Let’s face it: most of us don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen every day. We want breakfast to be quick, lunch to be premade, and dinners to be easy; a feat that isn’t always easy, especially for vegans and vegetarians. That’s where meal prep comes in! Taking a couple of hours one day a week (Sundays are a popular favorite) to plan and prep your meals for the week will take a load off your shoulders and keep you out of the drive-thru line after a long day at work. Here are some of our favorite tried-and-true meal prep tips for vegans.
1. Pre-cook your veggies.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on your meal prep time is to pre-cook your own vegetables (we love the oven roasting method; so many great flavors). You can use roasted veggies in salads, bowls, soups, and they make a great side for salmon and other fish dishes.
Simply chop up some veggies (if you’re really pressed for time, make sure you buy some that are pre-chopped ahead of time), toss with your favorite seasonings (we love Zesty Lemon Pepper and Garlic & Herb on veggies) and some olive oil, place them on a baking sheet, and cook for around 45 minutes. And just like that, you have a bunch of fresh vegetables to add to your meals for the week!
Why we love it: while you’re waiting for the veggies to cook, you’ll have time to prep everything else so your meal prep is all ready to go at once! It’s a win-win.
In this post:
Zesty Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Warning: this description will make your mouth water.
Imagine the bright, sour, zesty flavor of sucking on a lemon slice. Now, tone that back a little and add the bright, sharp taste of black pepper, then, a hint of cool garlic flavor.
2. Cook a big batch of grains in advance.
Healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa make great bases for a wide variety of healthy meals (think bowls), and they can also add bulk to lighter options like salads. Cook up a big batch and add portions of them to a couple of dinners and lunches throughout the week; they are a great addition/side to any fish dish, and also go well mixed with roasted veggies.
There are lots of grains to choose from other than brown rice and quinoa. You can switch things up with farro, couscous, amaranth, or even buckwheat.
Why we love it: having a big batch of a meal ‘filler’ like this makes everything so much easier during the week. If you pack your lunches every day rather than ahead of time, having pre-portioned rice or quinoa will save you a lot of time.
3. Make healthy snacks to curb sweet cravings.
It’s always a good idea to make a few healthy snacks to have on hand for when those cravings kick in. Keep almonds, nuts, and dates in little pre-portioned Tupperware to take with you to work; or cut up some fresh vegetables and pair them with dip (like hummus or ranch dip) as a grab-and-go option.
Why we love it: Anything that curbs sweet cravings is a plus for us! Replacing sugary snacks with vegetables, fruit, and nuts is an easy way to make your weekly meal prep even healthier.
In this post:
Garlic & Herb Seasoning
We invited a lot of other herbs and spices to the party. And each adds their own distinct and complimentary flavor to the mix. . . There’s a noticeable oregano taste, a fresh burst of flavor from celery seeds, and a unique hint of thyme, which adds to this mix’s individuality. There’s also a mild hint of heat from cayenne and paprika to add another layer to this mix’s flavor profile.
4. Simplify your meal prep lunches.
Lunch is a super easy meal to prepare ahead of time and not have to worry about the rest of the week. During your meal prep time, put together several lunches’ worth of soups, salads, or veggie bowls that you can take to go.
We recommend purchasing a big tub of organic salad greens and using that to mix with the rest of your salad ingredients; just add protein (beans, pre-cooked tofu, nuts/seeds), cooked or raw veggies, and maybe a grain like quinoa or brown rice. Whip up a big batch of salad dressing on Sunday so you have it for the week, and you’re set!
Why we love it: while dinners can be the most time consuming to meal prep, the great thing about lunch meal prep is that it doesn’t have to be complicated! Throwing together a salad or a healthy bowl will just take a few extra minutes during your meal prep day.
5. Pre-prep your smoothies.
Smoothies are an awesome way to pack a bunch of fresh fruit and/or veggies into one meal – and, more importantly, they are incredibly easy to prep ahead of time! Buy several bags of frozen fruit, or freeze your own and put into separate bags for smoothies. Add all the ingredients for each individual smoothie into the bag, freeze it, toss with the liquid of your choice (almond milk or some type of juice), and blend when you want a smoothie.
Why we love it: fruit smoothies are healthy and delicious and make for an easy snack or lunch on-the-go. Prepping ahead will save you even more time during the week, so all you have to do is blend it together and you’re good to go!
For more meal prepping tips and recipes, visit our other blogs!
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