Eating right can help you have more energy, manage your weight, and just feel better.
But a difficult part of healthy eating is the time it can take to prepare a nutritious meal. If you’re living a vegan lifestyle, you likely prepare many of your own meals, so you’re well aware of how time intensive it can be.
But let’s face it, how many days during the week do you have time to prepare 3 square meals? Maybe 1 or 2?
For those who are students, professionals, or are simply living a fast-paced lifestyle, taking the time to prepare 1 or more healthy meals each day simply isn’t realistic.
One thing you can do to save time and make healthy eating a possibility is to meal prep! This means setting aside a designated time during the week when you have a few free hours and making a whole week’s worth of meals at once.
I’m about to explain just how this practice can change your life. Consider me your vegan meal prep guide.
Benefits of Meal Prepping
1. Meal Prepping can help you track macros
The term macros is short for macronutrients, which are the carbs, fat, and protein in the foods you eat. When you’re trying to build muscle or burn fat, you really should be closely monitoring each of them.
But it can be tough to keep track of everything you eat during the day, especially how much you ate. Unless you’re willing to carry around a food scale everywhere you go, you really just have to guess.
That’s where meal prep can really come in handy!
When you make your meals ahead of time and carefully measure the amount of each food, you’ll know exactly how much you’re eating at each meal.
This helps you count your macros pretty accurately, which is a big deal when you’re trying to reach your fitness goals!
2. Meal prepping can save you money
When you’re at work, school, or on-the-go and you didn’t pack any food, what do you do for lunch? You already know. You buy something!
Getting your meal from a vending machine, gas station, or fast-food drive-thru window may not be the worst thing in the world, but it’s not something you want to make a habit of doing.
Not only are you typically stuck with less nutritious foods, but the money you spend can really start to add up.
When you buy whole foods in bulk and make a point of preparing your meals in advance, you’ll be surprised by the savings!
3. Meal prepping saves a lot of time
If you don’t know how long it can take to make a meal, then I’m guessing you’ve probably never cooked before. Making a nutritious meal from scratch is usually somewhat time intensive.
When you’re living a fast-paced lifestyle, taking time out of your day to prepare a meal isn’t usually a realistic option.
But if you prepare a whole week’s worth of meals on a day when you have a few hours to spare, like a Sunday, all you need to do is pop your meal in the microwave when lunchtime rolls around!
Effective meal prepping also of foods you can prepare in bulk (like rice), which lets you avoid cooking up a new batch every day of the week.
So you just have one question to answer. How will you spend all your newfound free time?
4. You won’t have to wonder whether your lunch is vegan-friendly
If you’ve been vegan for a while now, you’re probably pretty familiar with the fast food or vending machine options available to you.
If you’re just starting out though, it can be a tough task to find detailed nutritional information for every food you’re presented with.
Either way, you can avoid the need to research your options by simply bringing your food with you when you’re away from home.
When you purchase and prepare your food, you’ll know exactly what went into making it and you won’t have to ask yourself, “Can I have this?” Meal prep can make a vegan lifestyle so much easier to adhere to.
How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping is really not a very complicated practice. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy, but with a little experience, you’ll soon become a master.
Just remember a few key things when you’re starting out, and you’ll be a meal prep pro in no time.
Target foods that you can make in bulk, are easy to store, and that aren’t very messy.
Technically, you can make pretty much any food as part of your meal prep.
But since saving time is one of the primary reasons to prep your meals, it’s best not to pick a complicated many-step dish, even if it’s your favorite food.
Instead, choose foods that can be prepared quickly in one big batch like rice, oats, quinoa, or another grain.
These don’t make very exciting meals on their own, but they’re perfect bases or sides to compliment the “meat” of your meal.
Invest in some good Tupperware.
Making sure you have a portable container is one thing new meal preppers don’t always consider.
All it takes is one disaster with a plastic-wrap-covered soup bowl to realize the value of Tupperware.
To avoid a spill, I suggest selecting a screw-on lid or at least one that you’re sure is very secure. If you plan to heat your meal in the microwave, check to make sure your container is microwave safe.
Something with ventilation holes is also preferred. The last thing you want is for your container to melt or for your lid to pop, allowing your food to explode all over the microwave.
Decide which meals you will prep for.
Many meal prep veterans will prepare literally every single weekly meal at one time. For someone that eats 3 meals a day, this would mean 21 meals at once.
Others might only prep for the meals when they know they’ll be at work, school, or on-the-go, which is likely just 5 meals (M-F lunch).
In order to prepare the appropriate amount of food, you’ll need to decide how many meals you want to prep for. If you’re not sure, just remember that it’s best to over do it than to underestimate and come up short.
Looking for some good vegan meal prep ideas? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Each of these recipes is vegan-friendly, can be prepared in bulk, and can be stored in the freezer for up to a week or longer.
Pumpkin Curry Soup
Broccoli “Cheese” Soup
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
Savory Carrot Soup
Treats and Snacks
Banana Almond Granola Bars
Sweet Granola Bites
Sweet & Salty Chocolate Bites
Mocha Pumpkin Cookies
Making sure to include plant-based protein sources is important when you’re living a vegan lifestyle. An easy plant-based protein option you can include in your meal prep is IdealRaw Organic Protein.
It’s so convenient to throw a scoop into your shaker bottle to drink later on with your other prepared food.
IdealRaw is great because it’s quick, delicious, vegan-friendly, and it mixes up well, making it the perfect on-the-go protein source to power you through your day.
You can use it as a mid-afternoon snack, as part of your meal prep, or to help kickstart your post-workout recovery.
Meal prepping can save you time, money, and can better help you live your vegan lifestyle.
It’s also a great way to keep close track of your macros when you’re trying to build muscle or lose weight!
If you have any of your own favorite vegan meal prep recipes, share them on our Facebook page!