Download and fill out the questionnaire to help you become more mindful of your shopping and food waste patterns. You can use this list throughout the 30 days to reflect on what has worked or not worked in the past for improvement. Tip: Reflect on this before every shopping trip.

Let us begin your journey

  1. If you have not already done so, gather everyone in the family to discuss food and dietary preferences. Decide on what wholesome food means for you and your family. What constitutes a 'cheat day', 'treat'. For us, processed and prepackaged food is avoided with the exception of cereals.

Why prepare?

Because it is a known fact that, we (and our children) accept rules better when we are given the opportunity to voice opinions and our values. When we are allowed to take part in the process of designating rules we become more mindful and open to collaboration. If you happen to be a single member household, then obviously this is easier. You only have to consult with yourself.

I would still recommend writing down a vision of how you plan to eat and prepare meals. If your significant other prefers a Paleo diet but you love bread, you need to discuss this and come up with solutions and shopping habits/menus that everyone can work with and get joy out of. I brought up this example because this is the very issue we had to work out in my family.

I'm interested in hearing from you as to what some of your challenges are and also how you worked through them.

2. Create your weekly, bi-weekly menu calendar.

This can be totally simple, a sheet or printout, preferably divided by days and each day with breakfast, mid-morning snack (if you or anyone in the household does mid-morning snacking), lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, etc.

Why is this important?

Because you will only purchase foods for the meals and snacks listed for the days listed. A suggestion I have here is to allow for the day/meal you plan to eat out and fill in the choice or choices of places you might plan to visit. Some people substitute a meal plan service such as Green Chef for weeknights (for example) just make notes.

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream.
Not only plan but also believe"

Anatole France

If you choose to digitally fill out a menu, you can create reusable meal plans to be alternated throughout the year. You could also download your recipes from a service such as Pepper Plate to save time. I have used several other services to make all this more automated. If you need suggestions, just reach out to me.

  1. With each diet requirement, there are pantry staples that will need to be continually sourced and replenished.

These will be based on the cuisine of preference (Italian, Asian, etc., although sometimes you might deviate from the norm) such as oils, grains if you are not gluten sensitive, spices(see suggestion #7 below for garden), ketchup, vinegar and many more. Research these items and make sure they are organic.

If you need suggestions on pantry items, eco-friendly, organic vendors, please drop me a line or sign up and I can email you some that have worked for us.

  1. Use Eco-friendly or reusable lunch bags, storage and trash bags.

If you would like ideas on sustainable food storage and packaging, sign up for our newsletter.

  1. Use seal-able, non-toxic, food-grade storage containers for pantry essentials such as glass jars.

Check on our tips on how I repurposed tomato, pickle, and other jars we purchased during regular grocery shopping. (we also use them for artwork and office supply stores). I'm a fan of regular mason jars. Use them for spices, preserves, and pickling.

  1. Purchase fruit and produce in the appropriate season and make a list of items you could store and preserve for the year ahead.

This does need some planning but we have some ideas to make this more fun and meaningful as opposed to it feeling like a chore.

  1. Start a garden.

This can be a simple herb garden on your porch a kitchen window, perhaps a balcony if you are a city dweller. It can be a small patch of land in the back yard, all the way to the homestead you have always wanted.

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

I have worked in my small garden for a weekend or two to get it started. Then I dedicated a few hours a month to weeding. This might prove to be quite pleasant if you like being out in nature. My husband loves the fresh jalapeno peppers, children often enjoy getting hands-on with their food. The squirrels and birds will love you for the sunflower seeds. I would like to invite you to share your experiences and tips in your garden to help us get inspired!

  1. Aim to purchase fresh, organic, local produce, meat , fish.

Local farmstands, CSAs are a good source.

  1. Aim to shop less and frequently as your lifestyle and time allows. Be patient with yourself and aim to perfect and improve with time.

10. If you have not already done so, stop using grocery store bags, purchase reusable, or at least aim to reuse/upcycle the bags you get.

11. Upcycle those recipes.

Use leftovers from main dishes with various side dish pairings or use preserved sources. Use bulk-cook and store. My suggested staples to cook or create in double quantities (airtight jars or freezer-friendly) with time-saving crockpot methods.

12. Compost

Refer to our composting post on what you can and should not compost if you are a beginner.

13. Zero waist for your skin and body.

You probably think it's important to be choosy as to the quality of the foods we put in our bodies. It is just as important to be choosy about what we put on our bodies. The skin is the largest organ and taking care of it can be a lot of effort. You can create a number of beauty remedies for your skin from items leftover or right out of your grocery bag. We have a few suggestions on our site for you to check out.

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