Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Meals with Fresh Vegetables, Fruits, and Grains

updated Jan 25, 2023
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power hour of different prepped meals
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

While I’ve never really subscribed to a particular diet (save for those couple of rounds of Whole30), I have long made a point of leaning on feel-good meals loaded with fresh produce, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.

This week’s Power Hour walks you through the planning, shopping, and meal prep for a week of feel-good, cozy meals (it is winter, after all!) that put whole grains and fresh produce at the center of the plate (think: big-batch baked oatmeal, loaded taco bowls, one-pot sweet potato curry, and a hearty chopped salad). Let’s get cooking.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: A wholesome, hearty breakfast with whole grains and fruit that’s totally made in advance (five days).
  • Lunch: A filling veggie-packed lunch that will keep me going all afternoon (five days).
  • Dinner: Planted-based meals with vegetables and whole grains at the center of the plate (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: This week’s plan is focused on kicking off the year with a week of wholesome, feel-good meals loaded with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. 

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep time: About 2 hours
  • Meals covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight cooking required? Moderate. Light cooking or reheating is required throughout the week, although it’s mostly hands-off and takes 20 minutes or less.

Meal Plan




This shopping list contains everything you will need to prepare a week of feel-good plant-based meals, packed with vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. It assumes cooking basics like cooking oils, salt, and pepper are already in your kitchen. Before heading to the grocery store, compare this list to the contents of your pantry, fridge, and freezer to avoid buying ingredients that you already have on hand.

  • Produce: 1 container raspberries, 1 container blueberries, 2 heads garlic, 1-inch piece fresh ginger, 4 medium bell peppers (any color), 4 large stalks celery (or 8 small), 1 medium English cucumber, 1 small red onion, 1 medium shallot, 1 head iceberg lettuce, 2 heads radicchio, 1 ripe avocado, 2 medium limes, 1 medium lemon, 7 ounces baby spinach, 3 medium sweet potatoes, 3/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, 1 small bunch fresh parsley (optional)
  • Refrigerated & Frozen: 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 6 large eggs, 6 cups dairy or unsweetened non-dairy milk, 12 ounces feta cheese, 1/2 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream, pico de gallo (optional), 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 package frozen brown rice
  • Pantry: 1/2 cup maple syrup (or substitute brown sugar or coconut sugar), 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 cup pearled farro, 1 cup quinoa, 1 small jar pickled pepperoncinis, 3 cans chickpeas, 1 can black beans, 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons vegan Thai red curry paste, 1 can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, 8  ounces dried fusilli or other small tubular pasta, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Heat oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. While the oven heats up, get the farro going and assemble the oatmeal.
  2. Cook farro. Cook 1 cup pearled farro (double the amount in the recipe) for the Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad, according to the recipe instructions. Drain and return to the saucepan to cool.
  3. Bake oatmeal. Doubling the recipe and using a 9×13-inch baking dish, assemble the Baked Oatmeal according to the recipe instructions. Stir in fresh blueberries and raspberries. Instead of chilling overnight, bake immediately, until puffed and the center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool completely, cover, and store in the refrigerator.
  4. Cook quinoa. For the Quinoa Taco Bowls, cook the quinoa according to the recipe instructions (do not dice the avocado and make the yogurt sauce until serving). Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and spinach. Cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container.
  5. Make vinaigrette. Doubling the recipe, stir together the vinaigrette for the Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad in a large bowl. Pour half into an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator.
  6. Assemble salad: Prepare the following for the Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad, adding to the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette once complete: Core, seed, and dice 4 bell peppers. Dice 4 large or 8 small celery stalks. Dice 1 English cucumber. Thinly slice 1 small red onion into half-moons. Slice 16 small pepperoncinis (about 1/2 cup). If needed, cut 12 ounces feta cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas. Add the farro to the vinaigrette bowl and toss to combine. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Core and chop 1 head of iceberg lettuce into thin strips. Core and chop 2 heads radicchio into thin strips. Transfer both to a large airtight container, toss to combine, and refrigerate.
  7. Prep vegetables. For the Sweet Potato Curry: Peel and cut 2 medium sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and drain and rinse 1 can chickpeas. Refrigerate together in a large airtight container. For the Lemony Brussels Sprout Pasta: To halve the recipe, trim and thinly slice 3/4 pounds Brussels sprouts (about 1 1/4 cups). Refrigerate in a small airtight container.
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen


  • Baked Oatmeal with berries: Each morning scoop a portion into a bowl, add a splash of milk to loosen the oatmeal, and gently heat in the microwave.


  • Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad: Each day, toss together equal amounts of the chickpea mixture and lettuce mixture. Drizzle with the reserved dressing, if desired. 


  • Monday and Wednesday, Smoky Quinoa Taco Bowls with Fried Eggs: Stir together the yogurt sauce according to the recipe instruction. Refrigerate half in an airtight container. Each night, gently reheat half of the quinoa mixture, fry 2 large eggs, and dice half an avocado. Divide the quinoa among two bowls and top with a fried egg, avocado, pico de gallo, and yogurt sauce. Dinner hits the table in about 10 minutes.
  • Tuesday and Friday, Sweet Potato Curry: On Tuesday night prepare the sweet potato curry in a deep skillet or Dutch oven, according to the recipe. While the curry simmers, heat the package of frozen brown rice. Divide half the rice and curry among two bowls. Refrigerate leftovers in separate airtight containers. Gently reheat the leftovers on Thursday night.
  • Thursday, Lemony Brussel Sprouts Pasta: Tonight you’ll scale down the recipe by half. Most of the chopping is done, so you’ll cook the pasta according to the recipe instructions. You dig into a cozy bowl of veggie pasta in just under 20 minutes.