There are several plant-based eating plans available that claim to help you flourish on a vegan diet, but the majority of these resources fail to take your entire nutritional requirements and macronutrient balance into account in order to support your fitness objectives.
Here is a guide to high protein vegan meal prep that will help you achieve your objectives and adopt the right attitude while controlling your health and wellness.
Starting a Vegan Diet
Establishing your individual health and fitness goals is the first step in starting any new diet. Your daily calorie requirements and the basis of your meal selections will be determined by your nutrition objective. Most people’s motivations for altering their eating patterns fall into one of the following groups:
- Reduce weight
- Build muscle
- Health or Performance Improvement
However, they could not be the only factors that lead someone to choose a plant-based diet.
Being connected to sustainability makes veganism distinctive. Even if these less health-focused objectives constitute the majority of your motivations for being vegan, it is still crucial to consider how your dietary choices affect your general wellbeing.
The first step is to decide what you hope to gain from your meals. From there, you may start tailoring your food to meet your specific nutritional requirements. The next stage is to fine-tune your menu with excellent selections and an ideal macro balance once you have a solid understanding of the basic concepts of vegan diet for your nutritional goal.
Why do we need Protein?
Since it makes up 17% of the body’s weight and is the primary building block of our muscles, skin, internal organs, particularly the heart and brain, as well as our eyes, hair, and nails, protein is a crucial component of our diet. Protein is also necessary for our immune system to produce the antibodies it needs to combat infections, as well as for the regulation of blood sugar, fat metabolism, and energy production.
In fact, 22 naturally occurring amino acids, which are referred to as the building blocks of protein, can be derived from protein-rich diets. Nine of these are classified as essential amino acids, meaning our bodies cannot produce them and we must obtain them from diet. A variety of vitamins and minerals, including zinc and B vitamins, are also found in protein in reasonable amounts. To give the best nutrition possible while being a vegan, it’s crucial to have all of these amino acids in the diet.
What Food are the Best for Vegans?
Due to the exclusion of substantial food groups like meat, dairy, and shellfish, a vegan diet can feel quite restrictive. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a ton of excellent options and variety; there are a ton of options for veggies, fruits, vegan meat substitutes, and plant-based ingredients!
The best vegan diet is one that includes lots of wholesome foods that you like to consume. There is a low likelihood that you will adhere to and maintain consistency if the cuisine is not enjoyable. Choose more whole foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes, as well as minimally processed meat and dairy substitutes, to keep your nutrition on track.
How to Obtain Adequate Protein
acquiring enough protein and acquiring complete proteins are the two main challenges while eating a vegan diet.
It is completely feasible to consume enough protein on a plant-based diet to meet your minimum daily needs, but it can be more difficult to do so than it would be if you were eating a meat-based diet. Therefore, your best hope for a high protein vegan diet is to discover which foods pack the most protein per calorie (protein density) and serving size.
Higher protein consumption is linked to improved body composition, decreased food cravings, and lower hunger. Not to mention that it’s crucial for developing and keeping up practically every cell in your body, including your priceless lean muscle mass!
While “incomplete” proteins are missing one or more necessary amino acids, “complete” proteins have sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids you require.
While some may contend that your body absorbs and uses complete proteins more effectively, research indicates that eating a meal that contains all of your essential amino acids throughout the day may be sufficient. In other words, try to include a wide variety of foods in your diet and, whenever possible, aim for more complete proteins.
You’re now prepared to put everything together and carry out your vegan dinner preparation, which may seem much simpler than it actually is. Meal preparation done well requires commitment and some planning. But don’t worry; you’re in good hands! Planning and/or cooking part or all of your meals in advance is meal prep. Additionally, it is entirely adaptable to your demands and level of expertise.
Live by these Plant-Based Meal Prep Advice
With these meal preparation suggestions, you may improve your plant-based diet while saving time, money, and having a lot more enjoyable overall experience.
1. Be Accurate:
Purchase a food scale or a reliable set of measuring spoons and cups for yourself. This will ensure that you are staying inside your calorie and macro objectives and save you a lot of headaches when it comes to precisely splitting up your servings. Remember that preparing your own food is only half the battle; quantity is also important.
2. Be Productive:
Let’s face it, dinner preparation can be rather time- and energy-consuming. Making things a bit simpler on yourself can help you save time and maintain your sanity.
Some first choices are:
- cooking basic components in batches (proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, sauces)
- using prepared foods whenever possible. You might buy bulk cooked vegetables at your local grocery store or look in the prepared foods area for ingredients in cans and freezers. You can also visit your neighborhood farmer’s market to buy fresh greens and browse for food sellers serving dishes with regional influences. A vegan avocado toast can be made using a fresh loaf of bread.
- Make additional one-pot meals including breakfast hash, vegan chili, and pot roast.
- Purchase large quantities of low-calorie, high-nutrition items like kale, spinach, zucchini noodles, cabbage, green beans, snap peas, broccoli, and asparagus that don’t need to be cooked.
3. Add Variation:
It might become really dull to eat the same dish every day. Make your menu more interesting by using a variety of seasonings and toppings.
The flavor of the same food can be changed just by switching the spice blend. Improve your game each week by becoming an expert in healthy seasonings and sauces!
This is a quick tip to switch up your menu even when cooking plain vegetables in large quantities.
For instance, if you enjoy sweet potatoes when they are roasted whole, add any of the following sauces for a taste boost, turning your side dish of sweet potatoes into an entirely new dish:
- Buffalo Sauce
- Pistachio Pesto
- Parsley and Walnut Tabbouleh
- Romesco Sauce
Try out these flavor combinations of herbs and spices for a calorie-free addition to roasted sweet potatoes or root vegetables:
- Basil with thyme Sweet potatoes should be roasted with fresh thyme and rosemary that has been chopped.
- Dolma & Dill Sweet potatoes should be roasted with dill and freshly minced garlic.
- Sweet potatoes roasted in curry sauce can be made by dipping the potatoes in a curry powder mixture before roasting.
- Roast your sweet potatoes with your preferred taco spice for some southwestern flair. Southwestern Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes
You get the idea—there are countless taste combinations to experiment with, and some of them are as easy as cooking some grains and veggies with some freshly minced herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, chervil, or basil.
4. Develop a plan for rewarming:
Not all foods reheat well; for example, a delicious, crunchy corn cake you prepared may end up being a soggy, mushy mess when you take it out for lunch. Pick recipes that you are confident will reheat nicely, and store sauces and fresh ingredients (such as herbs) in separate containers until ready to serve. Your food will continue to taste fresh as a result.
This is one reason that prepping meals in bulk is slightly preferable to following recipes: prepared components will keep for longer and reheat more effectively.
Additionally, consider how you will reheat your meals, as this might enhance or detract from a dish’s flavor that has been made in advance:
- Microwave: dependable and speedy, however depending on the dish, you can always end up with a dinner that has a mushy texture.
- By filling the basket with foil to stop the food from falling through the grate, you can simply reheat an entire dinner in an air fryer, which is wonderful for giving proteins and vegetables a crisp and crispy texture. Even while it could take a while for the machine to heat up, the final meal is always worth the wait.
- Make sure you have an oven-safe container on hand because it will take a little longer for the oven or toaster oven to heat up. You can always choose to broil the food to heat it from the top, but be careful not to let it get too hot or it will burn!
For reheating a stir-fry or really any vegan one-pot food, the stovetop is a terrific option.
5. Invest in New Meal Prep Containers:
Choose a sturdy meal prep container that will travel well, is heat safe, and easy to clean instead of just dumping your meal into a bag; you’ll wind up with a mess of a lunch. And if you require it, get ones with distinct compartments to preserve your supper.
Make sure the containers you select are ones you enjoy using. Eating is psychological in that we are less likely to enjoy it if the meal doesn’t appear appetizing.
High Protein Vegan Meal Prep
Whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, plant foods may be a fantastic source of protein and a significant assist in reducing animal proteins in the diet.
Please take note that all of the below gram weights refer to the edible, prepared meal.
Quinoa is a seed that comes in white, red, black, or mixed types. One hundred grams of cooked quinoa can supply about 4 grams of protein, and because it is a complete protein that contains all 22 amino acids, it is a wonderful substitute for starchy grains like rice and couscous.
All beans, peas, and lentils are considered pulses since they are edible seeds that grow in pods. These offer lots of variety and are a terrific source of low-fat, inexpensive plant protein.
Various pulses consist of:
- Garden peas – around 7g per 100g
- Lentils including puy, green, and red: around 8-9g of protein per 100g
- Chickpeas, including hummus: 7g of protein per 100g
- Beans, including black-eyed, pinto, butter, cannellini, soya, edamame and kidney: between 7-10g protein per 100g
- Baked beans do count as a good source of protein but keep an eye on the salt content: 5g per 100g.
Just 100g of tofu, also known as bean curd, has 8g of protein. Tofu is a soy product. Tofu is particularly adaptable because it can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as baking, stir-frying, and adding it to soups to give them a creamier and greater protein content.
4. Seeds and nuts
Again, nuts and seeds are quite adaptable and can be eaten as a snack or with meals to ensure that there is enough protein and energy throughout the day. The following are some of the top nuts and seed proteins:
- Walnuts – around 3g of protein for every three whole walnuts
- Pumpkin seeds – 4g per tablespoon
- Pistachios – just over 1g of protein over 10 pistachios
- Cashew nuts – 3g per 10 cashew nuts
- Brazil nuts – 4g per six Brazil nuts
- Hemp seeds – 5g per heaped tablespoon
- Ground linseed – 3g per heaped tablespoon
- Almonds – 3g of protein for every six almonds
Another convenient source of protein to be on the lookout for is peanut butter and nut butters, but make sure to check the label to make sure they’re made entirely of nuts and don’t have any additional oils, salt, or sweeteners. Smooth peanut butter has slightly over 3g of protein per heaping tablespoon.
5. Chia Seeds
Almost 2g of protein may be found in just one tablespoon of chia seeds, which can be used to salads, soups, breakfast dishes, or even as a protein-packed dessert. They also make a great egg substitute in vegan cookery because they expand when soaked in water for around 20 minutes because they are hydrophilic.
Actually a seed, buckwheat has a high protein and fiber content, with roughly 5g of protein in 100g. It is also gluten-free. With its rising popularity and availability in flakes, groats, pasta, and flours, buckwheat is a great supplement to a vegan diet.
Oats are a complex carbohydrate that releases energy slowly, but they are also a fantastic source of protein because they have 10g per 100g.
8. Brown and Wild Rice
While still mostly carbohydrates, brown and wild rice also include a respectable amount of protein—4g per 100g—and are excellent sources of fiber.
9. Other grains.
You can also use the following grains to increase your protein intake:
- Amaranth – over 4g of protein per 100g
- Sorghum – over 8g of protein per 100g
- Spelt – over 5g of protein per 100g
- Teff – over 4g of protein per 100g
The astonishing quantity of protein found in vegetables includes:
- Cauliflower – 1.5g per 80g serving
- Jerusalem artichokes – over 1g of protein per 80g
- Kale – almost 2g per 80g serving
- Spinach – 2g per 80g serving
- Sweetcorn – over 2g for every three heaped tablespoons
- Vegetables also offer a surprising amount of protein including:
- Asparagus – almost 2g of protein per six spears
- Avocado – over 1g per ½ an avocado
- Broccoli – almost 3g per 80g broccoli
- Brussels sprouts – around 2g per 80g Brussels sprouts
Frequently Asked Questions
How much protein should I eat each day—140g?
Therefore, you would need to consume a lot of meat (12 ounces or more) per day in addition to other high-protein foods like eggs, whey protein, and possibly dairy (yogurt, milk), in order to reach 140 grams.
How do I prepare meals in bulk?
To save time in the kitchen and provide more servings, use batch cooking. This includes substantial one-pot meals like chili, lasagna, pilafs, and other foods that may be prepared in big quantities and distributed over the course of the week. Cook comparable items all at once and alter the flavour with various sauces and seasonings.
Can you Meal-Prep with rice?
The short answer is: Yes, meal-prepping rice is safe. Regarding guaranteeing food safety, there are several things to be said. Rice meal preparation is a terrific method to organize your upcoming week and cut down on meal preparation time.
Why clean rice before consuming it?
The starchy dust that coats the rice is produced by the friction, and it is this starch that causes the grains of rice to cluster together and occasionally give the completed pot a sticky texture. The extra starch is removed from rice by rinsing or washing it, which makes the cooked grains more separated.