Food bloggers and youtubers all over the internet rave about their neat meal preps. It seems intimidating to many people though, but meal prep is a great way to keep your diet healthy and optimize your cooking time and budget. If you are shifting to plant-based diet or healthy eating in general meal prep can help you alot. I usually mealprep on Sunday to have 3-4 lunches for a work week or some precooked and prepped ingredients I can quickly whip up into a dinner.
I rarely do lunches for 5 days ahead cs I get bored eating the same thing over and over an it is usually tastes the best up to 3-4 days.
I don’t meal prep every week but when I do I trully enjoy it and would be excited if these tips will help you turn it into a fun activity. Feel free to include family, friends, flatmates and have a meal prep party.
So let’s look at it step by step:
- Plan – think through what you would like to cook, check for ingredients you have available and shop accordingly. Meal prep is a great way to use up some stuf you have in your pantry for a while or that sad veggies on the bottom of the fridge
- If I have some main big pot dish, I start with that one – soup, curry etc
- At the same time I cook some grains (rice, quinoa, buckwheat etc) or beans (can be done even day before) and roast veggies
- Then I make some protein component if used – fry or roast tofu, tempeh with greens, seitan etc.
- Next are veggies – I make salads without dressing or chop raw veggies to keep in the fridge at hand for the next couple days
- Almost finished: chopping herbs, preparing garnishes, sauces etc
- Sometimes I make hummus or other dip for snacking/quick dinner or overnight oats/chia pudding for breakfast.
- Now it’s time to assemble everything in containers and clean up -your kitchen might look like a battlefield at this point, but trust me it will save you a lot of time during the week.
Great for meal prepping are buddha bowls – you use some grains or beans (or both), roasted and raw veggies, protein (fried or smoked tofu, seitan) top it with seeds and greens and a dressing (for example tahini lemon dressing)
If I have no inspiration for a big one pot dish I make components similarly as budha bowls – grain/carb + protein + veggies+ toppings & sauce. This might be quinoa with steamed broccoli and soy sauce glazed tempeh topped with almond flakes, parsley, nutritional yeast and bit of olive oil. It can also be buckwheat with fried garlicky mushrooms & seitan with sauerkraut salad or pepper and cucumber strips topped with dill. You get the idea.
Meal prep of this kind for 2 dishes and some snacks, pre-chopped veggies etc will take about 3-4 hours. If you don’t have that much time you can speed it up by cooking one huge pot of soup or curry or only prep some rice, roasted veggies (doesn’t require your attention while cooking) to use when cooking during the week.
Meal prepping is fun and can be even more enjoyable if you get some nice containers to arrange your food. If you cook for your loved ones they will appreciate your care and love in a lunchbox instead of some sad sandwich or takeaway. And if you are starting your plant-based journey meal prepping will help you stay on track.
To keep yourself motivated take photos of your lunches after every meal prep. Then you can track how your cooking skills, creativity improved and your meals got more nutritious.
Happy meal prepping!