The vegan meal prep ideas in this post will ensure that you start your day with good nutrition—even when life gets busy! Whether you eat breakfast on-the-go or work from home, you’ll find options that are nutritious, satisfying, and convenient.
I’ve spent nearly three years working on a book about vegan meal prep.
Now that I’m nearing the publication stage of that process, I can tell you that meal prep is the only reason that I eat home cooked meals consistently.
I love cooking so much that I’ve devoted a big part of my professional life to it. But I’m no longer at a place where cooking feels pleasurable at the end of a long day.
On busy weeknights, cooking feels like a burden. On top of this, I’m no good at making food decisions when I’m hungry and tired, which is often the case by 7 or 8pm, when I wrap up with my nutrition clients.
Under those conditions, I’m likely to have a hard time deciding what I want to eat. I’ll get easily frustrated if a recipe doesn’t go smoothly. Or I’ll reach for a frozen meal.
For the record, I love store-bought, frozen vegan meals and meal components. And I often encourage clients to rely on them when things are busy, stressful, or both.
But I also love hearty, varied, home-cooked vegan food—even if I don’t love to cook it à la minute. Meal prep is the habit that allows me to eat it, day in and day out, no matter busy I am.
The Vegan Week
Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.
Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.
I’ve wanted to share more about my meal prep routine here on the blog for a long time. Now that I’m not busy with The Vegan Week, I can actually devote some time and attention to some posts that share more about this process, which is such an important part of my self-care.
I didn’t expect to start with meal prep breakfast ideas. But in many ways, breakfast feels like the perfect place to start.
The value of a balanced breakfast
I’ve always been a breakfast person.
Yet I know from working with clients that many people are not breakfast people. They’re not hungry in the morning or they’re too rushed with early day obligations to prioritize eating.
I understand that feeling. I have the ability to eat breakfast at home nowadays. When I was completing my clinical internship, however, it was much more difficult to prioritize a morning meal.
Even now, when I have early day meetings or client sessions, I sometimes struggle to eat something nutritious as the day begins.
For all of the practical challenges that surround breakfast, there is plenty of evidence in support of a nutrient-dense morning meal.
Kids and teens to eat breakfast, rather than skipping it, seem to be more alert and perform more strongly in school.
Breakfast consumption has been linked in observational studies to improved cardiac health [1, 2], blood pressure control , and insulin sensitivity/prevention of Type 2 Diabetes [4, 5].
It’s not entirely clear from these studies whether it’s breakfast itself that makes the difference, or another pattern or habit that people who eat breakfast also tend to adhere to.
To me, it makes good, intuitive sense that a morning meal would contribute to a healthy metabolic rate and more balanced eating through the day. Most folks tend to have a harder time with balanced eating when they go long periods of time without food, forcing their bodies into pronounced hunger.
More importantly, a skipped breakfast is a missed opportunity for good nutrition.
Many breakfast foods are rich in fiber (think: oats, whole grain cereals, whole grain bread), protein (think: tofu scramble, peanut butter, vegan breakfast meats), and phytonutrients (think: fruits and vegetables).
My clients tend to be very nutrition-savvy. Yet many of them report inadequate protein intake when we go over their diets together for the first time.
I’m a big believer in a protein-rich breakfast for energy, blood sugar control, and satiety. I routinely encourage clients to get a 20 gram bolus of protein at breakfast when possible, or a minimum of 10-15 grams when it’s not.
Eating a protein-packed breakfast will help you to meet overall protein needs for the day. Adequate protein and energy intake in is associated with strong immunity , maintenance of muscle mass over time , wound healing and recovery after injuries or surgeries , and enhanced satiety after meals [9, 10].
In short, protein is important! In pulling together the meal prep breakfast ideas below, I’ve tried to prioritize this critical nutrient.
Meal prep breakfast essentials
So, what else do I prioritize when I’m coming up with meal prep breakfast ideas? Here’s a short list.
I eat what I like in the morning. This means that not every single one of my favorite breakfasts is a nutrition powerhouse. Heck, I’ve been known to eat leftover vegan cake with my morning coffee.
Even so, I care about getting good nutrition early in the day when I can. The nutrients that I try to emphasize are:
- Complex carbohydrates/starches
- Healthful fats
- Phytonutrients (for example, antioxidants)
All of my most common go-to breakfasts are power plates, which is to say that they feature protein, fat, and carbs.
I always include some fruit or vegetable for phytonutrient density. Phytonutrients are responsible for the beautiful colors that fruits and vegetables display. They’re individually and collectively associated with lower rates of chronic disease.
As for calcium—a big nutrient of concern for me, given my anorexia history—I prioritize fortified plant milks. I also try to sneak leafy greens and legumes into savory breakfast when I can.
Much as I love a hearty breakfast, I don’t love having to fuss too much over food on a busy weekday. My favorite meal prep breakfast ideas include options that are simple to prepare.
They often feature my favorite store-bought vegan products, like cereal or yogurt. These foods make it easier for me to nourish myself well on a regular basis.
I love both sweet and savory breakfast foods. So, I try to get a variety of both as I plan my breakfasts for the week.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have defaults. Toast and bagels (savory or sweet) are the two most common among those, followed by breakfast tacos and tofu scramble.
I also eat a lot of oatmeal and cereal.
Yet I try, even when I’m busy and on autopilot, to not eat the exact same breakfast each day. More variety means a wider array of nutrients.
When I meal prep for the week, I plan on making (or having ingredients for) at least two breakfast options.
I find that my most successful vegan meal prep ideas are portable. While I often eat breakfast at home, it’s good to know that I could grab these and take them to a meeting if I needed to.
Sometimes, I bring them to a coffee shop, so that I can work with others around me for a change.
Even if I do WFH every morning for a week, it helps me to pack my breakfasts up as if I were going to take them somewhere. They end up prepared, portioned, and ready to eat when I reach for them. This is a nice convenience if I have to eat in a rush, before my first client of the day.
Meal prep breakfast storage containers
On the topic of preparing, portioning, and storing meal prep breakfasts, it’s essential to have some food containers that make this possible.
That becomes even more true if you need to transport your breakfasts from home to work, school, childcare, or another setting.
There are many food container options nowadays, from bento boxes to silicone bags. Here are some of the containers that I rely on most:
- Pyrex 3.4 Quart Bento Box and 2.1 Quart Bento Box
- Mepal snack pot, fruit and veggie snack pot, and 17-ounce round container
- Pyrex 3-cup rectangle food container
- W&P porter mug and utensil set
- Stasher snack bags, sandwich bags, and 2 cup bowls
Most of the above are microwave friendly for reheating.
Vegan meal prep breakfast ideas
These 15 vegan meal prep breakfast ideas are by no means the beginning or end of what’s possible for a portable morning meal. They represent a sampling of what I’ve come to rely on myself when I need breakfast to be a make-ahead meal.
Many of the options can be modified by changing some of the accompaniments that I’ve suggested.
For example, there’s a lot of possibility when it comes to having baked goods for breakfast.
Vegan muffins and quick breads (such as my classic banana bread, zucchini bread, or pumpkin bread) are a favorite on-the-go option for me. However, a muffin or slice of bread rarely fills me up as is.
For this reason, I tend to enjoy either with “something else,” like nut butter or vegan butter, vegan yogurt, fruit, or a combination of those. You can vary your accompaniments based on hunger and preference.
The same principle goes for cereal, oats, tofu scramble, or really any of the options on this list. These breakfasts become more satisfying and nutritious when you find the right ways to serve them.
I hope you’ll find an option that you enjoy here!
Overnight oats or vegan muesli
Overnight oats and soaked muesli are incredibly easy to prepare, and they’re packed with soluble fiber. Add your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or fresh fruit to make these portable breakfasts more filling and fun.
Some of my favorites:
- Banana mocha overnight oats
- Ginger pear muesli
- Pumpkin spice overnight oats
Tofu scramble with bread + fruit
I can’t think of a plant-based breakfast that packs more nutritional bang-for-your-buck than tofu scramble.
Tofu scrambles are full of protein, fiber if you add veggies, and they usually have some calcium, too (this depends on the tofu brand that you use).
I like to pack up my scrambles with fresh fruit and some bread on the side.
If I put fruit and scramble in the same container, then I usually serve the tofu leftovers cold, which I like! If I want to heat the scramble up, then I simply pack it in an individual, microwave-safe container.
Other potential, portable tofu scramble accompaniments include:
- Blueberry corn muffins
- A container of cooked whole grain (like rice or quinoa)
- Toasted English muffin (if you have a toaster at work or school)
- Whole grain crackers (I like Triscuits)
Here’s a list of 7 of my favorite tofu scramble recipes—the one I make most often is my classic tofu scramble!
I first made oat cakes when I was in grad school. I was always on the lookout for portable breakfasts that could double as snacks.
An attempt to make baked oatmeal in a muffin tin turned into these dense, nutritious little cakes. They’re not like Scottish oatcakes, which are crispy and cookie-like.
Instead, they’re hearty and surprisingly filling. A couple of them can be breakfast-on-the-go with serious staying power.
PB&J (+ whatever)
One of my grad school professors used to say that peanut butter and jelly is about as nutritionally perfect a food as there is, and I agree.
PB&J also happens to be my go-to lunch that’s portable or extra convenient. And there’s no reason for it to only be a lunch.
PB&J will provide protein, complex carbs, some sugars to get you moving, and satisfying healthful fats in the morning. Enjoy it with a piece of fruit, a soy milk latte (more protein!), and/or whatever else you like.
Quick bread (+ something else)
There aren’t too many sweet breakfasts that I enjoy more than a thick slice of vegan zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, or banana bread.
For breakfast, I pair these treats with something else. Here are a few of my favorite “something else” options:
- Vegan yogurt
- Fruit + almonds
- Nut butter
- A regular latte or turmeric chai latte
- A cup of warm soy milk (this is mainly for protein and calcium, though it’s also comforting and nice in the colder months, especially with a little vanilla!)
The leftovers of any favorite savory breakfast lend themselves well to meal prep. Portion them, store them, and enjoy them as the week goes by.
If you have a fridge at work, these are also great options for transporting and reheating!
Here are some of my favorite savory breakfasts that are also conducive to meal prep:
- Farro breakfast salad with sweet potatoes and apples
- Chick’n enchilada breakfast casserole
- Butternut squash hash with tofu
- Black bean and scrambled tofu enchiladas
- Savory split pea coconut porridge
- Pinto bean skillet bake
- Easy chickpea scramble
Muffins (+ something else)
Muffins, like banana bread or zucchini bread, are a wonderful on-the-go breakfast.
And same as with other quick breads, I’ve learned that I need to have them with something extra in order to feel satisfied.
That “something else” component can be peanut butter, yogurt, a beverage, and so on. Sometimes, two muffins are a perfect breakfast for me.
Some of my favorite, nutrient-dense muffins to meal prep:
- Apple vegan bran muffins
- Berry hemp spelt muffins
- Banana oat chia muffins
- Carrot raisin bran muffins
- Zucchini date muffins
Cereal, milk, and a banana
It’s not hard to enjoy cereal at a desk or on a campus, if you like.
Simply pack up your favorite cereal in one container, then non-dairy milk in another (something with a twist cap, like a mason jar or this, is best).
Enjoy with fresh fruit of some kind. I like a banana (also portable).
Meal prep smoothies
I’m not a big smoothie-for-breakfast person, but if you are, meal prep smoothies are always a fun idea.
Freeze individual portions of your favorite fruit, protein source, and mix-ins. (Here are some fun ideas.)
In the morning, add nondairy milk at home, blend, and add to a container for transportation.
Or, if you have an individual blender and coworkers who don’t mind a little noise, you can blend smoothies in the kitchen area of an office.
A snack bar (+ something)
I eat a heck of a lot of snack bars for snacks. I don’t love them as meal replacements.
Even so, life is life sometimes. Once in a while, a bar needs to stand in for a breakfast if I’m on-the-go or traveling.
If a bar is going to be breakfast, it’s better to choose something that’s more substantial. Some of my favorite, higher calorie bars with vegan flavors are Bobo’s Oat Bars and Pro Bars.
Clif bars aren’t meal-sized, but they definitely can hold me over till mid-morning.
You can also pair a less calorie-dense bar with other stuff. A snack bar + yogurt + fruit is a very good breakfast on-the-go. Now that it’s not hard to find non-dairy yogurt at airports, I’ve relied on this combo often while traveling.
Baked oatmeal (+ yogurt, if you like)
Speaking of stuff that’s good to serve with yogurt, I recently made my blueberry banana walnut oat bake and served it with yogurt on top.
I loved this combo. In the past, I’ve had slices of that bake with nut butters or a drizzle of maple syrup.
This was different. I liked the tangy, cool yogurt on warm slices of baked oatmeal.
Baked oatmeal was actually my favorite meal prep breakfast when I was doing my clinical internship. Sometimes I could microwave it, sometimes I ate it cold, sort of like a bar.
Here are the oat bake flavors that I make most often:
- Vegan pumpkin chocolate chip baked oatmeal
- Maple brown sugar baked oatmeal
- Apple berry baked oatmeal cups
- Peach skillet baked oatmeal
- Blueberry banana oat bake
If you don’t feel like making overnight oats or baked oatmeal, you can also let the pros handle your oat needs.
A lot of brands make great, portable, ready-to-eat oatmeal that comes in a cup. All you do is add hot water and let it sit, or you add cold water and microwave it.
I’ve relied on this option while traveling, and it was another mainstay during my clinical internship year. Here are my favorite options that I’ve tried, but there are many others:
- Nature’s Path Summer Berries Boost
- Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal cups
- McDougall Right Foods Apple Flax
These oats may not be quite filling enough on their own. But it’s very easy to make them more substantial, even on-the-go, with a portable nut butter packet or single serve portion of nuts and dried fruit.
Fresh fruit, if you have it, is also always a great addition.
If you have time in the morning to make one of these, then eat it in the car or at your desk someplace, great!
- A toasted English muffin
- Just Egg folded
- A slice of vegan cheese (I like the American slices from Good Planet)
It’s not exactly a make-ahead breakfast, but it comes together quickly in a toaster. It’s filling, high-protein, and really tasty.
Once you toast your muffin and the egg, just assemble, wrap in foil, and transport to where you need to go.
Serve it with some fresh fruit, if you like. I almost always do.
A frozen vegan breakfast
If your meal prep plan fails to go according to plan—or fails to happen at all—it’s always great to have some nutritious, frozen vegan options to grab and reheat.
Fortunately, there are a lot of wonderful, frozen, store-bought vegan breakfast meals. My favorites:
- Sweet Earth Foods Big Sur breakfast burrito
- Amy’s Organic Vegan Bean & Cheeze burrito
- Amy’s Organic tofu scramble
- Gardein sausage, potato & kale breakfast bowl
- Alpha Foods breakfast sandwich
Baked, stuffed apples
These baked, stuffed apples have some of the goodness of whole grain oats, plus the goodness of fruit.
They’re already pre-portioned and easy to pack, and two of them makes for a very lovely morning meal.
Fruit + yogurt + granola
Fruit, yogurt and granola is a classic breakfast combo, and it can easily be made portable.
When I have this option on the go, I pack up:
- A 5.3-ounce yogurt (the Forager brand cashewgurt in plain or vanilla is my favorite)
- A container that will be big enough to hold my yogurt, granola, and fruit (I like this one)
- A Stasher snack bag with granola
- A cup of berries, a whole banana, some chopped apple, or another fruit
- My W&P Porter Utensil Set spoon
You’ll need to find someplace to sit and assemble this breakfast, but once you do, you’ll have something fresh, colorful, and textured to enjoy.
Meal prep breakfast storage
Once you pick out one or two vegan meal prep breakfast ideas for the week ahead, you’ll need to store them.
The specifics of storage time vary quite a bit from food to food. But here’s a general sense of how long various breakfast items keep:
- Vegan yogurt: 1-2 weeks before opening, 3-7 days after opening
- Dry cereals: 6-12 months before opening, 1-3 months after opening
- Fruit: varies, here is a good general storage guide
- Bread: 5-7 days at room temperature, 1-2 weeks in the fridge, up to 3 months in the freezer
- Tofu scramble: up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge
- Overnight oats (prepared): up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge
- Baked oatmeal: up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge
- Quick breads (such as muffins, scones, or banana bread): 4 days at room temperature, 5-7 days in the fridge, 2-3 months in the freezer
Prep now, be thankful later
I always say that meal prep is a gift that my current self gives to my future self.
The subtitle of The Vegan Week is “meal prep recipes to feed your future self,” and I mean it sincerely.
I try to be honest about the realities of meal prep. It can be time consuming and laborious, depending on how much you do.
For me, however, the benefits of having homemade food that’s ready to heat and eat (or transport and eat) as the week begins is priceless.
I’ve never once been sorry to have meal prepped, even if all I could manage was a sauce or a batch of muffins.
It’s easy to focus on meal prep lunch or dinner at the expense of breakfast. But I’ve found that breakfast is one of the nicest meals to prep ahead of time precisely because it’s so tempting to run out the door in the morning without something balanced to eat.
When I do have a solid, nourishing, and nutritionally adequate morning meal, the landscape of my day changes. I’m more energized, I feel more grounded, and I’m not starving when lunchtime rolls around.
I hope that these vegan meal prep breakfast ideas will help you to access all of those sensations, too, week in and week out.
Next up: lunch!
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