Every busy vegan wants to be able to prep beforehand, making it easier to prepare deliciously healthy meals available during or after a busy day. Meal-prep doesn’t require lots of time, money, or fancy equipment but allows you to have batches of ingredients ready for meals or whole meals prepared in advance.
The concept behind meal-prep for vegans
Meal preparation or meal prep is all about planning, helping to make mealtime easier for you. All you need to do is dedicate some time and effort to cook or prepare batches of ingredients or meals for the days ahead.
This requires measuring or weighing the portions needed and doing all the peeling, chopping or blending, all depending on your meal preferences. But, of course, all this isn’t possible without some planning, so an excellent meal-prep session first requires a meal plan and the necessary grocery shopping.
Prepping is not just vital for busy vegans who are working or studying full time, but it’s also great for busy stay-at-home mums and anyone who hates to see food wasted. Those vegans who easily fall off the wagon because of a lack of motivation or inability to be inspired can also benefit from meal prep.
Benefits of meal-prep
- You have a healthy, well-balanced diet at your fingertips in no time.
- You get all the healthy nutrients required.
- You reduce food waste, stress, time spent in the kitchen, and kitchen cleaning time.
- You spend less on food because you are buying bulk and throw away less.
Prepping Essential for Vegans
Vegans can eat components from quite a few food groups. These include starches, vegetables, legumes, and healthy fats. Always have some of those that don’t spoil quickly in your store cupboard.
- Starches — rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and whole-grain bread
- Legumes — tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, and peas
- Healthy Fats — nuts, seeds, avocado, and your favorite nut or seed butter
Buy your fruits and vegetables according to what you prefer for the meal prep. Also, remember to have some of your favorite condiments in store for cooking delicious vegan meals like herbs, spices, and sauces.
Depending on the amount of food you want to prep, you may need up to two hours of prep time once a week. You can also spend less time twice a week. First, have an idea of what you want to prepare. This will include washing and peeling vegetables, roasting ingredients like nuts and chickpeas, cooking a batch of rice, or preparing a dressing.
As you prep, be prepared to multitask and get on with some things, like peel or chop vegetables, as something else is baking in the oven. Or you can whisk a sauce as you wait for the oven to pre-heat. That way, you won’t let any of your allocated time in the kitchen go to waste.
Getting the quantities right
Make batches of rice, roasted veg, hummus, or potatoes to prepare meals you plan to cook during the week, or prep whole meals like a vegetarian curry, bean stew, or energy bars.
If you have prepped more food than you can eat in a few days, you don’t want to end up with spoilt food. The best way to deal with this is to freeze the food batches and defrost them a few hours before eating.
Either buy frozen foods vegetables for less waste and save time on washing and chopping or prepare your own to freeze.
Storing food correctly
When preparing meals, some components cannot be added before you eat the meal. One example is not to add salad dressing to fresh greens because the leaves go soggy. Instead, store the leaves separately, and keep the dressing in a little glass jar. Then, when you are ready to eat, pour the dressing over the salad.
Foods that are best kept separately include chopped fruit, salads, and cooked grains.
Plastic zip-lock bags, plastic tubs, and glass jars are ideal containers to store prepped food in but remember always to label them because it is easy to forget what is in something.
Understanding food safety
Food guidelines offered by the FDA indicate that all perishable foods cannot be eaten after 7 days of cooking or preparing. However, this is just a guideline because some foods spoil faster, especially those with high protein. You can test the food by smelling and looking at it for any signs that the food is spoilt, but always remember to freeze it if you are storing food you know is sensitive or if you plan on keeping it for longer than a week.
Always remember to: Allow food to defrost at room temperature before eating, always reheat food thoroughly before eating, and always let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge.
It is easy to get bored with vegan meals, so try not to eat the same meal too many days in a row, Prepare the basic components of a meal, and then add different elements every time to spice it up and make it more exciting.