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Why meal prep and why vegan? Over the last decade, the vegan diet has become extremely popular. Increasingly more people have chosen to go vegan, whether it be for moral, environmental, or health reasons.
If you’re already eating a vegan diet, then that’s great! Veganism comes with a ton of health benefits, such as decreasing your risk of heart disease and cancer, providing antioxidants and healthy vitamins and minerals, and boosting your fiber intake, which can lead to healthy weight loss. There’s no doubt about it: choosing to enjoy a vegan diet is one of the best decisions you could have made.
However, a diet that is dependent on plant foods may, in some cases, lead to the deficiency of some much-needed nutrients. If you know anything about veganism, then you know that while it is extremely healthy, it does take a bit of precaution and proper planning to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients necessary for optimal health.
Meal Prepping the Vegan Way
With that being said, how do you go about meal prepping the vegan way? This may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually fairly easy. In fact, it is very similar to meal prepping for an omnivorous diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful information about veganism and ultimately how to meal prep for a vegan diet. This will ensure that all of your nutritional needs are still met. Let’s dig in.
What is Veganism?
In short, veganism is a method for living and eating that aims to reject all types of animal mistreatment and brutality, regardless of whether for food, clothing, or some other reason.
Therefore, the vegan diet is basically a diet that avoids any animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy.
People may decide to follow a vegan diet for different reasons, which typically range from ethical reasons, environmental concerns, or wanting to improve their health.
Different Types of Vegan Diets
While veganism is a subcategory of vegetarianism, did you know that there are also several forms of vegan diets? The most common of them include:
- Whole-food vegan diet: A diet dependent on a wide assortment of whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Raw-food vegan diet: A vegan diet dependent on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or plant foods cooked at temperatures at or below 118°F (48°C)
- The starch solution: This is a low-fat, high-carb vegan diet like the 80/10/10; however, that focuses on cooked starches like potatoes, rice, and corn rather than fruits.
- Junk-food vegan diet: A vegan diet that lacks whole plant foods that depend intensely on mock meats and cheeses, fries, vegan treats, and other heavily processed vegan foods. This one is the easiest to fall into if you’re not careful.
Foods to Avoid on a Vegan Diet
As mentioned earlier, vegans avoid eating any animal foods, as well as any foods containing ingredients derived from animals. Some of these animal-derived ingredients include:
- Animal-based ingredients: Whey, casein, lactose, egg white albumen, gelatin, cochineal or carmine, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, animal-derived vitamin D3, and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
- Dairy: Cow milk, yogurt variations, all cheeses, all kinds of butter, creams, ice cream,
- Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
- Eggs: From chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
- Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
- Bee products: This one is a bit of a gray area sometimes, with some vegans thinking it’s not vegan and others accepting it as vegan-friendly. Includes bee pollen, honey, etc.
Foods to Enjoy on a Vegan Diet
The great news about a vegan diet is that it isn’t that restrictive. There are many ingredients you can use, such as:
- Tofu, tempeh, and seitan: These give a flexible protein-rich option in contrast to animal-derived alternatives.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are fantastic sources of many nutrients and helpful plant compounds.
- Nuts and nut butter: Peanuts, cashews, almonds, and their butter variations are great sources of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.
- Seeds: Hemp, chia, and flaxseed all provide healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurts: These assist vegans with accomplishing their suggested dietary calcium consumption. Opt for the varieties that are fortified with vitamin B12 and D whenever possible.
- Algae variations: Spirulina and chlorella are complete proteins.
- Nutritional yeast: This odd yet deliciously cheesy ingredient is a great way to increase your protein intake.
- Whole grains and cereals: These provide a great number of complex carbs, iron, fiber, B-vitamins, and other minerals.
- Fruits and vegetables: These are a given, and provide a handsome dose of nutrients. While you should try to eat the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables, make sure to eat ample amounts of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, bok choy, and mustard greens.
How to Meal Prep the Vegan Way
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some quick yet super helpful tips to help with meal prepping for your vegan diet.
#1: Buy some meal prep containers in varying sizes.
While you can absolutely opt for those cheap and inexpensive Tupperware bowls, it’s probably not the best way to go. Pyrex glass containers with lids are good alternatives to plastic food storage containers.
Containers with several compartments built in them are brilliant for lunches. This way you can keep your meal clean and organized––and more appetizing to eat.
#2: Follow some common plate portioning rules.
In any dish––regardless of whether it’s vegan or omnivorous in nature––you should find three components: fruits and/or vegetables, a complex carb source, and a protein source. If we refer to the realm of health and fitness, the most widely accepted “rule” when it comes to portioning for good health is as follows:
- 50% Fruits and/or Veggies
- 25% Protein
- 25% Complex Carbs (Starches).
Obviously, this is a very generalized guide and each individual has different nutritional needs. For example, if you’re hoping to lose weight, you may find that you should reduce the number of carbs you eat while increasing your intake of protein and fruits/veggies. If you’re looking to gain a few pounds, you’d up your carb intake instead.
#3: Dedicate a day of the week as “Meal Prep Day”
To keep your meal prep efforts organized and fun, you should dedicate a certain day of the week as your day for meal prepping for the week to come. For most people, this will be Sunday, especially since it’s typically an “off day”.
#4: Invest in a “just in case” supplement.
Yes, a vegan diet can provide all the required nutrients that your body needs. However, unfortunately, a large number of people who try a vegan diet tend to fall short in certain nutrients, especially vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
While this isn’t required, it might be helpful to invest in a vegan multivitamin that provides all the nutrients your body needs. That way if you accidentally fall short on a nutrient or two, your multivitamin will carry you along until you readjust your meals.
Vegan Meal Prep for the Week
Enjoy this granola with fresh fruit, nuts, pumpkin seeds and plant based milk, or even as a smoothie bowl.
Caramel Cashew Granola
- 10 Medjool dates pitted
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats gluten-free if necessary
- 2 1/2 cups puffed rice
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 1/2 cups chopped cashews raw or toasted
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp flax meal
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
Position two racks in the oven near the center. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Combine the dates, milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth, pausing to scrape the sides as necessary. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, puffed rice, buckwheat groats, cashews, hemp seeds, flax meal, and cinnamon. Add the date mixture and stir until combined. Sprinkle the sugar over the granola and gently stir it in.
Spread out the granola over the two baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Switch the sheets, placing the bottom sheet on the upper rack and the top sheet on the lower rack, and bake for another 20 minutes, until crisp and golden.
Let cool completely before crumbling and transferring to gift jars or an airtight container. The granola will keep at room temperature for about 2 weeks.
Vegan Meal lunch Prep
(This will be enough for 4 lunches that can be stored in the fridge till needed. Dress this with vegan mayo before serving. Find the recipe in this post.)
BBQ Chickpea Salad
Healthy Lunch Salad Recipe
- 3 cups cooked or tinned chickpeas
- 2 tbsp soy sauce coconut aminos to be soy-free
- 2/3 cup vegan barbeque sauce
- 1 large head Romaine Lettuce
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup chopped mango you could use sliced nectarines or tinned peaches
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 handful toasted pumpkin seeds
Heat a large shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the chick-peas and soy sauce (or coconut aminos) and cook, stirring a couple of times, until the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes
Add ⅓ cup of the barbecue sauce and toss to coat. Cook until the sauce has thickened and caramelized, and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the remaining barbecue sauce and cook until the sauce has thickened and caramelized again. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, nectarine slices, and carrots.
Divide the salad among four bowls and top with the chickpeas
Top with dressing, a sprinkling of the pepitas, and a scoop of the relish.
Serve immediately. Leftover beans will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Topping idea – sauerkraut
Vegan Stock Recipe
A good idea is to make a stock then freeze small portions in bags. That way you have the base for most recipes, all ready for your vegan meal prep.
A Stock that can be used in many recipes including soups, vegetable curries, shepherds pie etc
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 onion diced finely
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 litres water
- 2 tbsp miso paste
- 1 pinch Himalayan salt
- 1 handful chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teasp ground turmeric
- 1/4 teasp ground black pepper
Saute onion, carrot, and celery in coconut oil for a couple of minutes till softened
Add the remaining ingredients except for miso and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour.
Add miso in the last 10 minutes
Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer to a high-speed blender and blend till smooth.
Transfer to freezer bags with just a cup of liquid in each bag. (You can also fill an ice cube tray with liquid for smaller stock portions too.)
Use straight from freezer when needed.
Now You have stock prepared, you will be able to whip up a main meal in no time!
Vegan Meal Prep Meals
Easy Cauliflower Curry
Quick Cauliflower Curry
A healthy and quick to prepare main course
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 cup mushrooms chopped
- 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 piece fresh ginger (grated)
- 1 teasp curry powder
- 2 teasp garam masala
- 1/2 teasp ground turmeric
- 1 teasp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh chilli to taste
- 1 handful chopped coriander
- 1 handful chopped cashews optional
- 1 cup coconut yoghurt
- Rice or vegan naan bread to serve with
Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté until the onion is just becoming translucent. Add the curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Cook for about 10 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for about 5 minutes more. Stir in the yogurt and cook for a few minutes, until heated through.
Add salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Top with chopped coriander and/or cashews, if desired, and serve with rice or bread.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
To make this nut-free, switch out the cashews with pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds.
You can use the curry base as a sauce for pasta the following day, or enjoy it with a baked sweet potato.
Hopefully thats given you a head start! I would love to hear if this has helped you become more organised.
If you would also like to prepare some snacks, these energy balls are very quick and easy to make!
|Natalie Shirlaw is passionate about healthy living and writes posts about wellbeing. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to pin it or share it!|