small tin of anchovies. A jar of mango chutney and another of apple sauce.

I also have a massive bag of pudding rice. Rice pudding is a favourite for me but it requires forward planning. There is also a bag of organic coconut flour that I bought on a whim in Aldi. Buying an unfamiliar ingredient with no plan for using it is not a good idea.

In the freezer there is a lot of frozen fruit: blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. We also have a bag of apples someone gave us in the fridge and our tree is full of ripening plums. There are also quite a few cans of fruit – prunes, peaches and pears. I am not in a hurry to use these as we have fresh and frozen to eat first.

There are some frozen chicken breasts and 4 small lamb chops that were yellow stickered.

There are two portions each of chick pea curry and chilli con carne that I batch cooked last week. I also have some veggie burgers that I don’t like and some meat sausages that were bought on offer that Mr S isn’t keen on. I need to find a way to sneak these into the zero wast meal plan!

The Zero Waste Meal Plan

Saturday

Lunch is courgette soup from the freezer. I use old butter pots to store this.

Dinner will be lamb chops for Mr S and veggie burgers for me (I will smother them in onion gravy). We will have these with new potatoes and frozen corn on the cob. Leftover plum cake and custard.

Sunday

If we are in we will have cheese on toast or a sandwich for lunch.

Dinner will be lamb chops again for Mr S and a piece of haddock for me, this time with roast potatoes and broccoli. Fruit crumble and custard.

Monday

We have quite a few eggs. I will make Spanish omelette and use the tinned potatoes if we don’t have enough fresh.  We will have this with tinned corn or whatever needs eating.

Tuesday

Chick pea curry for me and chilli for Mr S from the freezer, both with boiled rice. We will eat the poppadoms with this and some mango chutney.

Wednesday

Tuna penne with black olives, except I shall use the green ones! I will make a simple carrot salad as there is a large bag in the fridge.

Thursday

Just me for dinner tonight. I will probably have something on toast whilst I write some more blog posts!

Friday

Chicken and vegetable curry with rice. The girls will all be home, so I will make a large pan full using the chicken breasts, some peppers, courgettes and carrots. I will do a smaller pan without any meat and perhaps add the green lentils.

Work lunches

All my lunches at work will be either leftovers or home made soups and sandwiches. I don’t buy a pre-prepared lunch anyway, so no unnecessary packaging here. Also, I never buy coffee out and make mine in the office. I will take some home made cookies (see below) for snacks.

Snacks and sweets

I will make a slow cooker rice pudding tomorrow and at the same time some stewed fruit, using up the apples and some of the frozen berries. This will be good to take to work next week instead of buying more fresh fruit.

I did an internet search for recipes using coconut flour and found these gluten free chocolate chip cookies. We have half a bar of dark chocolate in the fridge, so I can use that up rather than buying choc chips. I planned to make biscuits this week anyway  as home made means less packaging, so this works well. Another super easy biscuit recipe is this peanut butter cookie recipe. My friend bought these into work yesterday and they were delicious. Gluten free and super easy. I have a huge jar of peanut butter so can bake some of these if I have time.

Progress not perfection

In the end, any effort towards reducing our waste is one worth making. We are aiming for progress, not perfection. One step towards zero waste is far better than standing still like a rabbit in the headlights watching an environmental disaster unfolding!

So, this is my zero waste week meal plan. I am still at a loss as to what to do with the tin of mushroom soup, so your suggestions would be gratefully received! What’s on your menu this week?

As usual, to keep my shopping budget on track,  I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look here.

18 thoughts on “A meal plan for Zero Waste Week

  1. September is a challenge month for my household and grocery budget. Zero waste goals fit in as a good strategy to keep my budget low.

  2. Well done on your Zero Waste Plan, Jane. Our problem is that there are only two of us here and buying items which are suitable for just two people is often difficult – for example, punnets of strawberries are large and we often have mouldy ones at the bottom of the back after a couple of days, and there are just too many to use up right away. So many veg are also pre-packed, that you can’t have just a couple of items, you have to buy a pack. As for the sugar and caffeine in those high-energy drinks … how is it that when we know sugar is bad for us is there not legislation to prevent such things being made in the first place?
    But we do try to be economical with our food and not waste it, but it looks like we waste it with our food recycling bin, because I cook everything from scratch – not had a takeaway in over twenty years, I don’t think. So in the bin there are eggshells gallore, the outer eaves of cauliflowers, bananas skins, orange and lemon peel, potato peel and so forth. It looks like we’re wasteful, when we’re not!
    Anyway, best of luck with your own Zero Waste Week!
    Margaret P

  3. September is the “New Year” to me and until I find some PT work it is going to be a very frugal Autumn. Accordingly I decided to do a real in-depth inventory of my freezer and pantry to see just what I had – mainly as far as proteins were concerned. I listed each item and how many servings each item would provide! I was shocked! I came up with 196 servings – and this was without taking into account lighter meals from salads, soups, egg dishes, loaded baked potatoes, beans on toast or just a bit of cold meat & cheese! Please bear in mind – I only have the freezer compartment above my fridge (which is only 5′ foot high & 28″ wide – called an apt. sized fridge here), plus a small linen cupboard turned into a pantry in my small 1 bedroom apt.
    This actually means that I have lunches & dinners covered from now until the end of November and can still provide a few meals per week to my elderly neighbour. In addition there is a good supply of frozen and tinned fruit & veg, rice, lentils, beans, tomatoes & sauces, condiments, UHT milk & baking supplies. I simply had no idea I had so much on hand.
    Accordingly I have allotted about half my usual funds to this month’s grocery budget and will concentrate on milk, eggs & cheese along with fruit & veg. Within this amount certain money is for non-food items (I also have a good supply of these needs on hand but always keep my eyes open for good deals) and another small amount is strictly for stockpile goods – this time of year there are a lot of bargains on hand so don’t want to miss out as these will be needed later.
    I’ve also marked down the proteins that I plan on buying over the next few months i.e.. a couple of turkey breasts & a couple of small hams for Thanksgiving & Christmas and bones for stock & bone broth – I’ll keep the list in my purse so it’s handy if I spot a bargain. I won’t be doing much of this shopping in September as I have to make room in my freezer first so I hope it cools down soon so I can start cooking!
    I always get lots of great ideas from your blog – so as always, thank you.
    PS – as regards the mushroom soup – I sometimes use it for casserole cooking, especially for chicken. If you check the Campbell’s soup site – or whichever company makes your soup they will probably have a few recipes.

  4. I’d use the mushroom soup as the basis for a chicken & mushroom pie (or veggie alternative) – maybe thickening it up a little first as they’re not the condensed versions like they have in America.
    I also use Tikka Masala paste to make Masala Fish – mix with a 200g pot of low fat Greek yogurt for a lovely marinade and sauce. 🙂

    I have some soup cans lurking that need to be eaten fairly soon so I’ve arranged them into ‘use up’ order and told the husband to eat the first one he can reach first! I rarely eat soup so those I have are for him.
    What I find annoying though is when I’m told to buy certain items for lunches for example, and then they fail to tell me that they no longer want them anymore, so I continue to buy it until I notice it’s not been used up. So then of course it invariably ends up going off and being thrown away. 🙁

  5. To use up a can of mushroom soup, fry onion and fresh mushrooms if you have some (or use a can of mushrooms) Add plain flour to veg, cook briefly then add soup. Stir while bringing it to the boil and it will thicken. Use this sauce on chicken and rice or over pasta.

  6. You could always donate your mushroom soup to a food bank if it’s at risk of lingering too long in the cupboard.

  7. This is pretty awesome. Good luck with your no waste project, it’s something I try to do but there’s usually something that ends up in the bin. I don’t count it as waste if it gets eaten by hens!!!
    I didn’t know that coconut flour was even a thing so very good luck with that!
    Tx

  8. I definitely need to have a week where I use up some of the items in the cupboard. I’m going to try and do this next week now! Thanks for linking up x

    Just to let you know I’m running the linky alone now, so you don’t need to link up to The OLP after this week xx

  9. I really need to have a clear out of my cupboards…We have so many tins and packets we don’t get around to using!
    All of your meals sound delicious! I do love the sound of the puddings. x

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