Vegan meal prep is the secret to overcoming many hurdles on a vegan diet, especially if you are cooking for more than one person. But even if you’re only cooking for one – meal prep is incredible for eliminating unhealthy temptations, and making your weekly cooking very quick and easy.
It can be intimidating to plan your own and your family’s meals for the week. There are so many variables to consider, including how to create a plan that is nutritiously-dense and satisfying, how to find recipes you and your family will love, and how to create meals quickly without wasting so much time in the kitchen.
This is why vegan meal prep is so crucial: it is a way to plan out your most time-consuming meals in advance and to take the stress out of cooking during the week.
In this post, you will learn exactly what vegan meal prep is, why you should start a meal prep habit, important food groups to consider including in each of your meals, and finally, a step-by-step guide that will teach you exactly how to meal prep easily and efficiently.
First, I recommend that you download the 1-day vegan meal template below to make your vegan meal prep extra easy and effortless.
Make Your Vegan Meal Prep Easy with this Template
To make your meal planning and vegan meal prep a whole lot easier, I have an amazing 1-day vegan meal plan template for you!
Download the 1-day vegan meal plan template. Use these 4 meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. You can make endless combinations using these simple template recipes! They are all gluten-free, vegan, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and completely made up of whole foods. Enjoy!
What is Vegan Meal Prep?
Vegan meal prep means pre-cooking and pre-preparing your vegan meals for the week.
Just imagine coming home after work to a fully-stocked fridge. It feels so good and unintimidating. It also removes any excuses you may have to indulge in unhealthy foods when the healthy options are so easily accessible to you.
There are several ways to meal prep. Some people choose to prepare entire meals, place them in containers, and in the fridge.
I recommend meal prepping differently. Instead of creating entire meals, think of components that would go into your meals, and pre-make those, especially if they are more time-consuming to prepare. Then, all you have to do is assemble during the week.
Another option that I usually take advantage of is preparing double batches of meal components, especially if I forget to meal prep at the beginning of the week. For example, if I am making tomato sauce or pesto for a given dish, I will make more than I need, and store it in the fridge for tomorrow’s meal.
You can also use these sauces in a new way the next day so that you do not get bored with your meals.
Why Do I Recommend Vegan Meal Prep?
I am a huge fan of meal prep, or batch cooking, for the week, for several reasons:
✔ It is an efficient way to learn some recipes that you can use over and over.
✔ Vegan meal prep helps eliminate excuses to get off the healthy, high raw vegan plan.
✔ It helps take the stress out of deciding what to eat during a busy week.
✔ Vegan meal prep will help you stick to a grocery list and a weekly grocery shopping budget.
✔ It will allow you to fulfill your nutritional requirements for the week by pre-organizing meals around them.
✔ And most importantly, it will save you massive time during the week, when you have so many more things to think about other than food.
Now that you know the reasons behind why you should definitely cultivate a meal-prepping habit, let’s discuss some ideas for how you should plan your meals.
Breakfast Vegan Meal Prep
On a high-raw vegan diet that is whole food, plant-based, stick to a fruit heavy breakfast.
Some food groups to remember to include in your first meal of the day are:
✔ Fruits, especially berries, as they are a powerhouse of antioxidants and phytonutrients
✔ Greens, especially dark leafy greens, such as kale, chard, or spinach
✔ Seeds, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, particularly for their omega 3 content
✔ Spices, including anti-inflammatory powerhouses such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon
There are many meals you could create that combine some and even all of these foods, including:
✔ Smoothies, especially green smoothies. No meal prep is required for these, which I will explain more about in point 2 below.
✔ Green smoothie bowls, which I highly recommend since they are a full meal, unlike smoothies. Smoothie bowls are extremely quick to make (between 5-15 minutes), so I do not recommend any heavy-duty meal prep for them, besides possibly pre-washing greens and pre-chopping fruit into a container, so that it is even easier to grab and blend.
✔ Overnight oats, like these delicious overnight oats recipes. These are wonderful for meal prep.
✔ Chia pudding, such as these easy and delicious options. These are also great for meal prep ahead of time.
✔ A mono meal of fruit. This is the quickest meal possible, and perfect for those days when you are extra short on time. All you’d have to do is wash, peel, and eat.
Lunch Vegan Meal Prep
For the lunch meal, there are two options. You can either prepare a meal that copies your breakfast, or your dinner.
To continue the high-raw vegan plan, I recommend creating a breakfast-like meal. The benefits of this is that it is very light on digestion, quick to prepare, and keeps you energetic and alive to fulfill your daily tasks.
Follow the meal prep instructions for whichever meal you choose, either from the breakfast or the dinner section.
Dinner Vegan Meal Prep
Dinner is a wonderful meal to meal prep, and to dedicate slightly more time to prepare. In our household, it is usually the most extravagant meal of the day, yet it takes about 30 minutes to prepare per person, and only 10 minutes if meal prep is done right.
Some very important food categories to consider when preparing your dinner include:
✔ Vegetables, raw or cooked. I especially recommend remembering your dark leafy greens, orange vegetables for Vitamin A, and cruciferous vegetables. An easy way to include cruciferous vegetables in your dinner meal is through the home-made mustard recipe, inspired by Lilykoi Hawaii and Dr. Michael Greger. Watch the video recipe for home-made easy mustard here. This mustard is a really great candidate for make-ahead meal prep.
✔ Soaked and even sprouted whole grains and beans are very important for getting many nutrients, including minerals and protein, into your diet.
✔ Healthy whole fats are crucial for making sure that you absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients in your meal. Be sure to emphasize your omega-3 rich nuts and seeds.
✔ Sea vegetables are an often forgotten food group in the vegan kitchen, and it is very important for fulfilling iodine needs, and also very delicious!
✔ Fermented foods are not a must, but they are a really powerful way to get probiotics, or healthy gut bacteria, that assist in digestion, mood, immunity, and many other functions. Try this incredible raw sauerkraut recipe to start your journey with fermented foods.
✔ Lastly, spices provide a wonderful way for increasing the antioxidant value of your meal, since they are ground up plants in whole form. I highly recommend adding spices to your meals, including oregano, cayenne pepper, and others. I am a big spice fan, and you can find my favorite spices here.
Foods to Meal Prep for Dinner
Since dinner is such an important meal in the day (or perhaps, in your culture, it is lunch – they are completely interchangeable), I wanted to dedicate a separate section to recommending vegan meal prep tips for dinner.
A few food groups and techniques you can utilize when meal prepping for your weekly dinner meals include:
✔ Pre-washing and pre-chopping vegetables. While this is a simple step, it can save a lot of time and hassle during the week. This can include removing stems from kale and washing kale leaves, chopping onion, etc.
✔ Cooking vegetables, especially starchy ones. You can steam, roast, or boil your chosen vegetable, or a mix of vegetables, for the week.
✔ Pre-soaking whole grains and beans and cooking them for the week.
✔ Soaking nuts and seeds that need to be soaked for best digestion.
✔ Pre-making fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, etc. These are best home-made since most of the store-bought versions are actually heated, killing all the beneficial bacteria in them.
✔ Blending or whisking together sauces that will give your meals flavor during the week.
While these may seem daunting and very time-consuming to you, you do not have to do all of them at the start. Choose a few that seem easy and doable, and begin practicing them weekly.
Extras: Snacking Meal Prep
Before sharing powerful vegan meal prep tips with you that will allow you to easily meal prep for the week, let’s cover one more issue: snacking.
Snacking is optional of course, and if you are not finding enough satisfaction in your high-raw vegan meals, try to consider which of the above-mentioned food groups you may be skipping. Adding these foods to your meals will make them more satisfying.
In addition, perhaps your meal portions are too small. Remember that vegan meals will always be larger in volume than meals that contain animal products since much of the volume is taken up water in plants. Water does not contain calories, so you should eat more of the water-containing plants.
It can be a great idea to give your digestion a break and halt snacking between meals. In addition, each time you eat, especially if it is an acidic fruit, you may be impacting the quality of the enamel of your teeth. For this reason, it is preferable to skip snacking.
If you absolutely have to snack, I highly recommend turning to fruit as it is light and easy. For this, be sure that you have an abundance of fruit as a result of your grocery trip.
8 Easy Steps to Successful Vegan Meal Prep
In order to successfully meal prep for the week, take these steps and tips into account. These tips are organized in a step-by-step fashion:
Pick your meals for the week: put pen to paper (or mousepad to computer), and write out a few meals for the week. These can be meals you have previously made and really enjoyed or meals you found online that you want to try out in the coming week. If you are just starting out with meal prep, begin by choosing 3 meals. I highly recommend that these be your dinners or lunches since these are the most time consuming, typically, to prepare. As you have more practice with meal prep, you can plan out the entire week.
You can see great suggestions for easy and quick breakfasts here, lunches here, and dinners here.
Grocery shopping: prepare a grocery list based on the recipes you have chosen. Be sure to allow for flexibility in your grocery list. A great way to budget grocery shopping well is to purchase whatever items are on sale and in season. For example, if you are planning to use a vegetable in your meal, don’t include an exact name for one on your list. Choose the one that looks best and costs least right at the grocery store. Your vegan template meal plan will help you do this easily:
I suggest making meal prep a fun and relaxing time. Put on a podcast, some relaxing music, perhaps prepare a beverage of your choice, take your shoes off, and enjoy the meditation of cooking and prepping healthy and wholesome meals for yourself and for the ones you love.
Store: once all of your components are batch cooked to perfection, store them in glass containers in the fridge.
Freeze: if you do not use your batch cooked items in 3 days, move them to the freezer.
Easily throw together during the week: when you are ready to make your weekly meals, simply put together the components that you meal prepped for easy and delicious weekly meals.
Done For You Vegan Meal Prep!
Sometimes it can be so hard planning out your own vegan meal plan, taking everything from nutrition to flavor, to ease of preparation into account.
So I’ve done it for you!
Want 1 month of healthy vegan meals, grocery lists, and meal prep, planned out for you? Download my program, Deliciously Planty.