Power Hour Meal Prep

Here Are 4 Weeks of 1500-Calorie-Per-Day Meals

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Everyone has their own health and wellness goals — and for some, that goal includes counting calories. What constitutes a healthy calorie intake is extremely dependent on a person’s individual situation, but if you’re trying to stay on a lower calorie diet, you know that it can be a challenge.

Having a meal plan in place — or, better yet, actually prepping meals in advance — can make a huge difference in whether or not you maintain your calorie goal. When the decision about what, and how much, to eat is already made, it can be easier to stick to your plan.

Here are four separate meal prep plans, each designed to help you arrange a week’s worth of delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners (and even occasional desserts) that total 1,500 calories or less per day. Our goal in making these is that you feel satisfied at the end of each meal: There are no bland pieces of fish or unseasoned veggies here. But if you follow all the plans in order, you’ll have four solid weeks of meals to eat, and you should be able to do all your shopping and cooking one weekend day per week, leaving plenty of time for other activities.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. A Week of Salmon, Chicken, and Meatballs

To keep meals interesting, and flexible, this plan calls for prepping two proteins — turkey meatballs and shredded rotisserie chicken — along with some easy additions like a cooked grain, pesto sauce, some hard boiled eggs, and salad greens.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

2. A Week of Barbecue, Sausage, and Buffalo Sauce

Leaning on dinner leftovers, like this meal prep plan does, is a great way to keep a low-calorie week extra easy on yourself. Plus, when it’s something like barbecue ranch chicken, it’s doubtful you’ll get tired of it!

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

3. A Week of Burgers, Steak, and Chicken Skewers

Why cook all your low-cal meals inside when you can take some of them out to the grill? This meal prep plan is full of extra-satisfying grilled dinners like portobello mushroom cheeseburgers and chimichurri steak.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

4. A Week of Salmon, Snacks, and Chicken-Taco Soup

Prepping a home-baked snack during this quick meal prep session ensures you’ll have something sweet to grab mid-day while still keeping your calorie goals in check.