One thing that helps me eat well all week long is meal prepping vegetables. This can look different from week to week and I mix and match the vegetables but the general idea stays the same. Starchy and non starchy vegetables are roasted and stored for the week. It’s my favorite meal perp strategy.
When people ask how I've changed my diet and am able to consistently stick to eating fresh, whole food, the answer is always the same: "by meal prepping". It's the deciding factor between making it long term and giving up after one or two weeks. I've made the decision to change my lifestyle and diet well over 6 months ago and never looked back.
The truth is, you have to be organized and plan accordingly without becoming neurotic about it. It doesn't have to be overwhelming or extensive but it does have to be consistent. The trap many people fall into is simply saying that it's too hard and they don't know where to start or what to do. So here are some very basic guides on how to meal prep vegetables.
On Sundays I normally set aside an hour or two and plan for the week ahead. I don't have to organize every detail of every meal but I take care of some basics so I'm covered when the "I don't know what to eat" thought pops into my head.
Tips meal prepping vegetables
You can basically use any vegetables you like for your individual meal prep. Also, if you've been sitting on some vegetables in your crisper and they're a tad soft, they'll be perfect roasted and you won't have any food waste. Win-win!
Cut all vegetables the same size
Cutting all the vegetables the same size will ensure that they roast evenly. If you have varying sizes you may end up with undercooked vegetables and that’s not much of a problem for broccoli, zucchini and cauliflower, but root vegetables generally taste best when fully roasted.
Best vegetables for meal prep
This may seem obvious but pairing non starchy vegetables with other non starchy vegetables will yield the best flavor combination and you can assemble and mix and match later on.
Bell peppers of your choice, onion, summer squash and zucchini. Roast in about 15-20 minutes tossing once half way.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower together. Roast for about 20-25 minutes tossing once half way.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets. Roast for about 25-30 minutes tossing once half way.
Use an oil that can stand high heat
When roasting vegetables at higher heat, a good option is avocado oil and make sure you use enough as some vegetables in particular require a lot in order to not dry out. If you’re roasting the vegetables at temperatures under 400 degrees, using extra virgin olive oil is perfectly fine too.
Season your vegetables
Salt and pepper are a must when it comes to roasting vegetables but feel free to play around with other herbs and spices too. Some good options are cumin, paprika, thyme, oregano, coriander or any other herbs and spices you like.
How to use meal prep vegetables
Once vegetables are roasted you can use them in a variety of ways. You can drizzle them with additional avocado or olive oil and reheat them, toss them with balsamic vinegar, use them as sides to any meat, add them to any salad. The possibilities are endless.
The vegetables will last up to a week stroked in the refrigerator.
how to meal prep vegetables
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 25-30 minutes
makes: 10 servings
1 large summer squash or 2 medium cut into 1" cubes
1 large zucchini or 2 medium cut into 1" cubes
2 red bell peppers cut into 1" cubes
1 head broccoli, florets only
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
4-6 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp of salt divided
3/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the largest roasting sheet with parchment paper or foil. Add zucchini, summer squash and peppers with 2 tbsp avocado oil, 1/2 salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss to combine. (Feel free to use more salt and pepper if you'd like). Roast for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Toss once halfway.
On a separate sheet, line with parchment paper or foil and add broccoli, 1-2 tbsp avocado or olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 pepper. Massage the oil into broccoli and roast for 10-15 minutes or longer if you wish the broccoli to be softer. Toss once half way.
And on the last roasting sheet, line with parchment paper or foil and add sweet potatoes and butternut squash, toss with oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and roast for 30 minutes, tossing once halfway.
*Tip - place the heartiest vegetables on the lowest oven rack. In this case the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.