If you're new to meal prepping or you've been meal prepping for a while, these vegan meal prep tips are for you! Meal prepping can save you so much time and stress but at first, it can seem quite overwhelming. Which it doesn't have to be. Learn how to get started with meal prepping and meal prep with ease with these best meal prep tips. Soon you'll be meal prepping like a pro!
Want to read more about meal prepping?
- 7 Favorite Plant-Based Ingredients for Healthy Meal Prep
- 9 Simple Vegan Summer Meal Prep Ideas
- 5-Day Vegan Meal Prep With Black Beans
- Weekly Vegan Lunch Meal Prep With Sushi and Lasagna
What is Meal Prepping And Why Is It Awesome?
Meal prep basically means you prepare your food ahead of time for the upcoming days. You can meal prep for anywhere between 2 or 5 days, or even freeze meals so they last longer. Even just making double the recipe and saving the leftovers counts!
- Meal prepping will help you save time for grocery shopping and cooking and you have free time to do what you love!
- It will make it easier to stick to a healthy diet and not rely on frozen pizza or food delivery.
- Less decisions to make - less stress! Instead of wondering what to make for dinner, you can just open your fridge and enjoy a delicious meal.
Sounds good, right? If you are looking for more meal prep ideas and detailed step-by-step instructions, check out this 3-day vegan meal prep guide for lunch and dinner. I created the recipes in such a way that you only need to spend 60 minutes and you will have prepared delicious lunch and dinner meals for 3 days!
Meal Prep Tip #1: Leftovers vs. Fresh Produce
This tip is from Monica from @chefmomargaritas. She offers a vegan meal prep order and delivery service in Las Vegas and her meals always look delicious and colorful!
Plan your menu in advance. Get inspiration on Pinterest, make notes, and then go shopping. The fresher the produce you use, the longer it will last in the fridge. So if you use leftovers, it certainly won't last all week for a meal prep. You still CAN use leftovers and scraps to make something, but you'd have to eat that first.
Meal Prep Tip #2: Start Small And Don't Over Complicate
The next meal prep tip is from Sarah from @packedplants. She shares vegan and mostly gluten-free recipes. If you are looking for awesome lunchbox ideas, check her out!
My tip is to not over complicate it because you'll get overwhelmed! Start small even with just batch cooking of your favorite curry or pasta sauce and add containers to your freezer. I tend to do one of these a week - you'll be surprised how quickly your stockpile grows.
Meal Prep Tip #3: Know What You Like And Add Variety
Kedian from @black.bougie.vegan runs a vegan meal prep and catering service in Springfield, Massachusetts. She shares a great tip on keeping your meal prep fun!
When meal prepping for yourself, think about foods you like, the time it takes to make them, and how many varieties you're willing to make! I think where some people go wrong with meal prepping is that they make foods they don't necessarily enjoy and they make too much of it instead of making multiple combinations!
Be smart, one pot dishes are a great go-to that don't involve a huge process such as pasta primavera, spaghetti, stir fried veggies, and of course most people's favorite on my menu, Rasta Pasta. Keep it simple, but keep it fun!
Meal Prep Tip #4: Use Frozen Veggies To Save Time
One of my favorite ways to cut down on meal prepping time is to but frozen or pre-chopped veggies. It's amazing how many frozen vegetable options there are these days! My favorite include mirepoix, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and edamame. I've even heard frozen avocado exists, but I have yet to find it.
Meal Prep Tip #5: How To Prep A Nutritionally Balanced Meal
My favorite meal prep tip is to keep it simple! For example, preparing nutritionally balanced meals can be as simple as assembling a Mediterranean bowl. Firstly, prep a grain from your pantry, such as quinoa. Then, rinse a can of beans.
Lastly, slice some veggies, such as cucumber and baby tomatoes. Plate everything nicely in your meal prep bowls and dress it with a few olives, hummus, fresh parsley, lemon, olive oil, pepper and salt. Keeping it simple will allow you to easily make 3 meals in less than 30 minutes!
Meal Prep Tip #6: Keep A List Of Recipe you Want To Try
Since I've been meal prepping consistently every week for myself and others, I can honestly admit that it is giving me a peace of mind! It's honestly the best feeling when you don't constantly have to ask yourself "What should I eat next?" but instead just walk up to your fridge and grab a meal. Easy, fast and delish!
Plan ahead and create a menu for yourself, this can help tremendously. Usually it would take me so much effort to start on the day itself, but knowing and planning ahead of time has freed up so much head space. Also when a nice dish pops up I keep track of them in my notes. So once I'm actually making the menus for themealprepgarden I have a list of inspiration by hand already.
Meal Prep Tip #7: The Right Preparation Is Key
The next tip is from Bryn from @geminieats. She has a vegan meal prep service in Seattle and shares a lot of creative meals on her page.
For first time meal prepping, there are a few essentials you need. First, have the proper tools in your kitchen such as good knives, pots, pans, spoons, and have two towels ready before you start. One towel is for wiping the counter, cutting board, and knives while the other is for you to dry your hands after washing/rinsing.
Secondly, have a plan on what you want to cook. Perhaps this will require initial research or an idea on something you've been meaning to make. Write down what you're making and be sure to obtain every ingredient from the grocery store so you don't find yourself missing a key ingredient amidst the meal prepping chaos! Next, chop all of your vegetables and cook your grains FIRST so you aren't bouncing back and forth between cooking, then dicing vegetables on the board.
Lastly, when cooking in large amounts, focus on one food at a time. If you're going to multitask, you must still have the core of your focus on cooking one item or you will find yourself stressed.
Meal Prep Tip #8: How To Keep Your Pasta From Becoming Dry
This meal prep tip is from Emese and Nandi from MyPurePlants.
Meal prepping pasta dishes can be tricky in my experience. If you don’t put on the sauce it will get dry and hard. If you put on the sauce it may absorb it partly and becomes less juicy. My little trick is to make a little jar of sauce on the side so I can add them to the pasta dish to refresh it.
Meal Prep Tip #9: Write A To-Do List
Make a to-do list. Usually I would take a specific day to do groceries. What I also do in the morning is make a list of all the dishes I am going to make that day and check mark them once done. This helps me with cooking my way through this list of delicious meals. Always when I finish I didn't even realize I've done so much, because I was able to do it step by step.
Meal Prep Tip #10: Cook In Bulk
The next meal prep tip is from Rebecca from Strength & Sunshine.
The best way to meal prep is to cook in bulk! From veggie burgers which are a breeze to freeze and then defrost, to waffles and muffins for quick breakfasts. Cooking up large batches of beans and grains can also be frozen in small serving sizes and defrosted.
Meal Prep Tip #11: Add Frozen Peas To Keep Things Chilled
When you cook and prepare more than you need, there's always a couple of extra meals waiting to be enjoyed right in the fridge! With this no-cook Curry in a Hurry, we portion out the leftovers in individual containers, add some rice and top with a scoop or two of protein-packed frozen peas, which helps keep things chilled that much longer when packed for lunch!
Meal Prep Tip #12: Use Ice Cube Trays For Freezing
The next meal prep tip is from Jess and Dan from Vegan Punks.
If you love making curry pastes from scratch, but don't want to make them every time you want to make a curry – make them in a big batch! Once you've made the curry pastes, you can freeze them in ice cube trays. When frozen, tip them into a zip lock bag to save space in your freezer. You can then grab 4 cubes when you want to make your next curry! Try it with this Tofu Yellow Curry.
Meal Prep Tip #13: Use Your Meal Prep Time for Your Self
Blast your speakers with music, podcasts or audio books. I like to just switch it up and keep it amusing for myself. It really helps to just be in your zone, relax and take care of yourself. All at the same time.
Meal Prep Tip #14: Incorporate The Rainbow In Every Meal
This next meal prep tip is from Kim from @kimskitchenatl.
My number one meal prep tip is to incorporate a nutrient balance in every meal - in type and proportion. I strive for every meal prep to include a balance of nutrients like healthy grains, colorful vegetables, plant protein and healthy fats.
When it comes to vegetables, I think of how I can incorporate a rainbow in every meal. I like to do the ROYGBV rainbow test when meal planning. The more color, the wider the range of nutrients you're getting. And lastly, a proportionate nutrient balance s key. You can't go wrong using this formula as a guide: 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% grains.
Meal Prep Tip #15: Chop And Season Veggies
This next meal prep tip is from Sarah from Bad To The Bowl.
I love meal prepping my vegetables for roasting or grilling! After I get from the store, I chop my vegetables and place them in a reusable bag. I then season them with different seasonings (i.e. BBQ, Italian etc). I do not add any olive oil or vinegar - vegetables tend to create their own juices!
Then when I am ready to grill/roast I drain the liquid from them and cook them! Easy peasy, veggies are ready to go! I use the seasoned vegetables within 3-4 days after prep.
Meal Prep Tip #16: Batch Cook Grains And Beans
This tip is from Mary Ellen from VNutrition.
I'm a vegan nutritionist and I find that meal prep is one of the easiest ways to help me (and my clients) get nutritious food on the table without spending hours in the kitchen. Something I do every Sunday is to batch cook grains like brown rice and quinoa so they can easily be heated when you need them. Chopping and roasting veggies and prepping batches of beans or baked tofu are other ways to create integral parts of healthy meals that can be easily used later in the week.
Meal Prep Tip #17: Switch Up The Spices
The next tip is from Profusion Curry.
I like to keep variety of herbs and spices in hand. You can use same grains, lentils and veggies and make different tasting multiple meals by simply changing the spices.
Meal Prep Tip #18: Plan For Variety
The next tip is from Textured Roots Kitchen, a vegan meal prep service in the UK.
Give yourself something to look forward to. We tend to hear that a lot of people tend to get bored with their meal prep as they don’t have a lot of variety or meals they are looking forward to, which can result in spending more money on spontaneous purchases and/or giving up on the vegan lifestyle with complaints that it’s too boring / hard. To prevent this plan variety into your meal prep!
Which of these tips helped you most? Let me know in the comments!