Vegetarians may choose to forgo meat for a variety of reasons--but that doesn't necessarily mean they're looking to forgo healthy nutrition, too! Preparing fresh, delicious, good-for-you vegetarian dishes can seem a little overwhelming at first glance, but it can actually be a lot easier--and faster--than you may think.
Why Meal Prep is Important-Especially for Vegetarians
Meal prep (that is, dedicating a specific block of time to preparing a few days' worth of meals) is probably one of the most important steps you can take in improving your nutrition--and your life.
Here's why we love it:
- It makes healthy choices easier to make, especially when you're in a crunch for time and more likely to reach for the convenient but less-than-healthy food option.
- It helps you visualize what you're eating to ensure that you're preparing a balanced diet for yourself and your family (this is especially important for vegetarians, who need to make sure that they're getting enough protein).
- It saves you time and money by preventing food waste and allowing you to get several things done at once--avoiding the need for lots of little trips to the kitchen or grocery store.
4 Ways To Master Your Vegetarian Meal Prep
1. Wash and Chop Up Most (Maybe Not All) of Your Favorite Raw Veggies.
Some people may tell you that chopping up and refrigerating a bunch of raw vegetables or fruits can be wasteful, since they may go off more quickly once they've been cut up and exposed to oxygen in the air (due to a process known as oxidation). But while everyone should be eating tons of produce anyway, vegetarians are probably way more likely to their prepared fruits and veggies before they go off, simply because produce tends to account for a lot of their caloric intake.
A simple solution? Prepare some, but not all, of your favorite raw veggies on meal prep day, and wash and cut more as you need it. This way, you'll always have some good grab-and-go choices (like cucumber or bell pepper slices) while also preserving the fresh produce you've bought from the store.
You May Also Like: 2 Healthy Recipes: Reversing the Green Smoothie Back to Yum
2. Let Time do the Work for You by Making Overnight Oats.
Who doesn't love a meal prep that doesn't require you to be standing there in the kitchen? Check out this guide for an easy how-to on Overnight Oats. You'll quickly be out of excuses for skipping breakfast when you've got a delicious portable meal ready to go in the morning--with little effort on your part.
3. Use the Stove Top and Oven Simultaneously.
It's easy to roast some sweet potatoes or veggies in the oven while also cooking rice or lentils on the stove. You can even try multitasking by baking some vegetarian egg muffins while also mixing up a smoothie in your food processor. Efficiency is king--and delicious!
4. Test Out a Crock Pot or Instant Pot.
Pressure cookers and slow cookers are another way to make time work for you--simply prepare, set, and let it be. Check out these vegetarian crock pot recipes and vegetarian instant pot recipes for inspiration.
Looking for more ideas? Check out this website or consult with your favorite vegetarian resource!