Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Low-Carb Meals in Just 2 Hours

updated Aug 15, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn

We all strive to fuel our bodies with foods that help us feel our best, and if following a low-carb diet puts you at peak performance, then this is the meal prep plan for you. The meals in this plan skip high-carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, grains, high-starch vegetables, and sweets, and instead are packed with lean proteins and nutritious produce.

Since nutritional needs vary person to person, make any necessary adjustments to the meal plan based on your personal dietary needs. Follow this Power Hour Meal Prep Plan, and in just two hours you’ll have a week’s worth of satisfying low-carb meals ready for the fridge. Let’s get started.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: There’s no time for a muffin-induced energy crash, so breakfasts are sustaining and ready-to-eat (five days).
  • Lunch: Lunches are full of flavor and can be eaten at any temperature (five days).
  • Dinner: Dinners focus on protein and vegetables, while keeping carbs in check.
  • Nutritional Goals: Meals in this week’s plan are filled with protein and low-carbohydrate vegetables. This plan avoids high-carbohydrate food sources — grains, pasta, beans, and sweets. Since your specific nutritional needs may be different, make additions and substitutions to fit your wellness goals.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults and 2 kids for breakfast and dinner; 2 adults for lunch
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Components of all meals are prepped and require less than 30 minutes of cooking at night.

My Meal Plan




Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano

My Shopping List

These are the ingredients that I bought or used for this meal prep plan. Shop your pantry and refrigerator before you grocery shop to avoid buying ingredients you already have stocked. I also rely on ingredients like olive and vegetable oils, kosher salt, and black pepper that I always keep on hand.

  • Deli/Bakery: 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Dry Goods: Toasted sesame oil, coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce, honey, 1/2 cup hot sauce, chili garlic sauce, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar no sugar-added marinara sauce, 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • Produce: 1 (5-ounce) clamshell baby spinach, 1 pound broccoli, 3 large bunches flat-leaf kale, 1 knob fresh ginger, 1 bunch Italian parsley, 1 head garlic, 2 lemons, 1 red onion, 2 small yellow onions, 2 bunches scallions, 1 bag carrot sticks, 1 bag mini bell peppers, 3 zucchini
  • Meat/Seafood: 1 package thick-cut bacon, 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 pound ground pork, 2 pounds lean ground beef, 1 pound uncooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp (frozen is fine)
  • Dairy: Colby Jack cheese, Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, 2-dozen large eggs, unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Frozen: 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen cauliflower rice
  • Alcohol: 1/2 cup dry white wine
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Cook bacon. Cut bacon with a sharp knife (or better yet, kitchen shears!) then cook until crisp in a large cast iron skillet. Drain on paper towels for egg bites and quiche. Pour off excess bacon fat, but don’t wash the skillet.
  2. Make egg bites. A quick spin in the blender gives these egg bites their silky-smooth texture. Pour the egg mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with bacon. Bake in a water bath until just set, 55 to 60 minutes.
  3. Assemble BBQ Chicken Casserole. Pull and shred meat from the rotisserie chicken; you should have 2 1/2 to 3 cups meat. Assemble the casserole so that it is ready to bake as soon as the egg bites come out of the oven.
  4. Prep vegetables. Chop and slice the rest of the produce for the week. Easy Crustless Quiche: Coarsely chop 2 cups baby spinach. Sheet Pan Chili Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli: Cut broccoli into florets, mince ginger, thinly slice scallions. Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté: Chop 1 yellow onion, mince 3 garlic cloves, pull kale stems and coarsely chop kale (1 bunch), juice 1 lemon. Spicy Ground Pork and Zucchini Stir-Fry: Mince ginger, cut zucchini into half-moons, thinly slice scallions. Whole 30 Meatballs with Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic: Finely chop 1 yellow onion, chop 1/3 cup parsley, mince 3 and thinly slice 3 garlic cloves, pull kale from stems and coarsely chop (2 bunches), juice 1 lemon. Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip: Thinly slice 2 scallions, peel and cut carrots into sticks, halve mini bell peppers.
  5. Grate cheeses. Grate Colby Jack cheese for Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip and Easy Crustless Quiche; grate Parmesan cheese for Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté.
  6. Bake BBQ Chicken Casserole. Take egg bites out of the oven and cool on a rack. Increase the oven temperature to 400oF and pop the casserole in the oven.
  7. Assemble and bake quiche. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until combined. Heat the cast iron skillet used to cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Pour in the eggs and stir in the spinach, grated Colby Jack cheese, cooked bacon, and chopped parsley. Cook on the stovetop until the eggs begin to set around the edges, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the 400oF oven alongside the casserole. The quiche should be set in just 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Make sauces. The same sauce is used in both the Sheet Pan Chili Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli and Spicy Ground Pork and Zucchini Stir-Fry recipes. Mix it up and store in a single jar.
  9. Prep chicken. Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip: Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1/4-inch pieces. Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté: Cut 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1/2-inch-thick strips.
  10. Make meatballs. The last thing to do is make and form the meatballs. The meatballs don’t cook until Thursday night, so freeze them in a single layer, transfer to a zip-top bag, return to the freezer, then move them to the fridge to defrost on Wednesday night.
Credit: Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn


In the morning, gently microwave a serving of Bacon Gruyere Egg Bites (Net Carbs: 1 gram) on low power for about 30 seconds or until it is barely warm. By Friday all of the egg bites are gone, so switch to the final slices of Easy Crustless Quiche (Net Carbs: 3 grams) to start the day.


On Monday, Tuesday, and Friday I pack BBQ Chicken Casserole (Net Carbs: 12 grams) for lunch. On Wednesday and Thursday, I pack Easy Crustless Quiche (Net Carbs: 3 grams) on a bed of baby spinach.


  • Monday, Sheet Pan Chili Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli: (Net Carbs: 7 grams): I quickly defrost shrimp in a colander under cool running water. Roast the broccoli and shrimp using half of the prepared sauce.
  • Tuesday, Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté: (Net Carbs: 9 grams) This chicken and kale skillet dinner comes together quickly since all of the ingredients are prepared and portioned.
  • Wednesday, Spicy Ground Pork and Zucchini Stir-Fry with cauliflower rice: (Net Carbs: 4 grams): This stir-fry uses the last half of the prepared soy-ginger sauce. Make sure the skillet is sizzling when you add the pork and zucchini to ensure it browns instead of steams. Keep the meal low-carb by skipping the rice for serving. If you froze the meatballs, place them on a baking sheet in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  • Thursday, Whole 30 Meatballs (Net Carbs: 9 grams) with Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic (Net Carbs: 8 grams): Cook the meatballs in a Dutch oven until browned. Pour in the marinara and simmer until cooked through. In a separate high-sided skillet, cook the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add the kale and sauté until wilted, and finish with lemon juice.
  • Friday, Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip with vegetables (Net Carbs: 3 grams): Start by taking the cream cheese out of the refrigerator first so that it can come to room temperature. Prepare the dip in a cast iron skillet, then top with the final layer of cheese and scallions. I brought the hot skillet to the table and served with the prepped carrot sticks and halved mini bell peppers.

Meal prep isn’t all precooked rice and beans. Low-carb staples like vegetables, lean meats, and sauces are easy to prepare during Power Hour, and combine to create delicious weeknight meals.


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.