how to prep for a week of fresh vegan meals
Guys, it is time to celebrate my little victory in life. I finally started meal prepping. Every Sunday, I meal prep. Without prepping ahead of time, it is SO difficult to stick to a clean diet. Convenient snacks are everywhere, especially when you have kids, so do yourself a favor and set aside one afternoon or evening a week to meal prep. I know meal prep can sound daunting but believe me, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
how to prep for a week of clean eating
keep it simple
If you over-complicate your recipes to prep, the chances of burn out are high. I set my expectations in reality and keep my “meals” simple so I don’t absolutely dread the task of prepping. I do this by prepping mix-n-match ingredients rather than whole meals. I don’t cook anything beforehand (except for a soup). I simply wash, peel, cut and cover foods. It still cuts down on a ton of meal time during the week. If prepping full meals (you’re my idol) I wouldn’t try anything new – stick to your tried and true recipes!
prep the basics
The basics of clean eating are pretty straight forward – fruits, vegetables, grains/seeds, legumes. For salads, steaming and snacking, a bit part of my prep time is dedicated to chopping up raw vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and cauliflower… whatever is in season. I fill a large snacking container with veg I will eat alone or with hummus. You better believe then that I also prep a large batch of regular hummus, to which I can add roasted veg to later like red pepper and beet. I also prep casserole size pans with veg to roast (I currently love roasting brussels sprouts, beets and radishes together).
Most of the fruit I prep (wash, peel, chop) I combine into one big bowl for morning fruit salads. Certain fruits like berries shouldn’t be washed too far in advance or they can mold, so if you are adding them to your fruit salad, make sure to consume the fruit salad in the next couple of days. I’m avoiding grains, so I also prep a LOT of quinoa and also millet. You may want to prep rice or pasta and overnight oats are a great idea for breakfast. For vegan protein options, most I keep in the freezer, but I do prep and marinate either tofu or tempeh once a week.
Then there is my soup. I always prep one large batch of soup. Having a soup ready to heat and eat is perfect for really busy days when you want a hot meal. My typical go-to is a vegetable noodle soup (onion, celery, carrot, ginger, garlic) with lots of veggie broth, almond milk. turmeric and vegan chicken salt. To this I’ll often add a lentil pasta and sometimes vegan chicken. This makes me think I might add one vegan curry to my prep day, which would be awesome over prepped rice. Anything you can get multiple meals out of is a good idea.
stock up on supplies
Meal prep is all about containers so if you don’t have enough functional containers of all sizes, buy them now! I like to buy sets since they stack better in cabinets and square vs round since they fit better in the fridge. Mason jars are also handy for soups, pasta salads, all kinds of things. You’re also going to need a really good knife and sharpening steel. We’re talking about a lot of cutting, so make it easy on yourself with a high quality knife. Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap will make prep life easier and keep food fresher for longer. More on that below!
know how to store foods
There is a real science behind the best way to store your foods. Fruits, vegetables and herbs all need special treatment. If you’re not sure, look it up! Food waste is a terrible thing, so figure out how to keep your foods fresh until you can eat them. Definitely utilize your crispers for whole fruits and vegetables. Keep fruits and veg separate – fruit in low humidity and vegetables in high. For the best herbs, place the stems into a jar of water and cover the leaves with Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap. Herbs will last almost forever this way!
Another tip to prevent food waste: Slow down the ripening process for bananas by wrapping the stem in plastic wrap, which acts like a greenhouse. With bananas, plastic wrap helps contain ethylene gas, which bananas produce naturally while they ripen. Without the plastic wrap, the ethylene gas spreads to other parts of the fruit, helping it ripen faster.
don’t forget beverages
While you’re in the rhythm of prepping, you might as well prep drinks! I like to make a large pot or two of coffee for the fridge – hello iced coffees – as well as several carafes of tea. I also make fresh juice (but only 2 days ahead of time MAX – same goes for smoothies). Another awesome idea is infused water. My favorite combos are lemons and basil; cucumber and mint.
prep something fun
Make meal prep a more fun occasion by adding in one fun element. Often times for me, this is a decadent vegan dessert creation I’ve made in bulk. Other times, I prep fun bowls for my morning breakfast (which is always fruit salad or smoothie bowl). This week I prepped coconut bowls, a favorite around here, second only to pineapple bowls.
These coconut bowls were used for the most delicious batch of Mint Spirulina Chia Pudding Bowls this morning. They were totally worth the extra time and power tools needed on Sunday prep.
Can we talk plastic wrap real quick? Raise your hands if you despise meal prep because plastic wrap is just too dang frustrating to use? I feel you. But I have incredible news – Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap is a total game changer.
I type now with a wound on my wrist from yesterday’s encounter with the teeth of a plastic wrap box. I’m not even kidding; I wish I was. Those things are dangerous! The Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap has a built-in slide cutter that ensures a clean cut, every time, and no more battle wounds! It also features a starter edge™ that makes it easy to find the start of the roll.
Another perk of Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap is each roll is automatically held in place to keep it from jumping out of the package during dispensing. Can I get an AMEN? How many times can a plastic roll jump out of a regular box in one afternoon of meal prepping? 3? 5? 17 times? This roll stays put the entire time, cutting smoothly and giving your food a long-lasting seal for freshness.
Who’s ready to meal prep? Find the new Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap near you with the Reynolds Kitchens store locator here!
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