As promised, I’m showing a typical zero waste meal plan and shopping list for a week in August, including costs. I hope this gives you some ideas of how to plan meals and a weekly shop, avoiding waste. As always, this plan follows my ‘how to’ guide on zero waste meal planning. I’ve also linked to the recipes for each meal.
My zero waste meal plan for the week ahead
- Saturday (shopping day): Tuna steak with a seasonal salad and bread (I’ve loosely based the marinade on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but I don’t have a pestle and mortar so I’ve just mixed some dried chili flakes, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and ground coriander and it worked out just fine). For the seasonal salad I used lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery sticks and avocado, with an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. For the bread I just toasted some slices from the fresh wholemeal bread I got from the market bakery).
- Sunday: Roast chicken with roast veg and gravy (again Jamie Oliver… we just use whatever herbs we have growing in the garden, currently thyme, oregano and sage, and we don’t bother with pre-boiling the veg, just chuck them in the oven a bit earlier and turn them often to make sure they’re crispy)
- Monday: Pasta* with pesto* (in this case the pesto was shop bought a while ago and was still in our fridge to be used up; normally I’d make it myself as it’s really easy)
- Tuesday: Sausage* and mash with gravy (we had been given some lovely Lincolnshire sausages by one of our friends which I’ve taken from the freezer; used leftover gravy from the chicken dinner on Sunday)
- Wednesday: Sweet potato, red lentil* and coconut* curry (you can leave out the coconut milk by following this recipe instead but we still had one in our cupboard; both recipes use spinach which I leave out as it seems to be impossible to get unpackaged these days)
- Thursday: Chicken wraps (using leftover chicken from Sunday, some salad, avocado and the amazing wrap recipe from Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home – I haven’t been able to find it online but this one seems to be very similar, I use butter instead of oil)
- Friday: Cheat day – go out or eat leftovers
Shopping list for weekly zero waste meal plan
And here’s the shopping list for the plan above based on the local zero waste shopping options in Warwick:
- Fruit & veg: 8 potatoes, 4 onions, lettuce, tomatoes, 6 carrots, 1 celery, 2 avocados, 2 lemons, 1 garlic bulb, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 red onion
- Core whole foods: 500g pasta*, flour*, 150g red lentils*
- Bakery: 1 wholemeal bread
- Fish monger: 2 tuna steaks
Warwick Health Foods: Cucumber (unwrapped)
Butchers: 1 organic or free range chicken, 6 sausages* (I got the chicken from Sainsbury’s as I was too late to get it from Mel Broome family butchers in Warwick)
Supermarket: 3 bunches of fresh herbs*, such as basil, flat-leaf parsley, marjoram, rosemary; 1 jar of pesto*; 1 can of coconut milk*; dried chili flakes*; garam masala*; cumin*; ground coriander*
Items marked with an asterix* are things we already had in our pantry so they don’t appear on the picture of our weekly shop or in the total sum of money spent, but I’ve added them to the shopping list for completeness.
Additional items and pantry staples to stock up
In addition to the meal plan and shopping list above, we needed the following pantry staples and supplementary items for breakfast and lunches which I got as follows: Coffee beans (Monsoon Estates Coffee at Warwick market); apples, bananas, grapefruit, seasonal fruit for muesli (fruit & veg stalls at Warwick market); additional rolls for lunches (bakery stall at Warwick market); squash, a starter natural yoghurt for my yoghurt making, butter, cheese, baked beans (Sainsbury’s); shower gel (re-fill from Ecover from Warwick Health foods).
And here are the sums for this week’s weekly zero waste shop:
- Fruit & veg: £15.00
- Bakery: £4.30
- Fish: £4.00 (the tuna steak was on special offer)
- Coffee: £5.00
- Sainsbury’s: £29.50 (includes the large free range chicken)
- Shower gel from Warwick health foods: £3.00
Total cost for weekly zero waste shop: £60.80
I hope this gives you a good idea of how I approach a zero waste meal plan and shopping list. As always, the shop isn’t perfect – I haven’t been able to avoid packaging on a number of items, including the celery (another one of those veg nearly impossible to get unpackaged…), squash, baked beans and starter yoghurt from the supermarket. However I feel that this is still very little waste compared to the average household’s weekly shop. And I had a good time doing it – the whole trip took about an hour and a half, I got to ride my bicycle, and have some cheeky chats with some of the lovely people at the market. Let me know how you do your weekly zero waste meal plan and shop, or any other comments below. Cheers, Bettina