Meal prep: the two words dreaded by every client who has crossed the threshold of my studio.
For most people, the thought of learning to meal prep is daunting. Finding new ingredients and even coming up with storage containers can be overwhelming. Add in the additional burden of trying a new diet or walking away from a food addiction or unhealthy emotional eating habits, and you’ve got a recipe for every excuse as to why meal prepping isn’t for you.
The best way to frame your meal prep is to set aside a few hours on Sunday to get shopping and prep done for the week. Before you start, you’ll need to get some reusable microwave and dishwasher-safe containers big enough for an average adult serving (29 ounces).
The following hand-selected recipes will help you tackle the big five excuses; time, ease, taste, variety and flexibility. And we’ve equipped you with a shopping list to execute each of these recipes with ease. While your first attempt might not be pretty, with the right ingredients you’ll be able to save money, time and unwanted pounds. In addition you’ll be increasing your vitamin and mineral intake.
You can make the following recipes in batches of their base ingredients. By changing spices here and there, it’s easy to go from Indian to Moroccan. What’s more, the way each meal is balanced means you can start your journey into the world of vegan eating concentrating on a balance of ‘macros’ which are your proteins, carbs and fats.
Some quick tips to set you up for success
- Start simply by prepping the carbohydrates in your recipe such as quinoa, sweet potato, chopped veggies, chopped fruits etc. The stress-free way to end a busy day is to get home and have your meals ready to put together in 30 minutes or less.
- Follow the same process with proteins. If you have several solid, whole food proteins you like to use, cube them up, boil, cut, grill, bake, slow cook or air-fry them ahead of time and keep them on hand to toss into a salad, grain bowl, stir-fry or soup. Running your kitchen like a commercial restaurant helps.
- Spice mixtures are also a great gift to give yourself. I keep a Mexican, BBQ, Italian, Indian and dessert blend on-hand at all times. You can create these easily and keep them in a small mason jar or glass container. These keep for months and take up very little space in your pantry.
- Shakes, breakfast bowls and smoothies will last for at least a few days in the fridge. Create double or triple batches and store them in mason jars for grab and go ease. High quality vegan protein powders are great to keep on hand and allow you to add just a few ingredients to make a meal.
Finding easy, well rounded, vegan alternatives can be difficult so I wanted to share my favorites with you.
After mastering these recipes you’ll have enough ammo in your repertoire to start branching out and getting creative by putting in your own personal touches. Remember, if your goal is to streamline your life, look for ingredients with a lot of versatility like quinoa, a perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothie or dessert food with some natural protein too.
Your life can be as simple or as difficult as you make it but your nutrition should be something that doesn’t leave you scratching your head. Think protein, carb, fat and don’t be afraid to add some flair from there.
Meal Prep Recipe Ideas
All of the recipes in this issue of IMPACT are great for meal prepping and can be combined to provide a full day meal plan.
Breakfast: Creamy Quinoa Porridge
Snack #1: Kale & Hemp Hummus
Lunch: Quinoa & Cabbage Salad
Snack #2: Thai Basil Tempeh Stir-Fry
Dinner: Instant Pot Portobello Pot Roast
- 3 cups white quinoa
- 1 cup jasmine rice
Spices & Seasonings
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. sambal oelek or sriracha
- dash cayenne
- 2 Tbsp. oregano
Fruit & Vegetables
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- handful coconut shavings
- 2 Tbsp. coconut flakes
- 2 green onions
- 7 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup Thai basil
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3-4 fresh sage leaves
- 5 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 large onion
- 5 large potatoes
- 4 large carrots
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 cup cannellini beans
- 3/4 cup red cabbage
- 1/4 cup sugar snap peas
- 1 1/2 cups kale
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup cooked chickpeas or 14 oz can
- handful cashews
- 4 Tbsp. pecans
- 1/2 cup organic hemp hearts
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk or canned coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
- 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. cayenne-infused oil (1 part vinegar, 3 parts oil, dash cayenne)
- 1 Tbsp. hemp oil
- 1 block of tempeh (approx 200 g)
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, or arrowroot powder, cornstarch or gluten free flour
- 2 Tbsp. tahini
Note: List has enough ingredients for you to make one batch of each recipe above. Scale up or down as necessary. Some recipes serve 2, some serve 4.