Being vegan means excluding all animal products from your diet and replacing them with plant-based substitutes.
For this reason, preparing a vegan meal may seem daunting and difficult. You have to do your best to avoid all the ingredients that don’t fit the vegan diet and lifestyle while balancing the ones that do feed your body, mind and soul.
People generally think vegan meal prepping requires a lot of time, money and all sorts of fancy ingredients. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone can do it and it’s actually an easy and great way of sticking to a healthy plant-based eating pattern with your own available resources.
Benefits of preparing your own meal
- You have more free time
Not having to go grocery shopping and cook after a busy day at work leaves you more time to do the things you enjoy, like reading or watching more of your favorite show.
- You spend less money on groceries
Knowing what you’re going to prepare, makes it easier for you to stick to the ingredients on your list and avoid spending money on things that you don’t really need. This is a huge breakthrough in terms of savings.
- You throw away less food
When you purchase exactly what you’re going to eat, you’re less likely to end up with piles of uneaten food that needs to be thrown away.
Tips on how to prepare your vegan meal
Whether you’re a newbie vegan or an experienced one, it’s always good to know some basic guidelines to make your meal prepping easier and more appealing.
Choose the right food
Make sure the food you choose is from real seeds, organic and with no GMOs. Also, it should be local and not transported for miles before it gets to you. That’s because most nutrients begin to alter when a fresh produce is picked so it’s best to consume it in its freshest state.
Avoid processed ingredients
It may seem like a “no brainer” but I’ll say it nonetheless. Processed or pre-packaged food is not real food. Why? Because it does not have enough micronutrients, fiber or omega-3 fatty acids to fuel your body. Instead it is packed with additives, trans-fats, salt and sugar and empty calories.
Stick to whole foods, replace sugar with fruits, juice with water and pre-cooked ingredients with home-made ones.
Keep a proper protein balance
Some may be concerned that a plant-based diet does not provide enough protein as animal foods. It’s true that most plant foods are not complete proteins, meaning they do not include all essential amino acids.
But there are also a plethora of high-protein vegan sources such as quinoa, soy, beans, seeds or whole grains that successfully fill in your protein requirements and boost your intake as a vegan.
Store your food properly
Given that you prepare your meal for several days, it’s very important to store it properly. This is not only valid for vegan diets but for all meal preps in general.
Therefore, foods should not be kept in the fridge more than 2-3 days. If you believe you won’t be able to eat something, you can put it in the freezer for another day. Just make sure when the times comes for you to eat it, you defrost that food in the fridge or at room temperature 24 hours before.
How to plan your vegan recipes
The advantages of preparing your own meals is that you can choose from a plethora of recipes and dishes and create something to your exact liking. Salads, soups, stews, falafel, tortilla, veggie burger…sky’s the limit!
Begin with foods you already like
The thought of eating what you like makes it easier for you to select the recipes you’re gonna make and the ingredients you need to buy. You know what to look for and what to expect in terms of taste.
If you also want to try new recipes, make sure you combine the new ingredients with some you are familiar with and already like. This way, your first try will be a success instead of a failed experiment!
Schedule your recipes
Think about what you would like to eat and the time you actually have to prepare it and plan your recipes accordingly. When you have an idea of the food you’re going to prepare, the shopping process goes smoother and faster.
Not to mention you save money by not buying food you’re not going to eat.
Try food combos
Food combinations can make your meal prepping much more interesting. Not to mention much healthier due to the various nutrients, fibers or antioxidants you pair together.
Mix legumes like tofu or beans with starches like brown rice, whole grains, quinoa, vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots and add condiments and seasoning such as herbs, dressings, dried fruits, to give your vegan meal savor and flavor.
Your 14-Day Vegan Meal Plan
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to put all of it into practice.
To have an idea of what a meal plan looks like, you can check out this exclusive 14-Day Vegan Meal Plan. It includes the dishes, recipes and complete shopping lists to save you important time and effort. Don’t hesitate to try it as it is or simply use it for inspiration!