It's July - time for hand knits, snuggling up in front of the heater, and oh! Plastic Free July! I've decided to join in, and will attempt to live without any single-use plastic items (such as food packaging, plastic bags, straws, take-away food containers etc) for the month of July. I have made essential toiletries and medical supplies the exception, but apart from that no plastic shall cross my threshold if I can help it!
You can join in yourself, or just read up on it at the official website. There are heaps of great tips on how to be plastic-free in every aspect of your life.
Most people, when I tell them of my plans, are simultaneously intrigued and baffled. Plastic is such a prominent part of our modern lives - insidiously so, I believe - that the concept of avoiding it for a month seems nigh on impossible. So I've decided to share my weekly menu plans to show that with a little planning and organisation it can be done, and that my family doesn't have to live on raw fruit and vegetables for a month!
The first thing to do is to find a good store that sells dry goods, particularly grains and pulses, in bulk. Most of these items come in plastic packets at the supermarket, but bulk good stores allow you to fill your own bags (or handily provide paper bags), which are then weighed at the counter to calculate the cost. If you are lucky, these shops will also sell an array of dairy products in glass, too.
The second thing to do is to focus not on what you can't have, but what you can have, which is fresh, seasonal food! By making the most of the ingredients you have that come plastic-free, it soon becomes easy to figure out delicious meals that are as plastic-free as nature intended.
All grains, pulses, dry goods and dairy products that I am using this week are from such a store, and our bread is from local bakeries that put their bread in paper bags. Once you incorporate this way of shopping into your routine, it becomes pretty easy to avoid the evil plastic stuff. It does help that my local area has places like this to shop in, but it is getting easier - there seems to be more and more places selling food in this way. Sustainable Table even has a bulk store directory, so you can see if there is one local to you in your state.
Below is my menu plan, including snacks even. Never let it be said that my plastic-free experiments resulted in my family going hungry!
Breakfast - Raisin toast with butter and/or homemade jam
Lunch - Vegetable soup with spelt bread toast
Snack - Orange, pink grapefrut, ginger and black pepper fruit salad
Dinner - Malaysian vegetable curry with brown rice
Breakfast - Porridge with stewed apple and rhubarb
Lunch - Left over vegetable curry
Snack - Banana
Dinner - Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup
Breakfast - Avocado with black pepper on spelt toast
Lunch - Left over soup
Snack - Winter fruit salad
Dinner - Kale and sweet potato pilaf
Breakfast - Soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers
Lunch - Left over pilaf
Snack - Apple, rhubarb, oat and yogurt pots
Dinner - Pumpkin and feta risotto with rocket salad
Breakfast - Toast with home-made hummus, cucumber and tomato
Lunch - Left over risotto
Snack - Pears
Dinner - Home made veggie pizza with feta
Breakfast - Sultana, apple and cinnamon couscous porridge
Lunch - Left over pizza with garden salad
Snack - Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus
Dinner - Greek bean and silverbeet stew
Breakfast - Chocolate chia waffles with banana and maple syrup
Lunch - Left over stew
Snack - Oat and fruit cookies
Dinner - Heuvos rancheros with salad