Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Keto Meals in Just 2 Hours

updated Sep 6, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell
Credit: The Kitchn

If your ideal meal includes avocados, cheese, and more avocados, this keto meal plan is for you. This week I’m prepping easy heat-and-eat breakfasts, make-ahead lunches, and dinners filled with my favorite flavors — and all of it is keto-friendly and low-carb.

There’s something for everyone this week, especially if you’re looking for easy keto recipes that still offer variety — I’m talking shrimp, beef, chorizo, chicken, and more. On Sunday, I set aside time to organize and prep meals for the week ahead. There are a few non-keto eaters in the family (namely, my two young kids), so I’ll add extra fruit and whole grains to their plates. You can do the same for your household, too.

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

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Heat-and-eat breakfasts to kick-start my day (five days).
  • Lunch: Colorful lunches packed with veggies and protein to keep me fueled for busy afternoons (five days).
  • Dinner: Keto-friendly dinners the whole family will love (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Meals in this week’s plan keep macro nutrients within the recommended ranges for the keto diet. This means 60 to 75% of calories come from fat, 15 to 30% of calories come from protein, and 5 to 10% of calories come from carbohydrates.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults for breakfast and lunch; 2 adults and 2 kids for dinner
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required: Moderate. Most dinner elements are prepared, but require about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table

My Meal Plan




Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano

My Shopping List

Here’s a list of the ingredients I bought or used for this meal prep plan. Check your pantry and refrigerator before you head to the store to avoid buying ingredients you already have stocked. I also used staple ingredients like olive and vegetable oils, kosher salt, and black pepper that I always keep on hand.

  • Dry Goods: Mayonnaise, chili powder, ground cumin, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • Produce: Fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, 9 garlic cloves, 5 ounces arugula, 7 avocados, 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 stalks celery, 3 lemons, 10 limes, 3 jalapeños, 1 head butter lettuce, 1 cup fresh salsa or pico de gallo, 2 small red onions, 2 yellow onions, 3 tomatoes, 8 zucchini, 1 (2 1/2 pound) spaghetti squash
  • Dairy: 6 ounces cream cheese, 14 large eggs, 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 cups whole or 2% ricotta cheese
  • Meat/Seafood: 31 bacon slices, 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 pounds lean ground beef, 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked medium shrimp (frozen is fine)
  • Deli: 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Frozen: 1 (16-ounce) bag riced cauliflower
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Heat oven and boil water. I’m serving zucchini and chorizo every morning this week, so I prep double the recipe to make sure I have enough. Even my largest skillet can’t handle the volume, so I prep it in the oven instead. Heat the oven to 425oF. Fill a pot halfway with water; bring to a boil to poach shrimp for ceviche.
  2. Hard-boil eggs. I prefer to make eggs in the Instant Pot. Cook 10 eggs at LOW pressure for 7 to 8 minutes. Use the quick pressure release and plunge the eggs into an ice bath. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, try one of these methods.
  3. Roast zucchini and chorizo. Toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with kosher salt, and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet with diced chorizo. Roast until chorizo browns and zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 400oF.
  4. Poach shrimp. Once water is boiling, turn off heat. Add the shrimp; cook 2 to 3 minutes if thawed or 3 to 4 minutes if frozen. Drain, cool, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
  5. Prep vegetables. Sauteed Zucchini with Chorizo, Cilantro & Lime: Zest and juice 2 1/2 limes, chop cilantro. BLT Lettuce Wraps with Avocado: Wash and dry lettuce leaves, halve cherry tomatoes. Italian Chicken Salad: Dice 2 celery stalks, slice 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, thinly slice 1/4 red onion, chop parsley. Easy Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado: Juice 2 lemons and 3 limes, chop 2 tomatoes, finely chop 1/2 red onion, 1 jalapeño, and 1/2 cup cilantro. Combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro with chopped poached shrimp. Store citrus juice separately. Easy Jalapeño Grilled Chicken: Combine 4 garlic cloves, 2 quartered limes, 2 jalapeños (cut into thirds), olive oil, salt, and cumin in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Bacon Avocado Salad Bowl: Dice 1 tomato, slice 1 red onion. Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dip: Dice 1 onion, mince 2 cloves garlic. Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Dice 1 onion, mince 3 cloves garlic, cook 1 spaghetti squash in the microwave and shred the squash.
  6. Cook bacon. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. You may have to cook in batches or use two baking sheets.
  7. Prep beef for dip and stuffed squash. Sauté onions and garlic prepped for Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dip and Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash in a large skillet over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add 2 pounds beef and cook until browned, breaking beef into small pieces. Transfer half to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate for cheeseburger dip. Add crushed tomatoes to remaining beef and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in shredded squash. 
  8. Pound chicken. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on a plastic cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap, pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/2-inch thick. Transfer to a zip-top bag or food storage container and refrigerate.
  9. Make dressings and marinades. Follow recipes to make dressings and marinades for BLT Lettuce Wraps, Italian Chicken Salad, and Bacon Avocado Salad Bowl. Use mayonnaise for the salad bowl unless you have Greek yogurt on hand.
  10. Make chicken salad. Shred meat from rotisserie chicken (you should have about 3 cups meat). Add prepared celery, roasted red pepper, red onion, parsley, and almonds. Chop cooked bacon, add to chicken salad. Toss with the vinaigrette. Pack into individual lunch containers and refrigerate.
  11. Assemble stuffed squash. Make ricotta cheese mixture. Use only 1 spaghetti squash to keep the grams of carbohydrates in check for this recipe, follow recipe’s instructions for making it a casserole. Cover and refrigerate. 
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman


Each morning I warm a plate of Sauteed Zucchini with Chorizo, Cilantro & Lime and eat it with an Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Egg (Net Carb: 6 grams).


On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I eat a BLT Lettuce Wrap with Avocado, a take on my alI-time favorite sandwich (Net Carb: 3 grams). Serve Italian Chicken Salad (Net Carb: 4 grams) for lunch on Tuesday and Thursday on a bed of lettuce instead of bread.


  • Monday, Easy Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado (Net Carb: 7 grams): Dice an avocado (or two!), toss with shrimp and citrus juices. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate to marinate longer. Eat with a fork, no chips required (seriously!). Add prepared, pounded chicken breast to zip-top bag with jalapeños and limes. Massage to coat chicken, refrigerate overnight.
  • Tuesday, Easy Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowls and Easy Jalapeno Grilled Chicken (Net Carb: 13 grams): Prepare Jalapeño Grilled Chicken on the grill, set aside to rest, and then thinly slice. Reserve half of chicken slices for Wednesday’s dinner. To make the burrito bowl recipe keto-friendly, omit beans and corn. Heat oil in a skillet until shimmering. Add frozen riced cauliflower, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sauce until cauliflower is thawed and just tender.
  • Wednesday, Bacon Avocado Salad Bowl and Easy Jalapeno Grilled Chicken (Net Carb: 8 grams): To make the salad recipe compatible with keto, omit beans and corn. Assemble the salad, seasoning the greens and veggies with salt and pepper along the way. I like the contrasting temperature of warm, sliced chicken atop cool, crisp salads, so I warm the grilled jalapeño chicken before plating my salad. And just because there’s already bacon and grilled chicken on this salad, don’t think for a minute that I skipped the fried egg.
  • Thursday, Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dip (Net Carb: 4 grams): I’m not sure when dips became dinner fare, but I’m here for it. Reheat the cooked ground beef and onion mixture in a cast iron skillet. Pick up on step 4 of the recipe, adding the mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and seasonings into the beef, stirring until cheeses melt. Stir half the bacon into the dip, top with the remaining cheeses (yes, more cheese!), and broil. Top with diced tomatoes and more bacon, and serve hot.
  • Friday: Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (Net Carb: 17 grams): The easiest dinner of the week is reserved for Friday. Bake at 400oF for 15 minutes, sprinkle with mozzarella, and continue to bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.


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.