I feel a bit of a fool writing this post as it’s so simple I’m sure most people have a far better system in place but honestly, this is one of my most requested blog posts (by at least one person ;)).
Reducing your food waste may not be a huge priority but it is one of mine. It’s the easiest way to reduce your overall household waste as, realistically, it involves one of three things; buying less food, eating more food or planning better. I am good with all three of these things but let’s be realistic and accessible to those who don’t want to eat more food, can’t buy less and want the third, most Virgo option on the table.
Let’s talk meal planning
I’ve been heavily into meal planning since the whole family became vegan. It’s helped us reduce our waste, eat a bigger variety of food and, genuinely, have a little fun each week. Come on, don’t judge me on this!
Before you start, all you’ll need is some sort of meal planning notebook. I have a very, very old one that is still going but it’s not the best as there’s no space to add a shopping list. I’d recommend either using a blank pad you customise with the days of the week and a space for a shopping list, or use an online notes app.
Before I jump in and give you my simple meal-planning tips I wanted to let you know my go-to resources for finding good vegan/plant-based recipes.
My Favourite Vegan Resources
- Minimalist Baker always has great, simple plant-based recipes and I’ve never made a dud one!
- Oh She Glows is another fave and I especially adore her food photography.
- Aine Carlin first cookbook Keep it Vegan is a classic I often refer back to.
- I adore my beautiful Riverford Autumn/Winter cookbook; the recipes aren’t exclusively vegan but it’s a gorgeous guide to eating seasonally and my go-to when random veg like Pain de Sucre pops up in my veg box!
- But I couldn’t live without my Vegan Comfort Classics cookbook by Lauren Toyota because I am a carb Queen and I couldn’t live without my comfort food.
My Vegan Meal Planning Tips
- Start with what you have: Any veg that needs to be used up lest it grow roots and propagate in your fridge? A glut of pasta you need to get through? I have a weekly veg box so at this stage I also look at what’s coming in my next delivery.
- Note the days you’re out: This isn’t tricky for me as I basically never go out but you might have a weekly date night or exercise class or whatever so it’s good to keep note, so you know not to make more than you need.
- Set categories: I use a bit of a strange system as I rely on what my bulk store has in stock. So to keep it both flexible and reliable I use 5 categories to base my meals on; rice, grain (cous cous/quinoa etc), pasta, potato and legume (lentils, chickpeas etc).
- Start planning! This is when I grab my cookbooks and start poring over them, picking whatever takes my fancy. Of course, we have staples (Like the chilli from this book!) but I like to add new bits and pieces too. Most importantly, the meals we cook tend to be in line with the seasons as per our Riverford veg box.
- Make a shopping list: Pretty important but amazing how I often I forget this step! This is why I suggest having a space for your list as the most simple you can make your meal plan, the easier it is to stick to. At the moment, I write on the back of my meal plan OR pop it on Sunday which is when we tend to wing it a bit.
And thus concludes one of the least exciting blog posts I’ve ever written! I hope you enjoyed it because I GENUINELY loved writing it!
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