Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy 2,000-Calorie Days in 2 Hours

updated Sep 24, 2020
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Credit: Sheela Prakash

Credit: Kitchn
Power Hour Meal Prep

If you’re watching your calorie intake, for whatever health reason, you already know just how calculated your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners need to be in order to hit the goal you have in mind. This Power Hour is for those looking to eat about 2,000 calories per day. This number is actually the rough average for most adults, so it shouldn’t feel incredibly restrictive. And after cooking and eating through it, I hope you’ll agree. When you fill your plate with wholesome, nutrient-rich foods throughout the day, you’re left feeling well-fed rather than limited. Plus, this meal plan includes dessert, so really, it wins all around.

Credit: Photos: Sheela Prakash; Design: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Wholesome make-ahead options that fill you up.
  • Lunch: Easy choices that make use of leftovers.
  • Dinner: Simple, feel-good meals that come together without fuss.
  • Nutritional Goals: No more than 2,000 calories a day while still eating a nutritious diet. You’ll clock in just under, at an average of 1,950 calories a day, with this plan.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (20 to 30 minutes of easy cooking to bring dinner together)

Meal Plan



  • Stuffed Pepper Soup topped with avocado
  • Leftover Sweet Potato Curry over brown rice
  • Leftover Cajun Chicken Pasta



Credit: NA
Credit: Sheela Prakash

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is filled with lots of colorful vegetables, some lean protein, and plenty of easy-to-find pantry items. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 bunch fresh chives, 10 small bananas, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 medium green bell pepper, 1 medium yellow onion, 1 head of garlic, 1 bunch fresh parsley, 2-inch piece fresh ginger, 4 medium sweet potatoes, 2 (5-ounce) bags baby spinach, 2 limes, 1 bunch scallions, 2 medium tomatoes, 3 avocados
  • Meat: 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1/2 dozen large eggs
  • Refrigerated: 1 1/2 quarts purchased egg whites, 1 pint half-and-half, 3 ounces feta cheese, unsalted butter, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese,
  • Pantry: 1 (6- to 7-ounce) jar basil pesto, dried Italian seasoning, 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) low-sodium beef or chicken broth, 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, 3 cups long-grain brown rice, canola oil, 1 (4-ounce) jar Thai red curry paste, 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, 2 (13- to 14-ounce) cans unweetened full-fat coconut milk, 1 pound dried penne pasta, salt-free Cajun spice blend, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, natural cocoa powder, 1 bag chocolate chips
  • Other: Cooking spray, 12 whole-wheat English muffins
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Olive & Mango

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Preheat oven and make herbed egg whites: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Prepare the egg white mixture for the English Muffin Sandwiches and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare and bake brownies: While the egg whites bake, prepare the Easy Homemade Brownies according to recipe instructions. When the egg whites are done, remove them from the oven to let cool completely and transfer the brownies to the oven to bake for about 25 minutes.
  3. Make stuffed pepper soup: Prepare the Stuffed Pepper Soup according to recipe instructions but leave out the brown rice, as you’ll cook it separately in the next step. 
  4. Cook brown rice: Rinse 3 cups of long-grain brown rice in a fine-mesh strainer and prepare in a large pot according to these instructions. Once cool, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. Assemble egg sandwiches: Assemble the egg sandwiches and wrap each individually in aluminum foil, store in resealable bags, and place in the freezer.
  6. Prepare vegetables for curry: Peel and cut 4 medium sweet potatoes for the Sweet Potato Curry and store in an airtight container or zip-top gallon bag.
  7. Cut and store brownies: Cut the brownies into 9 squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn

A Week of 2000-Calorie Days


Transfer two egg sandwiches from the freezer to the refrigerator each night before going to bed. In the morning, reheat each uncovered sandwich in a 325°F regular or toaster oven, until warmed through, about 20 minutes, and enjoy it with a small banana. 


  • Monday, Stuffed Pepper Soup: Add a few generous spoonfuls of the cooked brown rice to each portion of soup and reheat. Dice half of an avocado and top over each bowl of soup to serve.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, Leftover Cajun Chicken Pasta: Pack up portions of leftover pasta on each of these days and reheat.
  • Wednesday and Friday, Leftover Sweet Potato Curry: Pack up portions of leftover sweet potato curry, each over one cup of cooked brown rice, on these days and reheat.


  • Monday, Cajun Chicken Pasta: Prepare this quick skillet pasta according to recipe instructions, about 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, Easy Sweet Potato Curry: Grab the pre-cut sweet potatoes and prepare this curry according to recipe instructions, about 20 minutes. While it simmers, reheat two cups of rice to go with it.
  • Wednesday and Friday, Leftover Stuffed Pepper Soup: Reheat two portions of the leftover soup on the stovetop or in the microwave with a few generous spoonfuls of cooked brown rice stirred in. Dice an avocado and divide it on top of each bowl.


  • Yes, you can enjoy dessert and still clock in at 2,000 calories per day! Enjoy one brownie square after dinner.

Power Hour Meal Prep is the series where we help you put it all together. We show you how to eat well during the week with an hour or two of Power Hour prep over the weekend. Every plan is different; mix and match to find your own personal sweet spot.