Every now and then I get asked about meal ideas and what we eat over the course of a week. It can be hard for people to imagine or plan weekly meals when plastic packaged  food seems to be the only option. There’s also a perception that package free food is more expensive, which makes people curious about our meals. It seems obvious then that I’d share what we eat and drink throughout a week. However, the topic of what we eat and feed our children often evokes emotional reactions from individuals, and I have found myself shying away from sharing this information. There’s always judgement from someone about meat content, dairy content, sugar content, fruit and vegetable content, carbohydrate content, and artificial flavourings and colourings, but very little understanding of things which influence  family meals like sensory processing differences in children, availability of affordable fresh food, and various household dynamics. So what made me decided to share? I realised that it might help others reduce their waste and that probably outweighs any insecurities I have about our diet. And, my insecurities and difficulties actually have nothing to do with plastic and package free living. So if you are looking for insight into plastic free and zero waste living, I hope these weekly accounts of what we ate help in some way.

Some things to note:

  • We often have dinner leftovers and we always eat those for our next lunch (sometimes breakfast).
  • I tend to bake a batch of something and when that’s been eaten I bake something else for snacks. I find it helps lessen food waste.
  • We have access to package free milk because we live on a dairy farm.
  • We focus on local and in-season ingredients.
  • Shopping for all these ingredients doesn’t happen weekly. Most pantry items can be bought every few months.
  • I don’t have access to bulk stores but I have managed to find bits and pieces that I can get in bulk around my district.

Three Weekly Winter Meal Plans

This is a reflection of how we have been eating lately. If people are interested I will do a similar post for each of the seasons.

Zero waste weekly Winter meal plan: one

Zero waste weekly Winter meal plan: two

Zero waste weekly Winter meal plan: three

Ingredients list

Here is the corresponding ingredients list for all those meals and how I buy it.

Pantry:

  • Bread and baked goods – package free or homemade (extra loaves kept in freezer)
  • Flour – package free or large paper bag
  • Rice – package free
  • Sugar – package free or large paper bag
  • Brown sugar – homemade
  • Vanilla essence – homemade
  • Cacao powder – package free
  • Baking powder – package free and homemade
  • Oils – package free
  • Honey – package free
  • Dried fruit – package free
  • Shredded coconut – package free
  • Nuts – package free
  • Seeds – package free
  • Pasta – bought in a box
  • Porridge – recyclable box
  • Muesli – package free
  • Cornflakes – package free
  • Tea – package free
  • Coffee – glass jar that gets reused
  • In season local fruits – package free or homegrown

Refrigerator:

  • Butter – parchment paper which gets reused for baking before being composted
  • Eggs – backyard or from friends or a nearby producer if ours aren’t producing
  • Milk – package free
  • Capers – glass jar which gets recycled
  • Medjool dates – package free
  • Jam – homemade and glass jar
  • Cheddar cheese – waxed coating
  • Parmesan cheese – package free
  • Feta – package free
  • Meat and fish – package free
  • Pickles – glass jar that gets reused
  • Herbs – home-grown
  • Tomato paste – glass jar that gets reused
  • In season local vegetables – package free or home-grown (onions, potatoes, etc. stored in pantry)

I’d love it if you could share with me some of your favourite easy zero waste meals.

 

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12 thoughts

  1. It is perplexing how ‘what we eat’ has become a topic that can bring out the worst in people. I’ve been working on a blog about food for awhile but still haven’t written it. I am inspired by Michael Pollan’s advice, ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants’. This takes the conversation away from having to be in one camp or the other. I appreciate that you have shared your menus, I think they will be helpful for people. Excellent zero wasting, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ruth. I like that quote too. I’ve had a fair bit of positive feedback over on Instagram so I am feeling much more positive about my efforts now. I’ve been getting frustrated by a lack of variety in what I know how to cook and when I make an effort one or more family members won’t touch it! It puts me off from trying. I’m going to try a suggestion which was given to me which is to let the kids and husband pick some of the meals and on the nights when I get to choose, I can experiment. I think it’ll help all round.

      Like

  2. I’ve started to make my own sauerkraut and just came across this recipe where you fry apples in butter, add sauerkraut, garlic and fold the mix through mashed potatoes. So good, I’m still dribbling, just thinking about it. No waste, full taste!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This all sounds pretty darned good to me! I really need help with shopping in relation to getting vendors letting me BYO containers. I am just not getting anywhere. I bought tea today from a shop that bulk supplies and I asked if I brought my own container could they fill it to avoid the plastic bag it comes in. A very definite NO! Too much risk re H&S and sure as eggs if they did it it would be when an inspector was there. They did add their plastic was bi-degradable but I just smiled and said thanks. What’s the trick? I’ve thought about getting some little cards with some info on them about why I ask made up so I can leave them and they might like to think of some options but I fear it will be a waste (bad pun). Maybe I should open a shop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really surprised you were refused your tea in your own bag. It wasn’t S+S was it, because they have been doing it for me. Not enough people understand that bi-degradable bags are just as bad for the environment and it’s hard to have that conversation in the store. A lot of people also don’t know the difference between degradable plastic and biodegradable plastic.
      I’ve heard some other people have started developing cards to leave with shop keepers for this purpose but I don’t think they’ve finished it. I’ll let you know when I get me info about them, but I’m also not sure it will make much of a difference.
      Here is some info I have from the Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately some vendors are not going to budge but they shouldn’t blame their stance on health regulations and laws because there aren’t any stopping them. They do have the choice though.

      “In reference to your question, many people provide a cafe’s with their own re-usable coffee cups for the business to make their coffee each day. And yes, this is very environmentally friendly option.
      It is the responsibility of a food business to produce safe and suitable food, as specified under the Food Act (the Act) and Australia New Zealand Code (the Code). Neither the Act or the Code references packaging that is provided by the customer. This means that it would be up to the individual business to determine if it is appropriate for a container provided by the customer can be used.
      If you have any further questions feel free to contact the Food Safety Unit on 1300 364 352 to discuss.
      Regards
      Food Safety Unit
      Health Protection | Regulation, Health Protection and Emergency Management Division
      Department of Health and Human Services | 50 Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
      foodsafety@dhhs.vic.gov.au | 1300-364-352 | http://www.health.vic.gov.u/foodsafety

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, not S&S they are great. Tea Leaves in Sassafras. I love their range of teas and they have a huge selection. Thanks for that info, I think fear of litigation by customers is behind most of the stigma and worry that if someone brings in a manky container is will cross-contaminate. Education is definitely the key I think. I was really surprised too seeing as it was tea which is not a high risk item and it is going to go in boiling water! Thanks. Maree

        Liked by 1 person

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