Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Flexitarian Meals
A flexitarian diet, which consists of mostly plant-based foods and a small amount of meat, poultry, and fish, is ideal for folks who want to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but don’t want to give up meat or dairy entirely. It’s also great for anyone cooking for multiple eaters, some of whom want meaty meals and others who prefer vegetarian ones.
I find meal prepping to be one of the best, easiest ways to stick with a new way of eating. That’s why this week’s Power Hour consists of a two-hour plan for shopping and prepping a week’s worth of flexitarian meals. Here’s how to do it.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: Flavorful, easy-to-grab breakfasts that satisfy me, my husband, and our 2 elementary school-aged kids
- Lunch: Transportable lunches for me and my husband; we both split time between working from home and other locations
- Dinner: Vegetable-forward meals that have a flexible base, making them adaptable to picky eaters (including my husband)
- Nutritional goals: Focusing on working more vegetables into lunch and dinner and buying smaller amounts of high-quality meats
Read more: 5 Flexitarian Plant-Forward Dinners For Two
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 adults for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as 2 small kids for most breakfasts and all dinners
- Prep Time: Just under 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 75% (no set weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Light to moderate — cooking salmon, reheating grains, and cooking some vegetables.
I was actually surprised how pantry-focused a flexitarian plan can be, which helps immensely with budgeting. This list doesn’t include staples like olive oil, vegetable oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Produce: 4 bananas, 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, 2 cups strawberries, 4 medium bell peppers, 2 large or 4 small stalks celery, 1 English cucumber, 1 small red onion (or 1 large shallot), 1 large yellow onion, 1 (3-pound) pie pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash such as butternut, 2 medium turnips (about 12 ounces total), 12 cloves garlic, 1 bunch scallions, 1 medium carrot, 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), 6 to 8 ounces coleslaw mix or shredded green or red cabbage, 1 medium avocado, 1 bunch radishes, 2 (3-inch) pieces fresh ginger, 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, 1 large lemon, 1 bunch tender herbs of your choice
- Pantry: 2 ¾ cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 3/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds, 1/2 cup raw pistachios, 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, 1 (15 to 15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, 10 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, 2 (16-ounce) cans chili beans, maple syrup, coconut oil, toasted sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, tahini, vanilla extract, nut butter, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, farro, brown rice, finely ground cornmeal, tomato paste, mirin, light or dark brown sugar, hot sauce, 8 to 10 ounces dried soba noodles, 8 pickled pepperoncinis
- Spices and seasoning: 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Dairy: 6 ounces feta cheese, 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 large eggs
- Frozen: 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, 2 cups frozen corn kernels, 3/4 cup white miso paste
- Seafood and meat: 1 1/2 pound skin-on salmon fillet, pin bones removed
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
Lately I’ve been starting my meal prep with breakfast items, followed by lunches, and ending with dinner. This way at least breakfasts and lunches are taken care of if my prep session gets interrupted.
- Bake Tahini and Cardamom-Spiced Granola. Once in the oven, this granola takes about 35 minutes to bake at 350°F. When it’s done, turn the oven off.
- Make PB&J Smoothie packs. I make four of these packs to use mostly for kid breakfasts. Buying frozen cherries and strawberries lets you skip a prep step.
- Start Pumpkin Chili. This stovetop recipe takes the longest to cook, so get it going and you’ll have lunches and one dinner done by the time everything else is prepped.
- Cook grains for Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad and Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls. I didn’t grab the Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice the bowl recipe suggests, so cook farro and brown rice on the stovetop until tender.
- Make Green Tahini. This is for the Buffalo Cauliflower bowls and also a great time to prep other herbs and scallions for the rest of the week.
- Make Oregano Vinaigrette. Toss the finished farro in the vinaigrette for extra flavor.
- Chop veggies for Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad. This includes the cucumber, red onion, and peppers, along with the feta. I also chop cauliflower for the buffalo bowls and carrot sticks for snacking.
- Soft boil eggs for Soba Noodle Broth Bowl. You can totally prep soft boiled eggs ahead, store them in their shells and gently reheat them in the miso broth later in the week. I add a few extra eggs to eat as snacks too.
- Shape Veggie Burgers and wrap to store. Making the veggie burgers just requires your food processor and your hands. Wrap each patty individually or layer them with parchment paper for storing until later in the week.
- Chop potatoes for Oven Fries and cover in water. This actually makes for better oven fries because it draws out extra starch.
- Marinade Miso Salmon. If your salmon is frozen, you can thaw it in the marinade.
A Week of Flextitarian Dinners
- Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Tahini and Cardamom-Spiced Granola: We’ll eat this with whole milk and chopped apples or over yogurt.
- Tuesday and Thursday: Make-Ahead Smoothie Packs: PB&J Smoothie: Since these only require blending, my husband will make these for breakfast for himself and the kids on the two mornings I go to the gym to exercise. I’ll grab a boiled egg and a piece of fruit.
- Monday and Tuesday: Pumpkin Chili can be reheated at home and topped with yogurt or grated cheese.
- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: I’m taking Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette with me to a co-working space these three days, it doesn’t require reheating!
- Monday: On Monday night, the Miso Salmon will be slow roasted and I’ll sauté some spinach leftover from the smoothie packs and reheat some brown rice as a side.
- Tuesday: Just reheat the Pumpkin Chili and serve with crackers and sour cream. I personally might regret having this for lunch and dinner in one day, but it’s our busy night of the week.
- Wednesday: Veggie Burgers with Oven Fries can both be cooked in the oven, which means dinner is mostly hands off!
- Thursday: These Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Avocado and Green Tahini just need the cauliflower roasted, rice reheated, and an avocado chopped.
- Friday: Cook the mushrooms for these Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Miso-Butter Mushrooms, then boil the soba noodles and reheat the soft boiled eggs for a savory end to the week.
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.