In today’s fast-paced world, meal prepping has become a game-changer for those seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Plant based meal prep is no exception; it offers an array of benefits for both seasoned vegans and those looking to incorporate more plant based foods into their diets. In this topic of the week, we’ll dive into the world of plant based meal prep, offering practical tips and insights to help you get started on your journey to easy, sustainable, and delicious plant based eating.
Why Plant Based Meal Prep Is a Game-Changer:
Plant based meal prep simplifies your daily life in numerous ways. It helps you save time, money, and reduce food waste, all while allowing you to enjoy nourishing, homemade meals. You’ll be in control of your ingredients, ensuring they align with your dietary preferences and nutritional goals.
Plant Based Meal Prep Tips and Actionable Items:
1. Plan Your Meal: Start by creating a MEAL PLAN for the week. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This will keep you organized and help you make a shopping list.
2. Stay Stocked with Staples: Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the STAPLES AND ESSENTIALS you need for a plant based kitchen. Start and stay stocked as you use each item, add to your SHOPPING LIST so you never run out.
2. Batch Cooking: Cook large portions of grains like quinoa or brown rice, beans, and legumes. Store them in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy meal assembly throughout the week.
3. Pre-cut Veggies: Chop vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers and store them in airtight containers. This makes salad prep and stir-frying a breeze.
4. Protein Power: Cook plant based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, or seitan in advance. Marinate and store for later use in salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries.
5. Homemade Sauces: Whip up your favorite plant based sauces, like a tahini dressing or a vegan pesto, to add flavor to your meals.
6. Repurpose Components: Assemble versatile components, such as roasted vegetables, into various dishes. Turn last night’s roasted sweet potatoes into a nourishing Buddha bowl for lunch.
Tools to Enhance Your Plant Based Meal Prep:
Effective meal prep requires the right tools and equipment. Here are some essentials to make your plant based meal prep journey a breeze. This WIRECUTTER ARTICLE is a great resource to dig a little deeper into useful meal prep kitchen tools. These first two tools are helpful in the packaging process:
1. Glass or BPA-Free Plastic Containers: Invest in a variety of containers for storing prepped ingredients and meals. These should be both microwave and dishwasher-safe for convenience. A valuable tip for maintaining clarity about the contents of your containers is to affix labels using painter’s tape. This versatile labeling method adheres well even in the freezer, and while you may believe you’ll remember each item, the passage of time can turn once-familiar contents into a mystifying puzzle that’s easily forgotten.
2. Mason Jars: Ideal for creating layered salads, storing homemade dressings, and preparing overnight oats.
The next few items can help with the physical cooking process of your plant based meal prep:
3. Instant Pot or Slow Cooker: These kitchen appliances can be a time-saver for cooking beans, stews, and soups.
4. Sharp Knives and Cutting Boards: Quality knives and cutting boards make chopping and prepping vegetables a safer and more efficient task.
5. Food Processor or Blender: These are useful for making sauces, dips, and smoothies.
6. Spiralizer: Great for turning zucchini or sweet potatoes into noodles for your plant based pasta dishes.
7. Kitchen Scale: Useful for portioning ingredients accurately.
Scheduling Your Plant Based Meal Prep:
The timing of your meal prep largely depends on your personal schedule and preferences. Here are two common approaches:
1. The Weekend Warrior: Dedicate a few hours on the weekend to cook and prepare meals for the entire week. This method is highly efficient, as you can knock out most of your meal prep in one go. However, it might be time-consuming, and some meals may lose freshness by the end of the week.
2. Midweek Top-Up: Prep some ingredients midweek to ensure freshness. On, for example, a Wednesday or Thursday evening, you can cook a batch of grains, chop veggies, and prepare a couple of sauces. This approach ensures that you have fresh components for the latter part of the week.
3. A Balanced Approach: Balancing your meal prep routine with a mix of wholesome, prepped meals for the majority of the week and a few nights of quick, 15-minute plant based creations can be a game-changer. Wholesome meal prep ensures you have nourishing options readily available, while the occasional lightning-fast, yet delicious, plant based meal like toasted meatless meatball subs adds variety and convenience to your dining routine. This combination allows you to savor the best of both worlds – planned, nutritious meals and spontaneous, mouthwatering treats.
Sample Plant Based Meal Prep Week:
Here’s an example of how you might structure your plant based meal prep for a week:
Sunday: Spend a few hours batch cooking, making a large pot of chili, a batch of quinoa, and roasting various vegetables. Store these in separate containers for easy mixing and matching throughout the week.
Monday: Use some of the prepped chili for lunch and dinner. Add fresh greens and avocado to create a salad with chili as a topping.
Wednesday: Prepare a big batch of overnight oats in mason jars for quick breakfasts. Also, sauté some tofu or tempeh for protein additions.
Thursday: Make a big pot of soup or stew, portion it into containers for lunch or dinner, and store in the fridge or freezer for later in the week.
Friday: Pre-make a few wraps or sandwiches for lunch using prepped veggies and proteins.
This sample schedule illustrates how you can integrate plant based meal prep into your weekly routine. Adjust the days and dishes to fit your preferences and dietary needs. The goal is to make it work for you and your lifestyle.
With the right tools, a well-structured schedule, and a bit of practice, you’ll soon find that plant based meal prep becomes a time-saving and health-boosting habit in your life.
Want to Slowly Try It Out? Start Small With Plant Based Lunch Prep:
Lunch is an excellent opportunity to pack a nutrient-rich plant based meal. Here are some ideas:
1. Mason Jar Salads: Layer your favorite veggies, greens, and a tasty dressing in a mason jar for a convenient and colorful salad.
2. Veggie Wraps: Use large lettuce leaves or whole-grain wraps as a base, and fill them with hummus, sliced avocado, and roasted veggies.
3. Grain Bowls: Create grain-based bowls with pre-cooked quinoa or brown rice, legumes, greens, and a flavorful sauce.
There You Have It…Plant Based Meal Prep Can Work For You
Incorporating plant based meal prep offers a wealth of benefits, making it a powerful tool for those seeking convenience, cost-efficiency, and healthier eating. Whether you choose to dedicate a weekend afternoon to creating meals for the week or opt for a midweek top-up, having the right tools, like glass containers and mason jars, can streamline the process. This approach allows you to create nourishing and delicious meals that can be repurposed throughout the week. With a little planning and these actionable tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying delicious, nutritious meals and reducing the stress of daily cooking. Happy meal prepping!