How to Vegan Meal Prep With Darlene Taylor
Learn how to vegan meal prep with Darlene Taylor, fitness competitor, personal trainer, and 6 Pack ambassador.
When it comes to bikini fitness competitions as a vegan, meal prep is an absolute must. Not only does it save you time in cooking, but you also don't have to worry about meat going bad. Before I became a vegan competitor, buying meat, eggs, and fish was getting too pricey. Not only was it expensive, but my digestion was also getting worse. Since going vegan, my digestion has improved, I've saved money, and cooking has become optional.
I enjoy the fact that you can throw food together without having to cook it, and it's been truly helpful with my digestive issues. It can also help with weight loss, but this is true only if done correctly. You must be careful with balancing how to meal prep vegan the same way you would balance a diet that included meat.
I currently eat 1500-1700 cal/day at carbs 30-40%, protein 50-40%, and fats 20%, even during prep. When closer to contest prep, I come closer to 1300-1500 cals at carbs 25-30%, protein 50-60%, and fat 15-20%.
As a vegan, you always hear the same question: where do you get your protein? There are many ways to get protein for your vegan meal prep, but I have selected certain foods as my main protein sources.
Main Protein Sources for Vegan Meal Prep:
- Tempeh - 1/4 package, 10 g protein, 8g carbs, 5g fiber, 6g fat
- Tofu - 3 oz, 8g protein, 1g carbs, 3g fat
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) - 1/4 cup, 12g protein, 7g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 fat
- Black Bean Spaghetti Noodles - 2 oz., 25g protein, 17g carbs, 12 g fiber
- Mung Bean Fettuccine Noodles - same as above
- Yeast Flakes (for topping) - 1 tbsp., 4g protein, 2.5g carbs, 2g fiber, .5 fat
- Hemp Seeds (for topping) - 1 tbsp., 3.3 g protein, 1g carbs, 1 fiber, 4.3 fat
- Protein Powder by Growing Naturals Rice Protein- 1 scoop, 24 g protein, 1 g carbs, 1 g fiber
Protein Alternatives Explained:
Black Bean & Mung Bean Noodles:
These are much healthier alternatives to regular pasta, made of black beans and water and mung beans and water respectively. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, organic, and vegan.
Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger. Most are prepared with other grains, such as barley. Tempeh is also very high in protein and calcium, as well as beneficial isoflavones, but tastes nothing like tofu. Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor.
Tofu is made from soybeans, water, and a coagulant, or curdling agent. It is low-calorie, and high in protein, iron, and calcium. Tofu can be made from non-GMO sourced organic soy beans.
TVP stands for textured vegetable protein, which is high in fiber and protein. This meat substitute is made from soy flour and available in flavored and unflavored varieties. It is widely available and affordable for those on a budget.
Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite among vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you're vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your food regularly.
General Tips For How to Meal Prep:
- C lean out your pantry. I f you can see it, you're more likely to eat it. Get rid of any unhealthy snacks that might tempt you throughout the week.
- Create a game plan for your meals before you leave the house to go grocery shopping. If you don't want to take the time to plan it for yourself, you can always hire someone like me to do the planning for you. When you have a plan, you are more likely to stick with it.
- Make a list of everything you need for the week (especially if you have recipes) and grocery shop ahead of time.
- Batch cooking saves you time during the week. You will most likely repeat certain ingredients, so i f you have to cook it once, might as well double up! Best things to batch cook: sweet potatoes, brown rice, black bean spaghetti/mung bean fettuccini noodles, veggies, tofu if you like it baked.
- Get a 6 Pack Bag. When it comes to how to meal prep, this accessory is a must. You can prep your meals all you want, but you need a bag that will not only keep your meals cold, but also organized so that it won't drip/leak out to your clothes or other items in your bag. From duffle bags to totes to backpacks to briefcases, you can find a meal management system that fits your lifestyle.
Sunday Meal Prep Tips:
Sunday is here, and it's time to get down and dirty with your vegan meal prep. The first step is to set aside one to two hours in the morning or afternoon. Some of the following steps will vary depending on your food choices.
- Prep veggies for snacks and meals. Slice carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, or any of your favorite veggies.
- Prep individual smoothie bags for each morning. Load Ziploc bags with the cut fruit and greens needed for a smoothie. These can be stored in the freezer and taken out individually just before you blend your smoothie.
- Prep a snack for the week. Each week make a batch of snacks that you can munch on all week long such as kale chips and protein bars.
- Cook 2 cups of brown rice or quinoa.
- Cook black bean spaghetti noodles/mung bean fettuccine noodles.
- Cook sweet potatoes.
- Get a food scale to measure your meals.
- Portion your meals for the week. I measure all my protein, carbs, veggies, and fat to store in my 6 Pack containers.
Now that you're all ready for the week, keep in mind two major points:
- Every night before bed prep your meals for the following day so it's easy to grab and go.
- Before you head out for the day, load the day's meals into your 6 Pack bag, add the icepack, make sure your utensils are there, and off you go! Eat every 2.5-3 hours to keep your fitness and nutrition on track.
Typical Vegan Meal Prep Daily Breakdown:
Meal 1: 1/4 c oatmeal, 1 scoop growing naturals, 1 tbsp. peanut butter
Meal 2: 1/5 tempeh, 3 oz tofu, 1 tbs hemp seeds, 1 cup veggies
Meal 3: 1/4c TVP, 3 oz. tofu, 1 cup vegetables
Meal 4: Pre workout: scoop of Growing Naturals Rice Protein, 1 cup veggies, 3 oz. sweet potatoes
Meal 5: Post workout: 2 oz. black bean spaghetti, 1 cup veggies, 2 tbsp. yeast flakes
Favorite Vegan Meal Prep Snack:
1 zucchini, thinly sliced the long way
2 tbsp. Hummus
3 oz. tofu, cut in slices
variety of colored peppers in slices
seasonings of choice
optional: 1 tbsp. yeast flakes
1) Spread hummus on zucchini strips.
2) On each end of the zucchini place a slice of tofu, pepper, sprouts, and other ingredients. You can customize with your own favorite veggies too!
3) Roll it up and sprinkle some seasonings on. I like cayenne pepper and basil, with optional yeast flakes.
4) Enjoy. It's #Darlicious!
Those are my secrets to vegan meal prep for competitors and anyone on-the-go. For more ideas on how to travel fit as a vegan competitor, follow @darlenehealth!
This guest post has been brought to us by Darlene Taylor http://darlenehealth.com/musik, 6 Pack Ambassador, CEO/CFO of Darlene Health, and vegan meal prep master. She loves to help people discover how to treat their bodies well by combining the proper exercise with eating healthy.
All images courtesy of Darlene Taylor , except for the tempeh, tofu, and yeast flakes.