What Is High Protein Vegan Meal Prep?
Meal prep is simply preparing foods ahead of time. More specifically, high protein vegan meal prep is prepping meals ahead of time that contain no animal products but have plenty of plant-based protein sources.
As a registered dietitian, the easiest way for me to get adequate protein is to make weekly meal plans and meal prep high-protein recipes.
Benefits of High Protein Vegan Meal Prep
High protein vegan meal prep is useful for a number of reasons.
- Meet Protein Needs: Protein foods usually take the most planning and effort to prepare (in any diet). Therefore, prepped protein-rich food makes sure you're getting enough protein every day.
- Eat Healthy: It keeps you from ordering unhealthy take out after a busy day (we've all been there!). You can include lots of veggies and healthy plant foods that are often not included in convenience food. Meal prepped food is also less processed and lower in sodium and preservatives.
- Save Money: Homemade meals are cheaper than frozen dinners and take out.
- Save Time: When prepped food is ready at all times in your fridge and freezer, meal times are quicker and easier -- all you have to do is heat up the food!
- Less Food Waste: Planning out meals ahead of time gives you an exact list of what groceries to buy so you never find those unused rotting veggies in the back of your fridge again. Goodbye food waste!
In a nutshell, high protein vegan meal prep can help you to be healthier, save money, save time, reduce food waste, and save A LOT of mental energy (which we all need these days).
The Different Ways to Meal Prep
There are several different ways to meal prep depending on personal preference and unique situation.
Types of approaches:
- Family Meals: In this approach, full meals are prepped (often multiple meals at a time with batch cooking) and put in the fridge or freezer to be pulled out and cooked for the whole family. The quintessential example of this is prepped lasagna that just has to be thrown in the oven at dinner time.
- Individual Meals: This approach is similar to family meals, except the meals are fully cooked and separated out into individual portions. You know the multiple aisles of frozen dinners at the grocery store that are typically heavily processed and high in sodium? Forget those. Now you can make your own healthier versions at home for a fraction of the cost. Bodybuilding meal prep usually takes this approach as well.
- Ingredients Prep: In this approach, individual ingredients are prepped (i.e. whole grains, rice, beans, veggies, sauces, pasta, healthy fats, etc.) and stored in individual containers so that you can mix and match foods to make different meals throughout the week.
My Personal Favorite Way to Meal Prep
My personal favorite of these approaches is individual meals. I make family meals and ingredient prep sometimes too, but I like the flexibility and ease of having different individual meals in the freezer at all times.
It's useful when each family member wants something different or when you have to quickly grab just one portion to bring to work for lunch. All you have to do is put the frozen meal in the fridge at work or let it thaw until lunch and then nuke it in the microwave.
I also took this approach when I was preparing postpartum meals and loved it. Most people don't want to bake an entire sheet of lasagna when they're hungry between breastfeeding sessions.
I highly recommend using glass containers for storing meal prepped foods instead of plastic as chemicals from plastic can leach into our food. And I definitely would not use plastic containers to heat food in the microwave.
Although it's perfectly fine to meal prep typical body-building style with things like plain brown rice, a protein source, olive oil, and veggies (like brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, or broccoli), it can get pretty repetitive and boring. A great way to keep things fun is to prep some easy vegan recipes that include the nutritious food mentioned but with a lot more flavor (which you'll find in this list of high-protein recipes).
How Long Can Prepped Food Last in the Fridge and Freezer?
Use your best judgement or read the instructions on each of these recipes to know whether it will work well frozen or if you should keep it in the fridge.
Foods differ on the amount of time they will last. But as a general rule, I keep foods in the fridge for up to 3-5 days and foods in the freezer for up to 1-3 months.
I also like to wait to add in ingredients like avocado and leafy greens until I'm about to eat so they stay fresh. You can also keep breads, fresh veggies, and dressings separate until serving to avoid soggy veggies.
High Protein Vegan Meal Prep Ideas
Without further ado, let's get into the vegan high protein meals!
Note: Keep in mind that I don't recommend giving protein powder to kids. So for the recipes that use protein powders, reserve those for the adults.
If protein powder isn't your thing or if you plan to give them to kids, these protein overnight oats by The Throbbing Eggplant are the perfect option for a healthy breakfast. The protein comes from simple ingredients like hemp seeds, peanut butter, soy milk, and flax seeds.
These overnight oats by Haute & Healthy Living are high in protein and easy to make. There are six different flavor variations with a base of oats, protein powder, and chia seeds – Apple Pie, Chocolate, Pecan Pie, Cranberry, Pina Colada, and Cookie Dough. You'll get plenty of protein and you’ll never get bored.
These vegan omelets by Strength and Sunshine have just as much protein as the egg version. The protein comes from chickpea flour and nutritional yeast.
These super-fluffy vegan protein waffles by Savor the Spoonful have no banana, eggs, oil, or dairy.
These protein pancakes by The All Natural Vegan are made without gluten, oil, or refined sugar.
These vegan blueberry muffins by Joyful Dumplings are flavorful and higher in protein than regular muffins.
These healthy high-protein crepes by Being Nutritious are eggless, vegan, and gluten-free.
Lunch & Dinner
This delicious and spicy buffalo "chicken" sandwich by Bites With Blair is satisfying, high in protein, and easy to make. You can meal prep the patties ahead of time and assemble when you're ready to eat!
These vegan meatballs by Strength and Sunshine can be made ahead of time and added to pasta or sandwiches for an easy high protein vegan meal. These are also gluten-free and free of the top allergens.
This tofu stir fry by Dietitian Debbie is full of flavor and packed with veggies and protein. The peanut sauce is delicious with a touch of spiciness.
This baked ziti with vegan ricotta (made from sunflower seeds) by Watch Learn Eat only takes a little over 30 minutes. Make sure to use chickpea or lentil pasta as written for the extra protein.
This vegan ham by Urban Farmie is a homemade meat-free alternative to classic ham.
If you’re looking for a higher-calorie recipe for your vegan meal prep, this tofu banh mi sandwich by The Daily Dish is a great option.
This air-fryer tofu buddha bowl by Naturallie Plant-Based is packed with flavor from the Asian crispy tofu and the creamy sesame ginger dressing.
This vegan chicken by Cinnamon Snail is tender, juicy, and homemade. They also have a fried version here.
These vegan pesto lasagna rolls by Bites With Blair include all the best flavors of traditional lasagna rolls with a creamy and flavorful pesto filling. The 15 grams of protein per serving come from extra firm tofu. This dish is full flavor with a nice boost of protein.
This black soybean spaghetti recipe by Melissa Traub is vegan, gluten-free, and packed with tons of protein.
These spicy tofu burrito bowls by Easy Chickpeasy are full of flavor and healthy plant-based foods.
This smoky tempeh sandwich by Naturallie Plant-Based is make with tempeh, avocado, vegan gouda cheese, and romaine lettuce.
This homemade vegan hamburger helper by Jamil Ghar can be made in just 30 minutes. Just be sure to use the chickpea pasta as written for the most protein.
These vegan drumsticks by Urban Farmie are the perfect homemade and plant-based alternative to chicken drumsticks.
This sticky tofu by Wholefood Soulfood Kitchen is crispy, sweet, and savory. Great served by itself or over rice.
This vegan curry by Flavours Treat is packed with veggies and herbs and only takes 20 minutes to make. It’s also gluten-free and pairs well with rice or any flatbread.
This vegan ravioli by Veggie World Recipes is high protein, comforting, and completely homemade (including the pasta!)
This vegan ramen by Happy Kitchen is comforting, easy to make, and packed with veggies and protein.
This lentil Bolognese by Hurry The Food Up is a delicious recipe for anyone who wants the flavor of Italian Bolognese without the animal proteins.
This Szechuan tofu by The Daily Dish is tangy, spicy, and sweet. It’s made without gluten, nuts, or refined sugar.
This tempeh bowl by Dietitian Debbie is vegan, gluten-free, and made in just 30 minutes.
Snacks & Desserts
These tofu nuggets from Bites With Blair are packed with protein, made in only 30 minutes, and can be eaten as a snack or small meal.
These chickpea veggie patties by Flavours Treat are vegan, nut-free, and protein-rich from the chickpeas. Great as a side dish or quick snack for the whole family.
This protein fudge by The All Natural Vegan is made without gluten, oil, or refined sugar.
This 5-minute protein mug cake by Joyful Dumplings is a protein-rich and indulgent dessert that takes minimal time and cleanup.
This cookies and cream protein shake by Fit As A Mama Bear is thick, creamy, and indulgent.
As you can see, eating high protein vegan meals does not need to be boring! There are tons of options and cuisines to choose from to keep things exciting on a plant-based diet.
I highly encourage everyone to try out meal prepping. It's convenient, it helps you meet your protein needs, it helps reduce food waste, and it's also fun to try out new recipes! It's also healthier and less expensive than grocery store meals or take out.
Check out these vegan high protein snacks if you're looking for easy snacks to go along with your prepped meals. And if you've tried any of these recipes and loved them, let us know below!