Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of High-Protein Meals in Just 2 Hours
Whether you’ve been following a high-protein diet for a while or are looking to get started this week, we’ve put together a week of satisfying, protein-packed meals — all the way from breakfast through dinner — that you can prep in just one (two-hour) session. Here’s what we’re cooking.
My Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: Easy grab-and-go breakfasts that are filling enough to fuel busy mornings, thanks to a focus on protein (5 days).
- Lunch: High-protein lunches that provide a balance of carbs and fat to keep us full until dinner (5 days).
- Dinner: Dinners that are quick-cooking and focus on maximizing protein intake to finish out the day (5 days).
- Nutritional Goals: Well-balanced family meals that provide a hefty dose of protein throughout the day.
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? Meal components are prepped, and dinners require about 30 minutes of mostly hands-off cooking.
My Meal Plan
My Shopping List
This is the list of ingredients that I bought or used for this week’s meal plan. I always shop my pantry and refrigerator before grocery shopping and rely on staples like vegetable and olive oils, kosher salt, and black pepper. This week I’m using a variety of spices to add flavor, many of which you probably have in your pantry already, so check there before heading to the grocery store. Note: In order to make enough muffins to last the week I plan to double the recipe.
- Produce: 1 avocado, 12 ounces broccoli slaw, 1 bunch chives, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 bunch parsley, 1 head garlic, 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, 1 lemon, 3 limes, 3 yellow onions, 1 red onion, 5 red or orange bell peppers, 1 small head red cabbage (or radicchio), romaine lettuce, 1 tomato, 3 zucchini, 1 (16-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
- Meat & Seafood: 3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8), 1 pound flank steak, 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
- Dairy: Unsalted butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère cheese, 10 large eggs, Greek yogurt or sour cream, almond milk
- Dry Goods: Cornichon pickles, roasted red peppers, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, smooth peanut butter, salsa, almond meal, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, dried basil, dried oregano, garam masala, garlic powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, roasted peanuts, 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, coconut milk, 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, tomato paste, vinaigrette salad dressing, tortillas
- Bakery: Baguette
- Deli: 8 ounces unsmoked thinly sliced ham
- Freezer: 1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, shelled edamame, frozen rice or cauliflower rice
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
- Bake cottage cheese muffins. You’ll want to prep a double batch of this recipe to make enough to last the week (you’ll get 18 to 20 muffins total). Turn the oven on and whisk the batter together (there’s no gluten in these muffins, thanks almond meal and cornmeal, so don’t worry about overmixing). The muffins will stick to paper liners, so avoid those and instead generously grease the muffin tins. Bake for about 30 minutes, cool, then store in the refrigerator.
- Prep produce. Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing: Thinly slice 1 bell pepper. Ground Beef Taco Casserole: Dice 1 yellow onion and 1 bell pepper, mince 2 cloves garlic, wash and chop romaine. Grilled Vegetables: Quarter 1 bell pepper and 1 red onion, slice 1 zucchini into rectangles. Warm Fajita Steak Salad: Slice half yellow onion and 2 bell peppers and store together. Chop romaine and shred cabbage, store together. Halve cherry tomatoes. Instant Pot Butter Chicken: Chop 1 yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 (2-inch) piece ginger. Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach and Cheese: Thaw and squeeze moisture from frozen spinach, grate half yellow onion and mince garlic.
- Make Instant Pot butter chicken. Prep the recipe as written. Reserve 2 cups of the sauce after cooking to freeze for dinner another week. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, toss with remaining sauce, and portion into lunch containers.
- Press tofu. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels or clean tea towel. Place tofu on the plate and cover with more paper towels. Cover with a second plate and set a large can of tomatoes (or other heavy weight) on top. Set aside for about 30 minutes to remove some moisture. Discard paper towels and refrigerate tofu.
- Make taco casserole. Using this recipe, sauté the beef first, then cook the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Add beef, beans, and seasonings and stir to combine. Stir in the salsa and 3/4 cup cheese. Transfer to a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate.
- Assemble stuffed chicken breasts. Make the filling: Combine cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, garlic, and salt. Cut a pocket into the chicken breasts, stuff with spinach and filling. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.
- Prep pork tenderloin. Make the spice rub. Remove the silver skin, then rub spices over pork. Wrap in plastic wrap, or transfer to a storage container, and refrigerate.
- Make dressings. Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing: Whisk ingredients in a small bowl, transfer to a storage container. Grilled Vegetables: Make herby dressing in a lidded jar and refrigerate. Warm Fajita Steak Salad: Make dressing in a small lidded jar and refrigerate.
- Assemble ham and cheese sandwiches. Follow this recipe. Cut baguette in half lengthwise; spread each side with butter to create a waterproof barrier (preventing sogginess). Spread bottom side with mustard, then layer Gruyère, ham, and sliced cornichons. Replace top half; cut into 6-inch portions. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap or store in a container and refrigerate.
- Cottage Cheese Muffins with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta. (Protein: 11 grams) Grab a breakfast muffin from the fridge and eat chilled, or slice in half and toast until warm. These muffins are packed with protein from cottage cheese and almond meal, keeping us full until lunch.
- Monday, Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing with Baked Tofu: (Protein: 23 grams) Pull peanut dressing from the fridge to bring to room temperature for easy mixing. Prepare and bake the tofu as recipe instructs. Toss broccoli slaw and julienned bell pepper together; divide between serving bowls. Top with the baked tofu, crushed peanuts, and cilantro. Drizzle with the peanut sauce.
- Tuesday, Ground Beef Taco Casserole: (Protein: 30 grams) Take the baking dish out of the fridge while the oven heats to take the chill off. Bake, but remember it’ll probably take a few minutes longer than the recipe states because it is cold from the fridge and not carrying the residual heat of the stove. While it bakes, dice the tomato and pull the chopped lettuce and Greek yogurt or sour cream from the fridge. I like to serve a scoop of casserole on top of a bed of lettuce, while my kids use tortilla chips to scoop the casserole. And cheese — there’s gotta be extra shredded cheese.
- Wednesday, Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach and Cheese: (Protein: 62 grams) Cook the stuffed chicken breast in a skillet — I use my 12-inch cast iron skillet to give myself room to maneuver. I still have extra chopped romaine to use up this week, so I serve a simple salad with a store-bought vinaigrette.
- Thursday, Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Protein: 28 grams) with Grilled Vegetables: (Protein: 6 grams) Tonight’s dinner is my favorite of the week and it couldn’t be easier because it’s all made on the grill. Take the pork, vegetables, and the dressing out of the refrigerator before heating the grill to take the chill off. Make sure to shake the dressing well to emulsify.
- Friday, Warm Fajita Steak Salad: (Protein: 18 grams) Season and cook steak in a skillet, then set aside to rest. Cook the prepped onions and peppers in the same skillet. Divide romaine and cabbage between bowls and top with steak, onions, and peppers. My kids get a deconstructed salad and a quartered cheese quesadilla.
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.