I have written on this blog many times that some menus would have really helped us on our quest to go plastic-free back in 2011. I have sprinkled seven menus here and there on this site and today have compiled them into a single post. I have edited these since I first wrote them. As I added more recipes to my blog, I changed the menus around a bit (including the order). So if you would like to see the originals, go here.
Criteria for these menus (and some notes):
- They will reduce your waste. This was the entire point of this exercise, after all! If you have no access to a farmers’ market or bulk bins, here are some ideas for reducing your waste when food shopping.
- They are vegetarian. Technically I’m an omnivore but I follow the Michael Pollan guideline for sensible eating: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” So you’ll find lots of vegetables in these menus. If you eat meat, you can toss leftover bits into the soups, chili, stir fry and frittata, for example.
- They include at least one fermented food every day. If you wonder why I eat so much fermented food, read this post and this post. In addition to tasting delicious and improving your gut health, fermented foods keep for weeks, months and even longer, depending on the type. If you make your own sauerkraut, for example, you can make several jars occasionally, which can easily keep for a year. This saves time.
- The menus vary daily. I absolutely do not cook this much food in a week but I added different dishes every day to mix things up. If I cooked a new dish every single night, not only would I be completely exhausted, I would spend a fortune and waste piles of food. I would suggest following one or two menus (or a few meals that strike your fancy from different days) and eating the dishes for several days. (I love leftovers.)
- I have posted no caloric information. A recent large study published in JAMA found that “people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods—without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes—lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year” as opposed to those who counted calories. Read about the study here.
Lunch: Kitchen sink soup
Lunch: Clear-out-the-fridge seasonal salad with vegetables, cooked grains and cooked beans on hand, balsamic vinaigrette
Lunch: Vegan chili
Lunch: Use-em-up roasted vegetables puréed into a soup or tossed into a salad with cooked grains and beans, hardboiled eggs
Snack: Roasted chickpeas
Breakfast: Eggs any style, topped with avocado and kimchi
Breakfast: Sourdough toast with nut butter, fruit
Lunch: Minestrone soup
To help you meal plan, I’ve created this simple, downloadable and fillable menu planner. You’ll find a post on menu planning here. As I said above, I don’t cook a different meal every night. I also eat lots of leftovers for lunch. So, my weekly meals will look more like the menu below.
|Sunday||Steel-cut oats topped with fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds||Kitchen sink soup||Not-too-spicy black beans, sourdough tortillas, fermented salsa, sour cream||Vegetables and hummus|
|Monday||Sourdough pancakes topped with fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds||Leftover kitchen sink soup||Leftover black beans and sides||Fruit|
|Tuesday||Egg scramble with leftover chopped vegetables, beet kvass||Last of the black beans and sides||Pizza with tomato sauce, topped with vegetables on hand and ricotta cheese, seasonal salad with balsamic vinaigrette||Kale chips, ginger beer|
|Wednesday||Granola topped with fruit and yogurt or almond milk||The last of the kitchen sink soup||Leftover pizza, salad||Popcorn, kombucha|
|Thursday||Granola topped with fruit and yogurt or almond milk||Last of the pizza||Stir fry with peanut sauce and brown rice, kimchi||No snack tonight, fell asleep early after cooking and cleaning 😉|
|Friday||Eggs any style, topped with avocado and kimchi||Sourdough bread, hummus, vegetables||Leftover stir fry with peanut sauce, brown rice, kimchi||Popcorn, hibiscus soda|
|Saturday||Sourdough toast with nut butter, fruit||Leftover anything||Out for dinner||Popcorn, ginger beer (we eat lots of popcorn)|