Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of people worldwide eat a vegetarian diet.
As the global population learns more about the health benefits of plant-based eating and more plant-based alternatives become available on grocery store shelves, the interest in vegetarianism has increased significantly.
Are you thinking about adding more meatless meals to your routine? If you aren’t sure what to prepare, this guide can help.
Below, you’ll find some ideas to shake up your diet and improve your meal-prepping practice.
Benefits of Eating More Vegetarian Meals
Whether you decide to go full vegetarian or just eat a few plant-based meals per week, several benefits come with reducing your meat intake.
The following are some of the most commonly cited reasons for eating more vegetarian meals:
- Improve heart health: Vegetarian diets are linked to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a reduced risk of heart disease
- Combat climate change: Meat-based diets increase carbon emissions 2.5 times more than vegetarian diets
- Boost cognitive health: Vegetarian diets are associated with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduced cancer risk: Vegetarian diets help you increase your intake of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and manage your weight, both of which are linked to reduced cancer risk
In addition to the health benefits listed above, eating more vegetarian meals is also a fun way to switch up your meal prep plans and incorporate some different foods into your diet.
Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas
You might be interested in preparing more vegetarian meals, but you might also need help figuring out where to start. The following are some simple and tasty vegetarian meal prep ideas worth trying:
For many people, a salad is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of vegetarian eating, and for a good reason. Salads are versatile and make the perfect lunch meal prep — you don’t even have to worry about heating them up.
Try making your salad in a jar to ensure it stays fresh and crispy in the fridge. Salad jars separate delicate ingredients like greens from heavier items, preventing them from wilting.
When prepping a salad jar, add ingredients in this order:
- Dressing on the bottom (or put it in a separate container)
- Hard, chopped vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, etc.)
- Beans, legumes, or grains (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, rice, etc.)
- Cheese or additional proteins (such as tofu)
- Soft vegetables and fruits (tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
When you’re ready to eat, pour the ingredients from the jar into a bowl, stir them up with a fork, and enjoy!
Buddha bowls are also highly versatile and easy to customize. These plant-based bowls combine whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, then top everything off with a tasty sauce.
To make your Buddha bowls, layer your ingredients in a meal prep container as follows:
- Grains (rice, quinoa, polenta, etc.)
- Cooked or raw vegetables (use as many as you want)
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.)
- Crunchy toppings (nuts, seeds, etc.)
Store the sauce for your Buddha bowls in a separate container, then drizzle it on when you’re ready to eat. You can use your favorite salad dressing, pre-made pesto sauce, or whip up a quick peanut sauce.
Egg Fried Rice
Egg fried rice is a quick recipe that works well for lunch or dinner. It’s perfect for using up leftover rice in the fridge, too.
To make egg fried rice, add your pre-cooked rice to a frying pan with your vegetables of choice (carrots, peas, and bell peppers are all common options) and four large eggs. Cook the ingredients in vegetable oil or olive oil, soy sauce, and a pinch of five-spice powder.
If you want to feel extra fancy, sprinkle some chopped scallions on top!
Note: Even though they don’t eat meat, most vegetarians do eat eggs and dairy products like Greek yogurt and cheese. If you don’t want to add eggs to this dish, you can eliminate them and add a different protein source, like tofu.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find meat-free products in the grocery store. You can even buy plant-based meat substitutes for ground beef, sausage, and chicken nuggets.
If you have access to plant-based ground “beef,” you can quickly whip up some plant-based pasta during your next meal prepping session.
First, cook the “beef” according to the directions on the package, then mix in a jar of pasta sauce. Prepare the pasta noodles (whole grain wheat noodles, lentil noodles, chickpea noodles, etc.), then add the sauce on top. Finish with some cheese (or nutritional yeast if you prefer a plant-based alternative).
Bonus Meal Prep Tips
It doesn’t matter if you exclusively meal prep vegetarian meals or mix them in with your regular meat-based lunches and dinners. These tips will help you establish a habit of meal prepping and set you up for long-term healthy eating:
- Start small: You don’t have to prepare an entire week of meals on Sunday afternoon. Start by prepping enough for a couple of days while you build a new routine.
- Buy basics in bulk: Stock your pantry with vegetarian meal prep steps like plant-based pasta, canned black beans, rice, quinoa, and lentils. Having these items on hand makes your meal prep much more manageable and helps you save money.
- Spice it up: Vegetarian meals don’t have to be bland. Add your favorite spices to increase the flavor and make them more enjoyable.
- Use glass meal prep containers: They’re more durable and last longer than plastic containers. They’re also more eco-friendly.
Employ the latest technology to help you improve your health and achieve your meal prep goals, too. Apps like BetterYou allow you to set specific goals and deliver regular reminders to stay on track.
Create Healthier Eating Habits Today
Are you ready to add more plant-based recipes to your diet? These vegetarian meal prep ideas are simple, delicious, and easy to implement into your routine.
Do you need extra support as you form a habit of regularly prepping healthy vegetarian meals? Try BetterYou.
Contact us today to learn more.