Every month this year I’ll be focussing in reducing the waste produced by my household. Between Blue Planet 2, the Latte Levy and plastic free aisles in supermarkets it feels like everyone in the UK is waking up to waste.
I decided to start the year by tackling our food waste. I’d be embarrassed to admit how many half used food items are thrown out in my house at the end of every week. It had become something I felt I couldn’t control and a fairly large source of anxiety and guilt for me.
Taking the bull by the horns (as opposed to just shutting the fridge door and Parenting I didn’t see the hardening cheese) I decided to write a meal plan for the week.
Planning a Waste Free Week
The difference between this meal plan and ones I’d done previously was that this one would also include lunches made from leftovers. It took a little bit of planning but was far more straightforward than I imagined it to be. Crucially I only gave myself 15 minutes to Plan the week, this was to stop me overcomplicating it.
I set out a few ground rules for myself.
- Eat vegetarian at least twice a week for dinner and several times for lunch
- Cut down on prep and clean up time
- Use as few ‘ready mades’ as possible
- Every meal to have 2/3 veg portions
- and Alfie (17months) to eat most of the meals.
The Meals and the Leftovers
Here’s how we got on. (Disclaimer, I’m not a food blogger, obviously, all of these photos were snapped quickly while I was starving and are evidence of real meals, hastily cooked!) Anything in italics was a leftover in use.
Lunch: Scrambled eggs on toast.
Dinner: Puy lentil salad with roast carrots and feta. Pasta with frozen sauce for Alfie.
Leftover: some leaves and lentils, half block feta.
Lunch: Lentil salad with feta and olives.
Dinner: Roast chicken crown, roasted carrot, parsnip & red onion with a sour cream and chive baked potato.
Leftovers: some chicken, some veg, one potato. Half raw onion, half jar sour cream, raw parsnip.
Lunch: beans on toast for Alfie and Ted.
Dinner: Pesto roasted salmon with minty peas, baby boil potatoes and roasted vine tomatoes.
Leftovers: Half salmon fillet. Most of a jar of pesto, half pack tomatoes.
Lunch: Potato and green beans with pesto, chicken and olive/tomato salad for Fred. Roast veg with feta and nuts for Ted.
Dinner: Mushroom stroganoff (sourcream) with rice and lentils for Fred and Ted. Roasted salmon (l) for Alfie
Lunch: Nicoise (ish) salad – leaves, green beans, boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes.
Dinner: Chilli and Tuna Pasta (l tomatoes, rocket)
Leftovers: a nearly full tin of anchovies, cooked pasta.
Dinner: Alfie had fish fingers, fries, peas and broccoli. Fred and I had pizza!
Leftover: practically a whole head of broccoli.
Dinner: a repeat of Friday’s Pasta
Alfie snacks: blueberries, bananas, pears, crackers, cheese, yoghurts.
Leftovers: half banana, some pear.
By the end of the week…
Waste for the week: Pasta from Friday night.
I’ve been really pleased with how this week went. Our food bill for the five days was roughly £60 which is a reduction, hurray! I threw out virtually nothing and nothing was left to go off. Another highlight was that EVERYTHING was freshly cooked with only the smallest amount of processed foods.
I am aware of how pathetic it sounds to say this but I feel so proud that I achieved this! In my head the food waste issue had become a big green furry monster that took swipes at me every time I opened the fridge.
In the end, it wasn’t even that hard to reduce our food waste!