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  • Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Jul 10, 2024

Tips for vegan meal prep from a vegan nutritionist

In the realm of vegan living, mastering the art of meal prep is nothing short of essential. It plays a pivotal role in shaping your culinary journey throughout the week. 

Planning ahead not only saves valuable time but also guarantees a steady supply of nutrient-rich meals that cater to your daily requirements.

A strategic approach to meal planning ensures you avoid the pitfalls of nutrient deficiencies, especially critical for vegans who need to pay special attention to nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. 

Consulting with expert vegan nutritionists can further fine-tune your meal plans, ensuring they align perfectly with your dietary needs.

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Foundations of Vegan Meal Prep

There are three golden rules to bear in mind when embarking on vegan meal prep

  • Planning ahead
  • Variety and balance
  • Food prepping/batch cooking

Planning ahead

Dedicate some time at the start of the week to chart out your meals. Assess your pantry, jot down the ingredients you need, and hit the store if necessary. This proactive approach sets the stage for seamless meal preparation and consumption throughout the week.

Variety and balance 

A well-rounded vegan diet thrives on diversity. Incorporate an array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds into your meal plans. This ensures you meet your nutritional needs while relishing a spectrum of flavors and textures.

Food prepping/batch cooking 

Food prepping, also known as batch cooking, involves preparing large quantities of ingredients in advance and storing them for use throughout the week. 

For instance, if you anticipate needing various fruits and vegetables for recipes during the week, you can shorten the process by washing and chopping them over the weekend. Then, when it’s time to cook or when a particular ingredient is required, you simply retrieve it from the prepped batch.

This approach isn’t limited to fruits and vegetables; it extends to other foods such as grains (like quinoa or rice), and legumes. 

By prepping these foundational ingredients ahead of time, you create a pantry of ready-to-use components, which not only facilitates meal variety but also significantly reduces the time and effort spent on daily cooking

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Vegan Meal Prep Ideas

Stock your pantry with staple ingredients that serve as the backbone of numerous vegan dishes. Quinoa, brown rice, lentils, and canned beans are versatile, long-lasting essentials that form the base of myriad vegan creations.

These long-lasting staples can be purchased in bulk and utilized across various meals whenever needed, serving as versatile components for vegan cooking.

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Pre-chopped vegetables are a game-changer in the kitchen, whether fresh or frozen. They effortlessly elevate stir-fries, soups, salads, and grain bowls, saving you precious prep time.

These readily available vegetables can be quickly incorporated into stir-fries, soups, salads, and grain bowls without the need for washing and chopping, streamlining the cooking process.

Prepare make-ahead sauces and dressings to enhance flavors and diversify dishes. Batch-making a variety of sauces at the beginning of the week allows for easy customization and adds convenience to daily meal planning, offering a quick way to elevate the taste of meals while utilizing common ingredients.

Easy Vegan Meals to Meal Prep

Here is a breakdown and some meal ideas for each meal of the day, along with base ingredients that can be prepared ahead of time to assist you in meal preparation.

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Breakfast

Vegan Breakfast Burrito:

  • Ingredients: Whole grain tortilla, scrambled tofu, black beans, avocado, salsa, chopped vegetables, hot sauce or vegan sour cream.
  • Description: A hearty and satisfying burrito filled with scrambled tofu, black beans, avocado, salsa, and chopped vegetables, wrapped in a whole grain tortilla and optionally grilled for a crispy exterior. Serve with hot sauce or vegan sour cream for added flavor.

Recipe : https://rainbowplantlife.com/the-best-vegan-breakfast-burritos/ 

Chickpea Omelette:

  • Ingredients: Chickpea flour, water, nutritional yeast, spices, vegetables.
  • Description: Mix chickpea flour with water and cook with veggies for a protein-packed omelette.

Recipe: https://thehiddenveggies.com/chickpea-omelette-the-best-vegan-omelette/ 

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl:

  • Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, almond milk, berries, nuts, seeds, maple syrup.
  • Description: Combine cooked quinoa with toppings for a filling and protein-rich bowl.

Recipe: https://www.loveandlemons.com/cinnamon-quinoa-breakfast-bowl/ 

Protein Smoothie

  • Ingredients: Plant-based protein powder, soy milk, spinach, banana, chia seeds, almond butter.
  • Description: Blend all ingredients for a quick and nutritious breakfast.

Lunch

Buddha Bowl:

  • Ingredients: Cooked grains (brown rice or quinoa), roasted or raw vegetables (sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli), protein (tofu, chickpeas, edamame), sauce (peanut sauce or tahini dressing).
  • Description: Cook grains and roast vegetables ahead of time. Prepare protein and sauce if necessary. Assemble bowls with cooked grains, roasted or raw vegetables, protein, and sauce. Store components separately and combine when ready to eat.

Recipe: https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/vegan-buddha-bowl/ 

Falafel Bowl:

  • Ingredients: Cooked quinoa or rice, homemade or store-bought falafel, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, tahini dressing, warm pita bread.
  • Description: Cook quinoa or rice according to package instructions. Prepare falafel according to recipe or package instructions. Chop lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion. Assemble bowls with cooked quinoa or rice, falafel, chopped vegetables, and drizzle with tahini dressing. Serve with warm pita bread on the side.

Recipe: https://minimalistbaker.com/the-ultimate-mediterranean-bowl/ 

Chickpea Salad Sandwich:

  • Ingredients: Chickpeas, vegan mayo or mashed avocado, celery, red onion, pickles, lemon juice, whole grain bread.
  • Description: Mash chickpeas and mix with vegan mayo or mashed avocado, diced celery, red onion, pickles, and lemon juice. Spread onto whole grain bread. Wrap sandwiches individually for convenient grab-and-go lunches.

Recipe: https://minimalistbaker.com/chickpea-sunflower-sandwich/

Dinner

Vegetable Curry:

  • Ingredients: Mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peas), onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, coconut milk, vegetable broth, cooked rice or naan bread.
  • Description: Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in a pot until fragrant. Add mixed vegetables, curry powder, coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Serve with cooked rice or naan bread.

Vegetable Stir-Fry:

  • Ingredients: Mixed vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, snap peas), tofu or tempeh, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, cooked rice or noodles.
  • Description: Stir-fry mixed vegetables and protein (tofu or tempeh) in garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil until tender. Serve over cooked rice or noodles for a quick and flavorful dinner.

Recipe: https://natashaskitchen.com/vegetable-stir-fry/ 

Mediterranean Bowl:

  • Ingredients: Cooked quinoa or couscous, falafel or marinated tofu, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, hummus, tahini dressing.
  • Description: Assemble bowls with cooked quinoa or couscous, falafel or marinated tofu, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, and red onion. Serve with hummus and drizzles of tahini dressing.

Recipe: https://www.culinaryhill.com/mediterranean-vegan-bowl/ 

Snacks

Hummus and Veggie Sticks: 

Pair homemade or store-bought hummus with sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes for a crunchy and satisfying snack.

Trail Mix: 

Create your own trail mix by combining nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips. Portion out individual servings in small containers or snack bags for convenient on-the-go snacking.

Energy Bites: 

Make no-bake energy bites using rolled oats, nut butter, maple syrup, and add-ins like shredded coconut, chia seeds, and dried cranberries. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and refrigerate until firm.

Mastering High-Protein Vegan Meals

To ensure you have high-protein vegan meals prepared, always start by prepping your plant-based protein sources such as legumes, tofu, and tempeh, as well as quinoa. 

For legumes, rinse them thoroughly after removing them from the can and store them in an airtight container, seasoned or cooked for easy use throughout the week. 

With tofu and tempeh, consider cutting them according to your recipe needs and marinating them in advance, so they’re ready to cook on the day.

When your protein sources are prepped in advance, the final steps become quick and easy. You can simply add them to your plate or cook them quickly before serving. 

By preparing your base protein sources ahead of time, you ensure you’re meeting your daily protein requirements effectively.

Dedicating time to prepare the foundational elements of your meals not only makes it more convenient and enjoyable, but also guarantees that you meet all your daily nutritional requirements.

For personalized guidance tailored to your needs, consider scheduling a session with one of our expert vegan nutritionists.

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