An advance food prep session on the weekend can save hours of your time (and awful headaches!) on weekdays. Just imagine this scene: You know what you will be cooking (thanks to excellent meal planning) and you have collected the necessary groceries. Then, you pre-chopped, mixed, baked and cooked the components of the week’s meals. If you are super duper organized, you may even have entire meals ready to eat when you come home most days of the week. Wouldn’t that be nice? I probably do not need to say more about the benefits of advance prep. Most health-conscious home cooks I know are fully aware of them and those who don’t all wish they did it regularly. This sample vegan meal prep session plan can get you started (again).

Your weekend time is precious. Instead of being in the kitchen for the whole afternoon, you could be visiting a friend who’s just had a baby or use that gift certificate you received as a birthday present to get some well-deserved “me-time”. I say: you can do both! You have to make the most of the short period of time you can dedicate to the kitchen so that you can then run free for the rest of the day. And also relax on weeknights when you reap the benefits of the weekend’s preparation. But to achieve this you need to make sure that the prep session is limited to two hours and that you do not have to clean up a huge mess after you are done.

The Smart Prep Session Blueprint guides you through the steps to prepare some staples of the vegan kitchen where whole, plant-based foods shine: cooked beans and grains, spreads, baked items, roasted vegetables and tofu, and the spices, sauces and dressings you’ll need in the next week or two. It can be adapted to suit the specific items you wish to prepare. If you have only an hour, you can use the blueprint to decide what items can be prepared in the time you have, based on your top priorities for the week.

Do you need a plan blueprint customized to your family’s specific needs and preferences? Do not hesitate to ask for help.

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Sample vegan meal prep session blueprint