Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Gluten-Free Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that cooking on the fly or ordering last-minute takeout isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s why having a meal prep plan in place isn’t just helpful — it’s essential. This week I’ll show you how to prepare an entire week of gluten-free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that will satisfy everyone at the table.
A quick note: It’s not uncommon to cook for others and find that at least one person is avoiding gluten (and that person might be you!) for health or other personal reasons. If you are new to cooking gluten-free, make sure to check labels carefully to avoid foods that have been processed with foods that contain gluten (this is particularly common with grains) or that contain gluten as an additive.
My Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: A satisfying and ready-made breakfast filled with nuts and seeds (five days).
- Lunch: Portable protein-packed lunches and lots of veggies (five days).
- Dinner: Flavorful dinners to fill the plate (and your belly!) without relying on bread (five days).
- Nutritional Goals: This week’s meals from breakfast through dinner are all gluten-free.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 adults and 2 kids for breakfast and dinner, and 2 adults for lunch
- Prep Time: About 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate. Ingredients are prepped and dinners come together quickly and with little effort.
My Meal Plan
- Soft & Chewy Granola with yogurt and fresh fruit
Here’s the grocery list I took to the store to prepare for this week’s meals. I organize my list by grocery department to make shopping as efficient as possible. Before shopping, make sure to check the levels of pantry staples like olive oil, vegetable oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. These ingredients are not included in the grocery list because I always keep them on hand. Also check for other ingredients you may already have in the pantry, fridge, or freezer like spices, root vegetables, and meats. I am shopping for 1 1/2 times the Chicken Shawarma Salad in order to have enough leftovers for lunch.
- Produce: 1 small head broccoli, 1 bunch broccoli rabe (or baby spinach), 2 to 3 heads butter lettuce, 1 red bell pepper, 1 bunch celery, 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, 1 bunch fresh oregano, 2 English cucumbers, 11 cloves garlic, 1 hand ginger, 1 yellow onion, 2 red onions, 1 shallot, 1 bunch scallions, 1 large (or 2 small) carrots, 1 pound small red potatoes, 2 large sweet potatoes, 3 medium tomatoes, 2 lemons, fresh fruit (to serve with granola and yogurt)
- Deli: 1 (5-ounce) package chopped pancetta
- Dry Goods: 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons tamari, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground sumac (optional), ground turmeric, dried chile flakes, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/3 cup dried apricots, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup skin-on raw almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup flaxseed meal, 3/4 cup millet, 1/2 cup tahini, white or brown rice, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
- Dairy: 2 large eggs, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, yogurt
- Meat: 2 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4 center-cut, bone-in pork chops (3/4- to 1-inch thick), 1 (12-ounce) package smoked Italian-style chicken sausage
- Freezer: 2/3 cup frozen peas, 1/2 to 1 pound peeled and deveined medium raw shrimp (31 to 40 count)
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
- Heat oven and make granola. Heat oven to 275°F. Follow this recipe, and begin by toasting the millet until golden. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, apricots, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, sesame seeds, melted butter, and 1/2 cup honey. Spread onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons honey, bake another 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, store in an airtight container.
- Make soup. Once granola is in the oven, make the Chickpea and Broccoli Rabe Soup. Brown pancetta in some olive oil, then add the aromatics (carrots, celery, onion) and seasonings. Cook until vegetables are soft and golden, then add salt, garlic, and drained chickpeas. Since I’m using canned chickpeas instead of cooking dried, I’ll use 4 cups broth instead of half broth and half chickpea cooking liquid. Bring soup to a boil, simmer 10 minutes. Coarsely chop broccoli rabe, stir it in, cook another 10 minutes or until tender. Note: Broccoli rabe was too bitter for my kids. Baby spinach is a good substitute; just wait until serving to add.
- Marinate beans. Next it’s time to prep Marinated White Beans for lunch. Whisk together olive oil, zest and juice from 1 lemon, diced shallot, minced ginger, salt, and pepper. Toss with drained and rinsed cannellini beans, fresh parsley, and fresh oregano. Transfer beans to an airtight container or add to lunch containers.
- Cook rice. Once granola is done, increase oven’s temperature to 375°F. I often bake brown rice (follow this recipe) for meal prep because it’s hands-off and the grains are never gummy. You can also cook rice on the stovetop. Once the rice is cooked, spread onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool quickly (and safely!). Once cool, pack rice into an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Prep chicken shawarma salad. I’m prepping 1 1/2 times this recipe to have enough for leftovers. Start prep by making the seasoning paste: Combine oil, minced garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric. Refrigerate in a small jar. Make the dressing: Shake tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, salt, and pepper in a jar until combined and has a pourable consistency. Prep vegetables: Slice red onion and soak in water for 10 minutes, then drain and store in a small container. Cut cucumber. Wash and dry all the lettuce (you’ll need some for this salad and some to serve with Marinated White Beans). Pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness, transfer to a gallon-size zip-top bag, and refrigerate. Wash cutting board.
- Prep pork. Next up, prep Maple Ginger Pork and Sweet Potatoes. Skip the boiling step by using warm water to dissolve the salt. Combine the brine ingredients in a quart-sized jar; refrigerate. Mince ginger and garlic for this recipe and for the Shrimp Fried Rice while you’re at it.
- Prep sheet pan sausage and veggies. Cut smoked Italian-style chicken sausage into 1-inch pieces; transfer to a container. Chop 1 red bell pepper and 1 head broccoli. Transfer bell pepper and broccoli to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Chop vegetables. Marinated White Beans: Slice celery and chop parsley for serving with beans for lunch. Shrimp Fried Rice: Thinly slice 1 bunch scallions. Store scallion whites with garlic and ginger (prepped earlier), and transfer scallion greens to a separate container.
I love keeping homemade granola on hand for easy breakfasts. This week instead of reaching for crunchy and clustered granola I made Soft & Chewy Granola. The rich honey coating on the toasted millet, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit make a small serving satisfying and stretched the batch to last the entire week. I served atop tangy yogurt with fresh fruit.
For lunch this week I’m packing Marinated White Beans on butter lettuce with coarsely chopped celery and parsley. The beans soak up the marinade as they sit, so they actually taste even better on Friday than they did on Monday (win!). The beans fulfill that starchy craving I get midday while providing lean protein to keep me full. On other days I’m eating leftover Chickpea and Broccoli Rabe Soup and Chicken Shawarma Salad for lunch and loving every bite.
- Monday, Chickpea and Broccoli Rabe Soup: It’s finally soup weather in Atlanta and I am here for it! This soup is warm and hearty without being heavy. Because it’s already made, and all I have to do is heat and eat! My kids fished out the broccoli rabe (too bitter for them), so next time I’ll substitute baby spinach. If you make this soup with spinach, add it now, just before serving.
- Tuesday, Maple Ginger Pork and Sweet Potatoes: After work, submerge the pork chops in the brine and pop the brining chops back into the fridge. While the meat brines, peel and chop the sweet potatoes, mix maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together, and cook according to the recipe. This is the perfect meal for a cold autumn night.
- Wednesday, Chicken Shawarma Salad: The best trick for eating gluten-free without feeling left out is to turn your favorite sandwich flavors into a salad. Forget the pita and serve shawarma-style chicken over leafy greens and crunchy veggies. Combine chicken and seasoning paste, and marinate chicken at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then bake in the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes. While the chicken cooks, chop the tomato, and arrange the vegetables onto the plates. Top the salad with sliced chicken and drizzle with the lemon-tahini dressing.
- Thursday, Sheet Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies: It’s Thursday night and I don’t want to cook. Thankfully, this sheet pan meal is so easy it’s in the oven before my dinner plans fly off the rails. Cut small red potatoes in half, take the prepped sausage and veggies out of the fridge, and cook according to the recipe. Transfer the frozen shrimp from the freezer to a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- Friday, Shrimp Fried Rice: I always end the week with a restaurant-inspired meal, and this week it’s shrimp fried rice. All of the ingredients are prepped and there’s no quicker way to cook than stir-fry, so this gluten-free dinner is on the table in a flash.
If you are looking for more gluten-free meal plans, check out another Gluten-Free Power Hour.
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.