There's a lot of plant based eating guides out there promising to help you thrive on a vegan meal plan, but most of these resources don't consider overall nutrition needs and macro balance to help you achieve your fitness goals. So here's a vegan meal prep guide that does.
Ready to tackle plant based eating like a pro? Grab this vegan meal prep toolkit and started on your vegan diet today!
How to Start a Vegan Diet
Starting any new diet begins with identifying your personal health and fitness goals. Your nutrition goal will determine you daily calorie needs and shape the foundation of your food choices. For most, the reason for changing their eating habits falls into one of the following categories:
However, these may not be the only reasons one would start a plant based style of eating. Veganism is unique in that it is also associated with animal welfare and sustainability. Regardless, if your main reasons for going vegan fall into less health-oriented goals like these, it is still important to think through how your eating habits impact your personal wellbeing.
Step one is to determine what you want to get out of your meals. From there you can begin to shape your menu to fit your unique nutrition needs.
Customize Your Nutrition
Once you understand the basics principles of vegan eating for your nutrition goal, the next step is to fine tune your menu with quality options and optimized macro balance.
What Are the Best Vegan Foods?
A vegan style of eating can already feel somewhat limited with the removal of large food groups like meat, dairy, and seafood. But it doesn't mean you can get tons of variety and tasty options.
The best vegan diet is the one full of nutritious options that you enjoy eating. If you don't enjoy the food, there is little chance you are going to stick to and stay consistent.
To keep your nutrition on point, opt for more whole foods like fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes, as well as minimally processed meat and dairy alternatives to fill in the gaps.
Here's a comprehensive vegan food list to get you started.
How to Count Vegan Macros
Choosing the right foods is only part of it - getting the right amounts of each type of food is also key.
I'm talking about macronutrients. Macronutrients or "macros" are a way to organize your calories by looking at the main food groups that impact your health, energy, mood, appetite, and fitness. You can estimate your exact vegan macros and calorie needs using a simple online macro calculator.
Vegan Meal Prep Ideas and Expert Tips
Now you're ready to put it all together and execute your vegan meal prep - which can sound a lot easier than it is. Well executed meal prep takes dedication and a bit of strategy.
But have no fear, we've got you! Meal prep is nothing more than planning and/or cooking some or all of your meals in advance. And it's also totally salable to your needs and skill level.
Here are some ways to help you simplify the process, including templates and tips to use:
Meal Planning 101
Be honest with yourself, how much cooking can you do and how much cooking do you want to do? Once you can gauge your response to this question, focus on finding recipes that fit your culinary skill set.
Next, pick which meals you want to prep for. If you're new to meal prep, consider starting with one meal a day - like breakfast - or only meal prepping for a few days of the week at a time. If you go all in from the beginning, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and give up quickly.
Now pick which day works best to prep. You can prep meals the night or day before you eat them, or do multiple days and meals all in one day. Many people will cook their weekly meals on a Sunday or Monday to enjoy them all week long.
Then, grab a sheet of paper, calendar, or use this handy dandy meal planning template and map out your menu along with your shopping list. And don't forget to plan your snacks too!
5 Tips to Save Money
Ding a full week's grocery haul at once can give you quite the sticker shock! On average, most people spend roughly $173 a week on groceries - and you spend even more than that if you are eating out often.
Buying in bulk and looking for sales are no-brainers, so here are some other tips to help you manage your budget:
- Skip the pricey health food trends. All nutritious foods are “superfoods” and you don’t need goji berries or bee pollen to transform your life - affordable health foods like cranberries and sesame seeds work just as well.
- Make your sauces and seasoning blends from scratch. Packaged ingredients like sauces and seasoning blends can eat up your meal prep budget quickly, but can be super simple to make on your own.
- Cut down on food waste with better portioning. Buy only what you need or opt for meal prep delivery that provides pre-portioned ingredients to minimize waste and overspending.
- Reuse staple ingredients for multiple recipes. Make baked tofu seasoned three ways, turn sweet potatoes into mashed, roasted, and baked, and use your veggies raw and cooked to add variety.
- Grow your own herbs. Fresh herbs can add a ton of fresh flavor to your meals, but can get costly and often go bad unless you use them in multiple recipes. Keep them fresh and cheap with a simple herb garden at home.
5 Tips to Save Time
Meal prep is also super time consuming. Some people spend hours cooking each week, not to mention the time it takes to plan your menu, grocery shop, and clean all those dishes!
Here are five ways to get more of your Sunday's back:
- Eat more foods you don't have to cook. Swap roasted veggies for side salads and fresh fruit, and grilled fish for canned tuna.
- Make more one-pot dishes. Spend less time cleaning dishes with one-pot meals like chili, stews, soups, lasagna, pasta, pilafs and stir-frys.
- Learn to batch cook staple ingredients. Dust off the old crock-pot and get familiar with sheet pan recipes to prep veggies and grains for multiple dishes at a time.
- Use some pre-cooked or semi-prepped ingredients. Reach for pre-chopped veggies, frozen fruit, and canned beans for recipes that are easier to toss together.
- Stop waiting in line at the store and get it delivered. Grocery delivery is one thing, but why not opt for a vegan meal prep delivery service that does the planning, shopping, and cooking for you?
20 Vegan Meal Prep Recipes to Try
To help you plan your menu and crush your macros, here are our favorite vegan meal prep recipes to try.
5 Easy Breakfast Recipes
No, you don't have to live off cereal to be vegan. Here are five high protein breakfast recipes to start your day off right.
- Tofu Scramble - Savoury and hearty. Mimics the texture and taste of cheesy scramble eggs.
- Vanilla Protein Oats - Creamy, sweet and satisfying with a punch of protein powder.
- Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding - Tastes like Thanksgiving in a cup! A great breakfast, snack or dessert.
- Easy Hummus Toast - Simple and ready in minutes. A higher protein alternative to avocado toast.
- Apple Pie Quinoa Bowl - Slightly sweet and nutty with a crunch. A nice twist on oatmeal.
8 Lunch and Dinner Ideas
Here are eight easy recipes with at least 25 grams of protein per serving.
- Grilled Tofu Bowl - Savoury and slightly nutty. Made with super simple ingredients.
- Vegan Chili - Thick and filling. Pair with fresh toppings like avocado or vegan cheese.
- Vegan Veggie Curry - Creamy with a kick. Toss in tofu or seitan for even more protein.
- Broccoli and Quinoa Bowl - Vibrant, fresh and perfect for on the go.
- "Beef" Burrito Bowls - Hearty and satisfying. Add more spice to bring up the heat.
- Vegan Veggie Pasta - Simple and refreshing. Swap in your favorite veggies.
- Vegan Beyond Meat Tacos - Traditional crowd pleaser. Change up the flavors with toppings.
- Roasted Veggie Sandwich - Crunchy, creamy, and fresh tasting. A perfect easy meal.
5 Vegan Snacks
Here are incredibly easy, grab-and-go high protein vegan snacks to add to your daily prep.
2 Vegan Desserts
Here are some healthier dessert options to satisfy your sweet tooth!
- Dark Chocolate Brownies - Rich, decadent, and creamy. Also gluten-free, high protein, and nutritious.
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Mug Cake - Tastes like cookie dough without the dairy and eggs.
Vegan Meal Prep Toolkit
Feeling overwhelmed with your weekly meal prep and wondering how you can simplify the process? Download this free vegan meal prep toolkit that has everything you need to stick to a plant based lifestyle. Or eliminate nearly all the work with Trifecta's high protein vegan meal plans with meal delivered right to your door - all you need to do is heat and eat them.