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11 budget-friendly healthy meal prep ideas

meal prep

When you don’t prep your meals in advance, it can be all so easy to opt for a takeaway or a meal deal. So if you want to save some extra cash (and time) we’d recommend batch cooking so you’re all prepped with healthy meals for the rest of the week. Not sure where to start?

We can help with that. Discover eleven budget-friendly meal prep ideas plus some top tips to help get you going.

In this article, we’ll run through

  • If meal prep is healthy and how healthy it is
  • Which foods are best for meal prepping
  • How long you can meal prep for
  • 11 plant-based meal prep ideas
  • Top tips for meal prepping

11 healthy meal prep ideas 

Ready to get some inspiration? Discover vegan meal ideas that are perfect for a batch cooking session.

1. Vegan burger nourish bowl

1. Vegan burger nourish bowl

There’s nothing better than a plant-based nourish bowl to see you through the week. And this one contains a variety of healthy ingredients to provide you with lots of goodness in one serving.

One thing we will say, is to skip on the avocado when you’re batch cooking and add it to your bowl on the day instead to make sure that it stays tasty and fresh.

2. Smoky tofu fajitas with spicy tomato salad

2. Smoky tofu fajitas with spicy tomato salad

You can’t go wrong with mexican food when it comes to cooking on the cheap. Super flavoursome and full of veggies, you won’t get bored of these smoky tofu fajitas. Again, just skip the avocado and sour cream, and add it to your meal on the day so that you get the best flavours and texture.

3. Vegan mushroom, leek and parsnip pie

3. Vegan mushroom, leek and parsnip pie

Whether you’re in for a chilly week or you just fancy something comforting, this vegan mushroom leek and parsnip pie is just the thing. Ideal for batch cooking, just add some greens like broccoli or peas if you fancy some fresh veg on the side. 

4. Vegan noodles

4. Vegan noodles

We all know that stir fry is a go-to option if you’re not up to cooking something extravagant or longwinded! But did you know that they’re great for meal prepping too? This is actually a two-in-one recipe with two different noodle options for you to choose from!

5. 3 bean chilli

5. 3 bean chilli

Warming, comforting and easy to cook, chilli is another one of our cheap meal ideas to add to your batch cooking list. And this one is vegan and packed with three types of bean to provide you with a boost of plant-based protein at mealtime.

6. Caramelised onion dahl

6. Caramelised onion dahl

Talking of comforting, this caramelised onion dahl is a winner if you’re after something to tantalise your tastebuds all week long. Not only does it taste delicious, but it’s also one of the best types of recipes for batch cooking as it doesn’t require any extra work on the day!

7. Spiced aubergine and black bean tray bake

7. Spiced aubergine and black bean tray bake

Looking for an interesting yet easy one pot bake to add to your vegan meal ideas? This spiced aubergine and black bean tray bake offers just that, plus it contains lots of healthy veggies to help keep you going throughout the day.

8. Warm green vegetable quinoa salad

8. Warm green vegetable quinoa salad

For something a little fresher, why not opt for a salad? Perfect for cheap healthy meals throughout the week, this warm green vegetable quinoa salad is a must-try for your weekly meal plan.

9. Butternut squash Moroccan salad with couscous and chickpeas

9. Butternut squash Moroccan salad with couscous and chickpeas

On the salad hype? Make it Moroccan with this butternut squash, chickpea and couscous combination! Super quick and easy – and ideal for cooking on the cheap!

10. Vegan paella with mixed mushrooms

10. Vegan paella with mixed mushrooms

Feeling the holiday vibes? Perfect for warmer days when you’re after a hearty meal, try making this simple vegan paella with mixed mushrooms when it comes to batch cooking day.

11. Portuguese peri peri rice with slow roasted peppers

11. Portuguese peri peri rice with slow roasted peppers

Like paella, but with a twist, this Portuguese peri peri rice is pretty ideal for putting a pep in your step at mealtimes. Definitely one to include in your batch cooking ideas list. 

Top tips for meal prepping

New to meal prepping? Don’t worry. Although it can seem a tad intimidating to begin with, once you get the hang of it you’ll be saving yourself time, money and stress during the week.

So to help get you started, we’ve listed some of our top tips for batch cooking, below:

1

Take it easy

When you’re just starting out, try not to get too ahead of yourself. Instead, stick to one or two meals that you’d like to try batch cooking and gradually build it up.

2

Keep them balanced

When you’re prepping easy meals, it’s best to keep them as nutritionally balanced as possible, think lots of veggies, a source of protein and some unrefined carbohydrates then you’re pretty much good to go.

3

Get planning

Batch cooking is easiest when you know what meals you want to cook in advance, so pick your favourites from our list, note down the ingredients for the shop, then dedicate a day to get all your cooking done.

4

Stock up on containers

Whether you want nice glass ones or some simple plastic tubs, you don’t want to get to the end of meal prepping only to realise that you don’t have enough vessels to pop your grub in.

5

Sort portion sizes in advance

If you’re using big tubs to store your meals in, it can be tempting to load them right up to the top, instead check that you’re not overloading them by using some scales to dish them out evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is meal prep for a week healthy?

As long as you’re prepping nutritionally balanced meals – sure! Although it goes without saying, if you’re having the same lunch or dinner for a week, it’s worth upping the variety in your other meals to ensure you’re getting a good mix of nutrients.

 

How healthy is meal prepping?

Essentially, meal prepping is as healthy as you make it. If you load your lunches with a range of veggies, healthy fats, a source of carbohydrates and some lean protein, you’ll be right on track for a healthy eating week. But do try to keep most of your other meals equally healthy to reap the most benefits.

 

What foods are good for meal prep?

The best kind of foods for batch cooking your meals are the ones that don’t stay fresh after a day (we’re looking at you, avocados) or food that doesn’t freeze well.

Thankfully though, most foods are on the table. Think vegetable packed stews, curries, stir-frys – that sort of thing! These types of meals are usually super easy to throw in one pot before dividing them up into Tupperware boxes. But if you’re after something a little more exciting, we’ve listed a wide range of simple, yet healthy meal prep ideas for you to try.

 

Can you meal prep for 5 days?

Absolutely, just be sure to use foods that won’t go off too quickly. And as long as you store them in the correct way, whether in the fridge or freezer, you can’t go far wrong!

 

The final say

Now you’re on the road to being a meal prepping pro, what are you waiting for? Whip out your pen and pad and start planning your batch cooking sessions today.

Last updated: 8 February 2022

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

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