Meal Prepping Vegetables: A Complete Guide

meal prepping vegetables

With our busy schedules, it’s tough to find the time to prepare and cook vegetables every day. But here’s a solution that I guarantee will save you time: meal prepping vegetables in advance.

In this guide, I’m spilling all my best kept secrets for meal prepping vegetables, so you can whip up delicious and nutritious meals every single day, without slaving away in the kitchen.

So whether you’re a meal prepping pro or just starting out, get ready to discover some new ways to simplify your veggie meal prep.

What Are the Benefits of Meal Prepping Vegetables?

But it’s not just the quantity of vegetables that we’re eating that matters – it’s also the diversity of vegetables we include in our diet.

Different vegetables contain a unique set of health-promoting nutrients, which is why it’s so important to vary the types of vegetables we are eating.

Meal prepping vegetables in advance can help you not only eat more of them, but also vary the types of vegetables you are reaching for week on week, which will help you nourish your body with all the nutrients you need to thrive.

As well as the health benefits of eating more veg, meal prepping vegetables in advance can also:

  • Free up time
  • Save you money
  • Reduce food waste
  • Lower stress

💡 Interested in learning more about the important nutrients found in vegetables? Read my blog 5 reasons why plants are so nutritious.

Getting Started with Meal Prepping Vegetables

Before you get started, it’s helpful to take a moment to assess your dietary needs and goals. Keeping in mind your current vegetable intake, write a list of the vegetables you love and those you wish to incorporate more into your diet – and remember to include a variety of colours!

Then plan your meals for the week ahead, ensuring to include a variety of vegetables from both lists. Remember: creating a well-thought-out meal plan is the foundation of successful vegetable meal prep. Once your meal plan is made, write a shopping list of all the vegetables and ingredients you’ll need.

After you’ve got all your ingredients, make sure to set aside some time for meal prepping the vegetables. Consider a convenient day or time during the week when you can wash, peel, and chop them all in advance. I often find that Sundays are a good time to stick on a podcast and get it done, but do whatever works for your schedule.

This initial effort will feel like a lot at the time, but it will significantly cut down your cooking time during busy weekdays, making it a breeze to whip up some nutritious vegetable-rich meals and snacks when you want them.

meal prepping vegetables meal plan

5 Ways to Meal Prep Vegetables

There are a few ways you can meal prep vegetables in advance to save time during the week:

1. Wash, Peel and Chop in Advance:

Having pre-cut veggies on hand makes it easier to throw together quick salads, stir-fries or roasted vegetable tray bakes throughout the week.

2. Pre-Cook or Blanch Certain Vegetables

For vegetables that hold up well in the fridge after being cooked (such as root veg), try pre-cooking them to give you more time during the week. Roasting, steaming, baking and air-frying are all great pre-cook options.

For vegetables that benefit from blanching before roasting (like roast potatoes), consider doing this prior to storage, to speed up the cooking process when you need them. Simply blanch them in boiling water briefly before plunging them into an ice bath, then store them in the fridge or freezer so they’re ready for roasting at a later time.

3. Use Your Freezer

If you’ve prepped more vegetables than you can use within a few days, consider putting them in the freezer, as this can extend their shelf life by a few months.

4. Utilise Kitchen Gadgets

Make the most of any kitchen gadgets you have like food processors or mandolins to speed up the chopping and slicing process. These appliances can save you time and effort during meal prep.

5. Create Meal Prep Packs

For quick and easy meal assembly, consider preparing individual meal prep packs with a combination of prepped vegetables, proteins, and grains. This way, you’ll have grab-and-go options ready for busy days.

Best Vegetables to Meal Prep in Advance

Some vegetables are better than others for meal prep. The main thing you need to consider is whether they will stay crisp and fresh for several days in the fridge after being washed and prepped.

Here are some of my top picks for the best vegetables to meal prep ahead of time:

1. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a meal prepper’s dream. Their vibrant colours and crisp texture make them versatile in a variety of dishes, from salads to stir-fries. To extend their shelf life, slice or dice them ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. They’ll add a burst of flavour and a variety of nutrients any meals – or you can eat them as a snack with houmous!

2. Broccoli and Cauliflower:

These cruciferous vegetables are great for meal prep. Simply wash and chop them into florets, then blanch them briefly in boiling water before plunging them into an ice bath. This process preserves their vibrant colour and locks in their nutrients. Store them in portion-sized containers for easy access.

The benefit of pre-cooking these vegetables is that they will reduce your cooking time in half and can be incorporated into any meal when you need them. They are also great roasted with oil and spices!

3. Root Vegetables (e.g. carrots, parsnips and beetroot)

These sturdy vegetables are perfect for prepping in advance. Wash, peel, and cut them into sticks, chunks or slices so that they are ready to cook at a moment’s notice. These vegetables also store well once cooked (e.g. roasted or steamed).

Top tip: If you like crunchy carrot sticks for a nutritious snack, try storing them in water in the fridge to maintain their crispness.

4. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be a nightmare to chop if you’re in a rush. That’s why meal prepping it in advance is such a lifesaver! Chop into chunks and store it in a container so it’s ready to be roasted or steamed. It’s the perfect vegetable to add to any dish for a boost of fibre and nutrients. I like adding it to mashed potato but you can also blend it into sauces or add it to a vegetable traybake.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Roasting or steaming sweet potatoes in advance can save you valuable time during busy days. Store them in an airtight container and reheat as needed. I love adding these to buddha bowls or alongside a protein source for a quick and easy meal.

How Should I Store Meal Prepped Vegetables?

Once you’ve prepped your vegetables, it’s important to store them correctly so that they stay fresh for at least a few days.

Here are some of my top tips for storing your meal-prepped vegetables:

  • Invest in airtight storage containers that can help keep your prepped veggies fresh (these are my favourite glass containers for meal prep).
  • Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, should be stored in airtight containers or sealed bags with a paper towel to prevent wilting.
  • Periodically rearrange your fridge contents to ensure proper airflow and avoid cold spots. This can help maintain the quality of your meal-prepped vegetables.

Keeping your fridge freezer organised can also help you get the most out of your meal prep. Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Label and Date Containers

To keep track of how long your prepped vegetables have been stored, label each container with its contents and the date it was prepped. This will help you prioritise which items to use first. You can use good old sticky labels and a pen, or you can use a label maker (like this one).

2. Use the First-In-First-Out Method

When storing prepped vegetables in the fridge, practice the FIFO method (First-In-First-Out). Place newer batches of prepped vegetables behind older ones, ensuring you use the older ones first to minimise food waste.

Building Balanced and Nutritious Meals with Pre-Prepped Vegetables

With meal prepped vegetables at your disposal, creating balanced and nutritious meals becomes a more enjoyable cooking experience.

Meal prepping vegetables in advance makes it a lot easier to include a variety of vegetables of different colours and types. Aim for a mix of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables, and colourful bell peppers to get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Alongside these vegetables, you can incorporate proteins (such as fish, legumes, lean meats or tofu), and whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa or wholewheat pasta) to create a delicious balanced meal.

Here are a variety of ways you can use meal prepped vegetables:

Salad Bowls:

Combine a colourful mix of prepped leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and shredded carrots to create vibrant salad bowls. Top with lean protein sources like tofu, legumes, fish or grilled chicken for a satisfying and filling meal. Drizzle with your favourite dressing or a light vinaigrette for added flavour.

Stir-Fries:

Stir-fries are perfect for utilising prepped vegetables. Toss broccoli florets, snap peas, pak choi, and sliced mushrooms in a wok with a savoury sauce of your choice. Add cooked quinoa or brown rice for a balanced and nutritious stir-fry.

Buddha Bowls:

Assemble Buddha bowls by layering prepped vegetables, such as roasted sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and massaged kale, with a protein source like tempeh or grilled salmon. Include a serving of quinoa or brown rice and finish with a dollop of avocado or hummus.

Veggie-Packed Omelettes:

A vegetable-packed omelette is an easy breakfast or brunch option. Simply sauté some spinach with pre-chopped bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes before adding whisked eggs. Fold the omelette over, and garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of cheese.

One-Pan Roasts:

Simplify your dinner routine with one-pan roasted meals. Toss pre-prepped vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, and carrots in olive oil with your favourite seasonings. Then add legumes, tofu, chicken or salmon fillets to the same pan and roast. Combine with a portion of microwavable grains for a balanced and effortless meal.

Veggie Wraps:

Wrap up your favourite prepped vegetables in a wholegrain tortilla, along with a source of healthy fats (like houmous or avocado) and protein (like marinated tofu or cooked meats) for a quick, portable meal.

Vegetable-Based Soups:

Prepare hearty soups by combining prepped vegetables with vegetable broth and your choice of protein. Try lentil and vegetable soup, or a classic minestrone, for a delicious and nourishing option.

Pasta Dishes:

Mix your regular pasta with pre-prepped courgette noodles as an easy way to up your veg intake. Pair them with marinara sauce, sautéed mushrooms, olives and cherry tomatoes for a delicious vegetable-rich pasta dish.

Essentials For Meal Prepping Vegetables

Investing in a few good quality meal prep essentials can make such a difference to your weekly meal prep.

Good Quality Knives

If you’ve ever had a set of poor-quality knives, you’ll know just how time-consuming it is to chop vegetables with a blunt knife – especially butternut squash and sweet potato! Investing in some GOOD quality knives (and keeping them nice and sharp) is a must for meal prepping a bulk of vegetables with ease.

Clear Glass Containers

For storing pre-prepped vegetables in the fridge, use clear containers to easily identify the contents and avoid forgotten items that might go to waste. I recently switched to these glass containers and they have been brilliant:

Igluu Meal Prep Glass Containers

My favourite food containers for meal-prepping vegetables (or any food). I love that you can easily put them in the microwave for reheating and that they don't discolour like the plastic ones. A definite must-buy for meal prep.

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Label Maker

Labelling your meal prep containers might seem like overkill – but how many times have you put something in your fridge or freezer, forgotten about it and then wondered how long it had been in there later on? Adding a label to indicate what’s in the container and when it was made can help you keep track of what you’ve got in your fridge/freezer and when things need eating up.

Dymo S0883990 LetraTag Handheld Label Maker

This label maker can be used for anything. Labelling jars, boxes, folders, you name it. But I love it for keeping track of the food going in and out of my fridge/freezer!

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Meal Prepping Vegetables FAQ’s

Is it safe to eat prepped vegetables throughout the week?

Yes, when properly stored, prepped vegetables can be safely consumed throughout the week. Store them in airtight containers or resealable bags in the fridge to maintain freshness and minimise bacterial growth. Just keep in mind that most prepped vegetables stored in the fridge will need to be eaten within 3-5 days to ensure optimal taste and quality.

Can I freeze prepped vegetables for longer storage?

Absolutely! Freezing prepped vegetables is an excellent way to extend their shelf life. Just remember to label and date the freezer packs to keep track of their storage time. It’s up to you whether you let them thaw or cook them from frozen – but cooking from frozen is often easier. Blanching certain vegetables (like potatoes intended for roasting) might help them cook better from frozen too.

Can I meal prep all types of vegetables?

Yes, you can meal prep almost any vegetable! However, some vegetables, like lettuce or cucumbers, are more delicate and may not hold up well for several days. For those, consider prepping the ingredients separately and assembling salads or wraps closer to mealtime.

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