Welcome to your third step in becoming a mindful, motivated minimalist.
This is a weekly exercise that will take an hour of your time on a Sunday evening. By following the steps you will be able to mindfully create a weekly vegetarian meal plan with organic groceries within your budget. I have found by eliminating processed food and only eating small portions of organic meat on the weekends, I can afford organic produce. I also have found that my children seem to still require a meat protein on weekends to keep them from feeling to lethargic during the school week. By setting aside this time on a Sunday evening, you will feel motivated to cook nutritious, family meals and have more time to cook.
So let’s meal plan… Yes, I hear the moans from all of you and let me tell you I see my friends eyes glaze over when I mention a weekly menu to them. Often my friends reply that it is easy for me to meal plan as I am organised and efficient (I am a primary school teacher!). But truth be told I only began meal planning three years ago so that means for 37 years of my life I must have been unorganised and a procrastinator!
I also know meal planning stops impulse purchasing and quick throw together meals that come from jars. I know it sounds boring and dull but honestly since I’ve been meal planning, my family dinners and lunches have become nutritious, colourful, and eaten! By meal planning I have all the ingredients on hand, have great left overs for lunch, try new recipes regularly and most importantly have no waste in my fridge at the end of the week.
Firstly…find/create a format to record your menu and then display it. I have mine displayed on my kitchen pin board and every time my children ask what is for dinner, I dab towards to it! I choose to buy a format from a website/blogger ‘The Organised Housewife’ and I print a bundle of menus at once so they are always on hand.
Meal plan from The Organised Housewife.
Once you have printed your plan, sit with a cup of tea and search for meal inspirations from other bloggers and websites. I plan for five vegetarian meals Monday to Friday, my husband (G is honestly the better cook) does a MYSTERY dinner on Saturday which is a vegetarian meal with added fish or meat on top for the children and on Sunday we have an easy meal like an omelet, noodles or homemade pizzas.
Here are my go to sites for easy cook vegetarian recipes:
- Minimalist Baker, easy to follow recipes and excellent use of spices to make all meals delicious. Two of my favourite tried and tested are Lentil Mushroom Stew Over Mashed Potato & Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Dressing.
- BBC Good Food Vegetarian Recipes, I love this site because I have never had a failure with the five star recipes and the kids love them. Two of my favourite recipes are Chickpea Curry & Double Bean and Roasted Pepper Chilli.
- 101 Cookbooks– Is a well know vegetarian blogger and I love her Instant Pot Minestrone Soup and my family loves her Magic Sauce on baked potatoes and wholemeal pasta.
- Sprouted Kitchen this is my go to for quick easy prep sauces you can drizzle them over salads, add them to noodles or mix them in a vegetable stir fry.
Minimalist Baker’s Mexican Quinoa salad, BBC Good Food’s Double Bean and Roasted Chilli, Sprouted Kitchen’s Prep Sauces & 101 Cookbooks Instant Pot Minestrone Soup.
Once you have planned your recipes for the week create a shopping list. Now only add to the shopping list your essentials for breakfast & lunch. Aim for any organic vegetables, fruits and groceries that are available. If some ingredients are not in season or not available go back and change your menu to suit the availability of vegetable and fruit.
Next create an account with an online service that delivers to your door organic vegetables and fruit and groceries. There are many choices. The company I use gives you the choice of no plastic bags (only cardboard boxes) and it has free delivery.