Create your own meal prep bowls for easy and healthy lunches all week long!
Want to get into meal prepping but don’t know where to start? Look no further, we’ve got the perfect recipe and guidelines for building the best plant-based meal prep bowls. Great for vegan and plant-based diets, or for anyone on any diet that just wants to boost your plant intake.
How to Start Meal Prepping
Meal prepping is a very important activity to help you reach your health goals. However, it doesn’t always have to look the same. Sometimes you won’t have time to put together intricate recipes at the beginning of the week. Or, if you’re like me, you get tired of having the same meal and flavors everyday. Well, here you’ll find some quick and easy ways to get many different meal combinations and cuisines prepared for the week!
Get All the Food Groups
To make the perfect meal prep bowls, it’s crucial to make sure you are including different components. When you pull from different food groups, it ensures that your meal is packed with many diverse and beneficial nutrients. My strategy is to mix and match, so I’ll prep 1-2 of each of these food groups (except for fruits and veggies- those I make sure I have a good variety of) and mix and match!
When choosing your grain, try to go for whole grains because they are higher in fiber and beneficial nutrients that will keep you fuller and more satisfied throughout the day. These include grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, or farro. You can always skip the grain if you’re on a low carb or keto diet, just keep in mind that you may need to increase the amount of your other ingredients to make sure you are satisfied!
Protein is a very important part of these bowls (and a plant-based diet in general!). Foods like beans, lentils, mushrooms, edamame, and tofu are great options. You can even grab some store bought plant-based meats or falafel to add to your bowl.
Of course, if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, feel free to add any animal-based proteins you’d like!
Fruit & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables will bring lots of color and many beneficial nutrients to your bowl. Generally, I try to include a half to full cup in my bowl and add at least 3 different kinds of fruits or vegetables.
I always include some healthy fats in my bowl as well, because they are so great at keeping our bodies energized and full throughout the day. Go for omega-3 fat sources such as nuts, seeds, walnuts, or vegetable oils, all of which are great for skin, heart, and brain health!
Sauces & Dressings
Personally, I find that the sauce or dressing that I put on my bowl really makes or breaks the meal. It’s a great way to switch up your flavors and cuisines, as well as get some different textures and nutrients in there. Try some of our best Plant-Based and Oil-Free Salad Dressings to top off your meal prep bowls. Pro tip: Always wait until serving to top your bowl with sauces or dressing to make sure your fruit or veggies don’t get soggy (unless you like it that way!)
Bringing the Flavors Together
Now that you’ve got all your components down, it’s time to mix and match your plant-based meal prep bowls. At the start of the week, I usually prep a couple different types of each food group above and put them together in separate containers. For the recipe below, we’ve kept it pretty standard when it comes to flavor, but please feel free to mix it up and customize your recipe to your liking. Below are some suggestions of food that usually fall into different flavors or cuisines. Keep in mind, pretty much any vegetables will work with all types of bowls, so those can go into whichever type you go for.
- Mexican: rice, quinoa, black or pinto beans, salsa, Mexican seasoning, cilantro, lime, Classic Guacamole
- Asian: rice, soba noodles, edamame, white or red beans, soy sauce, sesame, seaweed, peanuts, cashews, Orange Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing
- Italian: whole wheat pasta, kidney or white beans, Marinara Sauce, pine nuts, garlic, shallots, basil, oregano, parsley, olive oil, Vegan and Nut-Free Garlic Basil Pesto
- Mediterranean: Couscous, pasta, orzo, white beans, chickpeas, feta, oregano, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, olives, falafel, walnuts, avocado, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Southern: rice, corn, potato, sweet potato, leafy greens, green beans, okra, black eyed peas, BBQ seasoning or Skinny Ms. BBQ sauce
- Summer: lighter vegetables, leafy greens, fruits (strawberries, blueberries, apple slices), sliced almonds, pecans, millet, quinoa, citrus fruit, Orange Vinaigrette with Fresh Dill, avocado
- Winter: Roasted root vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, farro, creamy sauces, walnuts, chestnuts
Meal Prep Storage
When meal prepping, the rule of thumb is that leftovers last for up to 4 days. So, that means if you prep on Sunday, your meals will last until Thursday. Feel free to keep your prepared ingredients in their own containers, and add them to your to-go container the night before or morning of. You can also portion out all four servings into individual containers at the start of the week so they’re ready to grab and go whenever you need them!
Plant-Based Meal Prep Bowls
- 3 cups quinoa cooked
- 15 ounces chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups leafy salad greens
- 2 cups mixed vegetables (Any veggies work here, or you can add fruit!)
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/2 cup Agave Mustard Salad Dressing or storebought dressing of choice
- Combine all ingredients (except dressing) in a large mixing bowl and divide into 4 individual containers OR divide each of the ingredients up evenly and add to your individual containers (as pictured).
- Top with dressing when serving.
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