Have you met future you? They are run off their feet, they are tired and they cannot be bothered cooking tonight. They would normally reach for the phone to organise UberEats, or maybe stop at the supermarket at the way home to grab a ready-made meal. But wait, those things are packaged in plastic!

This week, our challenge is to help out future you by stocking the pantry and freezer with a few ready-to-go meal options.

The pantry

Dried pasta is the saviour of the busy weeknight. Buy dried pasta from the Co-op or choose the Barilla brand at the supermarket as it comes in cardboard. Pair the pasta with a jar of pasta sauce or pesto and dinner is done.

White rice is another staple that is ready in under 15 minutes. Fill a large 1 litre jar at the Co-op and keep it topped up through the month. Pair it with a jarred curry sauce and a simple fast cooking vegetable like sliced zucchini, or pour over some good old chunky soup from a can.

The freezer

This week, your challenge is to make a double batch of foods that store well in the freezer. Think soups, stews and sauces. If we make three extra meals now, we’ll have a ready-meal for each week of the rest of July.

Here’s three options for zero-waste meals that don’t require a lot of effort to cook and that freeze well:

Moroccan inspired spicy veggie stew with chickpeas

Easy red lentil soup with lemon

Pumpkin soup

If you are already struggling for time, there are some frozen foods available in the supermarket that don’t come in plastic. Yes, it’s not ideal to eat mass produced food made in factories with questionable ingredients, but there’s no harm in keeping something in the freezer for emergencies. Look for the Balfours and Herbert Adams brands of pies, all brands of breaded and battered fish and the vegetarian burgers by Fry’s and Linda McCartney.

Make sure there’s always a couple of options like this at home and future you should be able to avoid that plastic-wrapped meal!