Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Plant Based Meal Prep 101

Vegan Lifestyle

Are you living a plant-based lifestyle? Vegan? Vegetarian? I don't really care about the labels, but here's what I've learned: there's really not THAT much out there on Google and YouTube regarding meal prep when it comes to us herbivores. I was actually pretty shocked about it. So could you do me a favor for the info? :) Would you mind sharing this blog and/or telling a veggie lovin friend where they can find information on living a plant based lifestyle? If you know of an awesome blog, Pinterest, Youtube channel, I'd love to hear it!! :) 

I know from experience that it's TOUGH being in this alone. That's what I'm here for--accountability, support, and some guidance. I'm NOT a nutritionist, but I use meal plans from programs that are made by nutritionists. I do modify them to fit my lifestyle. 

I've been a vegetarian for over a decade, and now I've transitioned into a 90% plant-based lifestyle. Watch the video above to learn what that entails :)

I recently did a 21 Day Vegan Cleanse called the Ultimate Reset. I did not find much information regarding how to do it as a vegan, and I felt stuck. I lost over 12 pounds on it, and quite a few inches and learned a TON about myself. It took more willpower than the most intense workout program. 

It opened my eyes to this amazing community of plant-based foodies who probably would like some support as well! Therefore, this is for YOU!!

Veggie Meal Prep 101:

1. Portion Control:

Vegan Meal Prep

The first step in mass meal prep is understanding WHY it's essential to your health/fitness success! Meal Prep doesn't have to be a pain! Making food in bulk cuts down on SO much time during the week (and $$). No dishes, chopping veggies (we all know how long that takes, lol!), unwanted snacking, getting takeout...it eliminates excuses!
I usually only make a few meals since I have a lot of salads and shakes during the week, but I went ALL in today and it took about 2 1/2 hours. Make it fun with some music and cook with your significant other, or a friend! :)

Obviously the next step is having the right tools. I utilize the portion control containers from the program 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. They are already measured out, divided in colors for each food group, and take the guess work out for you!

Here are what the containers stand for:

Green: Veggies
Purple: Fruits
Red: Proteins
Yellow: Carbs
Blue: Healthy Fats
Orange: Seeds & Dressings

**If you would like help purchasing these, shoot me an email at laurenmchugh14@gmail.com and I can coach you along the way**

2. Recipes and Grocery Shopping

Fixate Recipes

The most time consuming part of meal prep (besides the actual prep & cooking) is planning out your meals. I have a clean eating grocery list  that I usually stick to when it comes to basic groceries (minus the dairy now). However, I decided to change it up this time around and utilize my new cookbook specifically for those portion control containers. It's called Fixate by the creator of the 21 Day Fix. I made Tofu Stuffed Bell Peppers for 4 dinners. In that blog, I have exactly what each container stands for and the groceries involved. It's VERY low budget :)

For everything else, this is what I used for the week, and I'll include my extras at the end:

Greens: For my veggies of the week, I actually got 2 containers of pre-chopped stir-fry veggies from Whole Foods! You can get these in the produce section right by all the mixed greens! That's also where I usually buy my zoodles :) They were about 12$ total since I got 2, but they were so convenient--definitely cuts down on prep time!!

grocery haul

They had red onions, squash, zucchini, and red bell pepper in them. I also got the ingredients for my stuffed pepper recipe, but that was super simple with black beans, firm tofu, and onion :)

Purples: Usually I just stick to 2 fruits for the entire week since I only have 2 servings a day. My go-to is grapes for a snack or with lunch, and I'll always have a frozen bag of bananas split in half in my freezer to put in my Shakeology every morning (superfood vegan meal replacement). This week I had bananas, and I also got some delicious apples and pears!

Plant based meal prep

Seriously these apples from Whole Foods are AMAZING!!

Reds: This is always the category we dread people asking us about, am I right vegan friends?! WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?! Hm, I don't know. Where do you get your vitamins? I'm not going to go into the vegan protein myth. But know that I am very healthy and happy. I do not question anyone's moral stance on eating meat (ok sometimes I do), so why would you ask me why I only eat fruits and vegetables and NOT eat meat? **Moving on...

Vegan Protein

My Reds are usually as follows: Shakeology every single morning, tofu in my stuffed peppers, vegan protein bars, veggie burgers (with the sweet potatoes or with the quinoa), Almond Milk, Nut butters, and beans. This is excluding most of the protein filled veggies I have with every meal and my leafy greens that I have for lunch. Not shown: I buy prepackaged salads from Whole Foods. Some of them come with tofu which is awesome! :)

Yellows: I'm a recovering Carbaholic. There, I said it! This is the HARDEST thing for me to resist. My sweet cravings are completely gone thanks to the wonders of Shakeology, but I love me some burritos and pizza! #Guilty
I try to stay away from eating bread during the week, but if I do it'll be 1 slice of Ezekiel. I buy it frozen at Whole Foods. On my grocery list you also can see that I have whole grain pitas, pasta, and bread on there. However, it's too tempting for me to have that in the house so I don't buy it. If I do crave pasta, I make zoodles with roasted cauliflower--SO GOOD!

Healthy Carbs

My yellows for this week were mainly quinoa and sweet potatoes, which I portioned out in the containers for each meal. I also had some black beans left from my bell pepper recipe, so I used that as a carb/protein for one of my days :) *I do want to point out that the P90X bars and Quest Bars have Whey in them, and they are NOT vegan. 2 of my peppers also have melted cheese on them. I live with my bf who I also make some food for. I'm also experimenting with a 90% plant-based lifestyle, so I change it up a bit. I'm not perfect, but I ALWAYS feel better and healthier when I'm full vegan.*

Blues: I always have raw almonds for my blue container each day, and avocado on my salad. You can also have hummus here, coconut milk, and if you're a vegetarian, cheese fits into this category. 

Oranges: This is how I will measure out my salad dressing when I make it in bulk, or you can use it for pumpkin seeds to top your salad! Also: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (which I used in my veggie stir fry for the week), shredded coconut (sometimes I sprinkle this on top of my morning shake), and dressings. 

vegan recipe

3. Do the Work!

So now that you have everything you need: groceries, containers, recipes planned, time to do the work! I usually preheat my oven to 425 and boil water in the meantime to make my quinoa while I prep my sweet potatoes. I usually bake them because they taste SO much better. I usually measure out olive oil (depends on how much you're making), put some cayenne and Mrs. Dash seasoning in the bowl, with minced garlic, then chop my sweet potatoes like you can see in the pictures above. I will dip the potatoes in the bowl with seasonings and oil, then lay them out on a baking sheet with foil. I usually cook them about 25 minutes, then flip them for about 20 more minutes. During this time I will cook about 2 cups of quinoa, which yields a LOT!!

21 Day Fix Meal Prep

I'll measure out the carbs and put them in the containers I have laid out on a flat surface. After my carbs are made, I take my pre-chopped veggies and stir fry them. I don't have one recipe that I'll follow, but I added my usual spices, some sesame seeds, and a little bit of teriyaki sauce (I got the one with the least amount of sodium and sugar at Whole Foods--it adds up so be careful). Put the veggies in your containers. Again, I use my green container to scoop the proper portion. If you do decide to make a recipe, you can do that first. I had to prep the quinoa and stir fry the tofu before I could bake the Tofu Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe so I did that before prepping everything else! :)

Extras not shown:
My fruits: frozen bananas, apples, and pears
Snacks: vegan protein bars 
Prepackaged Salads from Whole Foods (about $5 each, I only get 2-3)
Almond Milk for my morning shake
Mixed Greens for more salads for lunches
Raw Spinach for my Shake
Unsalted Almond Butter for my shake

All in all, have fun with it!! I always recommend meal prepping with a friend, roommate, or significant other! You can have an assembly line to prep your veggies and grains, find yummy recipes together, and split the cost of groceries!

Vegan Meal Prep 101

I hope this was helpful! If you have ANY questions about portion control, the containers, my recipes, brands I used, meal prep in general, or a plant strong diet, feel free to email me at laurenmchugh14@gmail.com or message me on Facebook: Facebook.com/LaurenMcHughFitness

Thank you so much for stopping by!! <3 
I'm thinking of putting together a Facebook accountability group for anyone with a plant-based lifestyle. No strings whatsoever, just a plant strong community full of people wanting recipes, support, and encouragement!

If you'd like to join, message me on Facebook and we can get to know each other! :)

Stay Plant Strong my friends!! Peace out <3


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Foodie Loves Fitness is an awesome blog for vegetarian recipes. :)

  3. Hi, sorry if I missed it but do you put them in the fridge or in the freezer and how long do they usually last for?


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