I have found that food prepping may take some time but during the overall week it actually saves time. I do not prepare all meals at the weekend and I will explain why...
The idea of prepping for a whole week for me is not ideal because I like freshly prepared meals and salads. Therefore I still like to prep my meals but try to do this on a regular/ daily basis. It actually makes me feel a bit sick knowing that people prepare their meals (including meat, which I do not eat!) at the weekend for the whole week. Stinking, rotten meat mixed with your carbs a week old - no thanks. I actually rarely eat cooked vegetables during the day so cooking vegetables other than carbs does not make sense to me but I understand that some people do have their personal preferences!
So in general preparation is on a day -to-day basis with some weekly shopping to make sure you have enough fruits and vegetables to sustain your lifestyle.
You may need to prep up to 3 - 5 meals a day to take with you so you need to be able to guide yourself when it comes to quantities and allocate enough for other meals also. The maximum meals I would take with me would be 3 with some snacks. Remember that keeping hydrated is the number one priority and always keep the blood sugar level. I often use coconut water to help with my hydration (and I love Chi at the moment)
Food that lasts all week that you can prep:
Sweet Potato (I skinned and diced the sweet potato on the weekend and had enough for several meals throughout the week).
Snacks (You can obviously buy prepackaged snacks; but making your own granola snack is a good way to monitor the ingredients. Alternatively you can add nuts; seeds and dried fruits and bag them in small quantities so that you can munch on the go!)
Food that you can prep the night before:
- Cooking the sweet potato can be done the night before for lunchs/meals especially if it is diced as it is easier to pack into small containers and it is not messy or smelly.
- Quinoa is a great option, a complete protein tastes good cold and mixes great with salads. It also lasts without going mushy.
- Salad can be prepared the night before especially if it is a bell pepper or celery/ carrot/ cucumber/ spinach/ beansprouts but some of the salad items may not store well such as diced onions or avocado which tends to brown quickly when exposed to air, so if you are taking salad as a lunch be selective with your salad items, adding additional ones in the morning won't take up too much time if the majority of the salad is prepped.
- Rice. I would not really want to eat cold rice but if you have the right container it may store and keep especially brown rice - this generally tastes okay even when cold, but personally it is not my favourite.
The main points in food prepping for me are:
Keep it as fresh as possible but preparing as much as you can whilst no letting veg go stale or soggy.
Food that needs to be prepped on the day:
I say this because in my experience even cutting the fruit the night before (unless it is melon or citrus fruits) exposes the fruit to air and this can cause a brown tinge to the fruit and spoil it quicker which can make it go mouldy in your lunch bag. Best sticking to preparing fruit in the morning.
Overall vegan food prepping is easy and very vibrant and colourful. It is so great opening your freshly prepped meal when done correctly. It is completely satiating and satisfying knowing you did it yourself and didn't spend several pounds at the local canteen paying for their version of what you wanted. You know exactly what went into the food; how it was kept; where it was kept and this is key for clean living.
The overall pros for prepping
- Saves time
- Cost effective
- Less Stress
- You know what went in it
- Controls the quantities
- Fresh satisfying meals regularly
- Keeps blood sugar level
- Eating healthier on a regular basis
- No excuses to get off the health food as you are always prepared!
- Bright, Colourful fresh foods cheer you up!
Here's a great video I found on a new container specifically for salads: