Weekly meal prep is so important when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet no matter how busy life gets. Spending a few hours a week is as small investment for the time, money and stress you’ll save by having healthy food prepped and ready to go. Stay tuned every Sunday as I share vegan meal prep ideas and exactly what I’m prepping for the week ahead.
Where to Start with Meal Prep
If you’re new to meal prep, head over and read these posts first:
- Vegan Food Prep Tips for Healthy Meals All Week
- Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Vegan Diet
- Where to Start: 17 Simple Healthy Eating Tips
What You Need to Meal Prep
Before I start, I take a look in the fridge and pantry to see if there are any staples I need to add to my grocery list, or anything that needs to be cleaned. After that, I’d recommend sitting down with a pen and paper, maybe perusing Pinterest or your favourite cookbooks and writing down what you want to make for the week, creating a grocery list as you go.
After you’ve finished creating a rough meal plan for the week and corresponding grocery list, it’s time to get groceries! Once you’ve shopped, you’re ready to go.
The only other thing you’ll need is some food storage containers. Replacing all my plastic containers with some nice, glass ones is on my to-do list but for now I’m using just plain, old Tupperwear-style containers. What kind you use is up to you but it does help to have a good selection of sizes on hand before you start, especially some larger ones for main dishes.
Vegan Meal Prep Ideas | week 1
Here’s everything I prepped on Sunday for the week of May 29th, 2017. This took about 2 hours from start to finish.
Vegetable Green Curry
I didn’t use a recipe for this but it’s so good I’ve been making some variation of it for the last few weeks. It’s very easy to make, is low fat and carbohydrate and tastes amazing. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand but my favourites for green curry are broccoli, peppers, bamboo shoots and peas. I couldn’t find bamboo shoots this week so I used broccoli, peppers, carrots and peas.
To make vegetable green curry, add some minced garlic and ginger to a pan and cook in a bit of water for a few minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and 1 can of light coconut milk, a few tablespoons of green curry paste, a bit of sweetener and simmer until the veggies are tender. I also add about 1 cup of vegetable stock just to make it go a little further. I also add red pepper flakes for some spice. If you don’t have fresh garlic and ginger on hand, garlic powder and ground ginger are ok too.
If you’d like a little more guidance for this dish, base this off of my Vegetable Red Curry recipe and just use green curry paste instead of red. I’ll eat this with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles and may add tofu or seitan for extra protein.
I make a soup almost every week for food prep. I love big, filling portions and soup is so high-volume that I can fill up without going overboard on calories. Healthy soups are also a good way to sneak a ton of vegetables in to your diet. Over the past few weeks I’ve made Broccoli Soup, Kale and Caulifower Soup and Red Curry Squash and Cauliflower Soup. They’re all easy to make, keep well and taste amazing.
For this week’s soup, I made this Tortilla Soup recipe with some added chopped Mexican salad I had leftover from last week. During the week, I’ll eat this topped with avocado, cilantro and lime.
Garlic Cauliflower Rice
I made a batch of garlic cauliflower rice by adding 1 crown of riced cauliflower to a pan with a generous amount of garlic powder and a dash of soy sauce. Cook this up for about 5 minutes and you’re done. You can use this in all sorts of meals during the week, basically anywhere you’d use rice!
Balsamic Roasted Beets
These are super easy to make and take just a minute to prep. I don’t usually peel beets, I just wash them well before using. If I’m grating them to eat raw I’ll peel them, but I couldn’t be bothered today. I diced 4 large beets, placed on a roasting pan with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and they went in the oven at 400 degrees until tender.
Baked Spaghetti Squash
I bake a spaghetti squash most weeks for food prep because it’s such a flexible and filling ingredient to have on hand. Follow my post on How to Cook Spaghetti Squash or try one of these recipes: Low Fat Pesto Spaghetti Squash or Spaghetti Squash Marinara.
Prepped Zucchini Noodles
I go through zucchini noodles so fast, I’m constantly using my spiralizer to try to keep up. Every week I’ll prep a large container of zoodles that I’ll use for salads and recipes throughout the week.
For quick meals, I’ll eat zucchini noodles with store-bought pasta sauce and seitan, ground round or tempeh. I takes about 2 minutes to make, tastes great and is low in fat and carbs so I can dig in to a big, satisfying portion. I often eat zucchini noodles raw but my Quick Cheesy Zoodles and Roasted Red Pepper Zoodles are also favourites.
Whether I eat them raw in salads or use them to make zoodle recipes, I include a big batch of zucchini noodles in my food prep every week.
Diced Peppers, Onions and Chopped Carrots
I’ll use these for various salads and quick meals during the week. Carrots can be for snacking or recipes.
I made a batch of carrots roasted with ginger, cinnamon, cumin and coriander. These are delicious on salads, as a side dish or a healthy, sweet and savoury snack. To make roasted carrots, just chop them up, add any spices you like and roast at 400 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes.
I’ll eat these on top of salads, as a side or for snacking. You can follow my recipe for Garlic Parsnip Fries and switch up the spices to your liking. This week I just used garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.
I make a batch of seitan or seitan protein bread almost every week. There are a lot of different ways you can make it but I just mix the vital wheat gluten with nutritional yeast and a bit of soy sauce to form a dough, then simmer it in a pot with vegetable stock until firm. Seitan isn’t for everyone but it’s almost pure protein so I love it adding to meals during the week as a low fat and low carb protein source.
I pre-cooked 2 cups of edamame for snacking and tossing into salads and the vegetable green curry.
Chia Seed Bread
I was working on a recipe for chia seed bread a while back and kind of forgot about it. I gave it another try today and it’s really good but not quite ready for sharing. I’ll eat this for snacks and for breakfast with nut butter, tahini, avocado or hummus.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls
I made sweet potato breakfast bowls for breakfast on Monday and Tuesday. They have ingredients like coconut, peanut butter, hemp seeds, blueberries and strawberries. I had some leftover baked sweet potato from last week that needed to be used up and this is the perfect way to use it! I usually bake a couple of sweet potatoes as part of food prep but I didn’t make any this week.
What’s on my Grocery List?
My grocery lists don’t change much from week to week. I always make a list before shopping but basically it’s load up on vegetables, herbs, fresh and frozen fruit, almond milk, some canned foods like coconut milk, beans and diced tomato, and a few nuts, seeds and grains. Other than that it’s just any specially items I might need for recipes. For example, I needed adobo peppers in chipotle for the soup and green curry paste for the curry.
Putting It All Together
Now what? You’ve got all this food in the fridge, how do you put it all together to create meals? Well, I simply mix and match throughout the week, depending on what I feel like. This is more of a “food prep” method as opposed to actual “meal prep” where you might portion out 5 days worth of complete meals in individual containers. I don’t like doing meal prep this way because I like variety throughout the week but both routes are good options. If I have an extra busy week, sometimes I will prepare 5 day worth of individually packed lunches and breakfasts ready to go.
Here are some ideas on creating meals:
- Green Curry with Cauliflower Rice and Baked Tofu
- Green Curry with Zucchini Noodles and Edamame
- Salad with Chickpeas, Edamame, Roasted Beets and Carrots
- Store Bought Veggie Burgers with a Side of Parsnip Fries and Roasted Carrots
- Tortilla Soup topped with Avocado, Black Beans and Cilantro
- Zucchini Noodles with Pasta Sauce, Seitan, Diced Peppers and Onions
- Chickpea or Tofu Scrambles with Spinach, Diced Peppers and Onions
- Zucchini Noodles with Low Fat Peanut Sauce
- Cauliflower Rice with Peanut Sauce, Edamame and Peppers
Vegan Meal Prep Ideas for Breakfast
I’ve been really fortunate lately in that I’ve had time to come home after the gym and make breakfast each day. However, when it’s straight to the gym then straight to work, I always prep breakfast the night before.
My go-to’s for breakfast meal prep are:
- overnight oats
- breakfast cookie do9ugh
- tofu scrambles
- potato, seitan and veggie hash
- breakfast burritos
- chia seed pudding
Vegan Meal Prep Ideas for Snacks
I didn’t actually prep any snacks this week but snacks are easy. This week I’ll snack on fresh and frozen fruit, protein powder, nuts, chia pudding, smoothies and hummus and veggies, as well as the edamame and other veggies I prepped. Some other good ideas to make ahead are vegan muffins, homemade energy bars and protein bars and healthy baking.
If you’d like to see what I’m making each week in action, follow me on Instagram and watch for food prep stories every Sunday. I’d also love to see what’s cooking for your food prep! Tag me @runningonrealfood and use #runningonrealfood so I can check it out!