Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Keto Meals for the Grill

updated May 29, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn

Thinking of trying the ketogenic diet? Summertime is the best (and easiest!) time to start tracking macros and keeping carbs in check. As the temperatures rise, carb-heavy casseroles are no longer en vogue. Instead, fill your plate with flavorful marinated meat and crunchy fresh vegetables that happen to be perfect for the grill and the keto diet .

It’s around this time every year that I trade my oven for the grill, so for this Power Hour I’ll show you how I prep a week of low-carb and keto-friendly grilled lunches and dinners for two adults (plus breakfast for us and breakfast and dinner for two preschoolers). The foods I plan and prep need minimal supplementation for the non-keto eaters in my family — namely just a few essentials like extra fruit and mac and cheese for the little ones.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Breakfast for my husband, two preschoolers, and me (5 days).
  • Lunch: Lunch for my husband and me (five days).
  • Dinner: Dinner for my husband, two preschoolers, and me (5 days).
  • Nutritional Goals: The goal for this week’s meal plan is to keep macros within the recommended range for the keto diet. That means 60 to 75% of calories come from fat, 15 to 30% of calories come from protein, and 5 to 10% of calories come from carbohydrates.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Four people for breakfast and dinner, two for lunch.
  • Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required: Moderate. Dinner elements are prepared, but require cooking on the grill to get dinner to the table.

My Meal Plan

Breakfasts

Lunches

Dinners

Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano

My Shopping List

These are the ingredients I bought or used for this meal prep plan. I shop my pantry and fridge first, and rely on staples including kosher salt, black pepper, and oil.

  • Produce: 11 avocados, 2 heads butter lettuce, 8 limes, 6 lemons, 3 English cucumbers, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1 head garlic, 1 small head red cabbage, grated carrots, 4 jalapeños, lemongrass (or 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste), 1 small hand fresh ginger, 1 large bunch (12 ounces) lacinato kale, 1 pound broccoli, 1 pound asparagus, 1 bunch scallions, fresh mint, cilantro
  • Dairy: 32 large eggs, 1 pound cream cheese, 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt, 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, extra cheese (for snacking)
  • Grocery: 1 cup almond flour, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sesame seeds, ground cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, baking powder, brown sugar, dill pickles
  • Meat and Seafood: 1 1/2 pounds rib-eye steak, 2 pounds ground beef, 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 12 ounces thick-cut (sugar-free) bacon, 1 (1- to 1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin, 1 1/2 pounds large (20 to 25 per pound) shrimp
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Patty Catalano
Power Hour Keto Grill

When I’m learning the ins and outs of a new eating regimen like keto, I’ve found it’s best to avoid convenience foods in order to better understand what I’m eating. Since I’m not taking any shortcuts, I’ve set aside two to three hours to prep meals for the week.

For this Power Hour, I’m prepping food by category, meaning I’ll prep all the produce first, then make the dressings and marinades, before moving onto the meat. I pull out my largest cutting board and a few rimmed baking sheets to corral the chopped and sliced vegetables. Follow along with the printable prep list and menu below.

  1. Soak and freeze wooden skewers. You’ll need several wooden skewers for grilling asparagus and shrimp. Fill a 9×13-inch baking dish with water and submerge the skewers for at least 30 minutes. Wrap soaked skewers in plastic wrap and freeze.
  2. Heat the grill to high.
  3. Prep produce for all recipes: Taco Slaw: Shred cabbage, juice lime (1 tablespoon), slice scallions, chop cilantro, mince jalapeño and garlic. Salt and drain cabbage for 15 minutes; toss with prepped veggies. Thai Grilled Steak Salad: Juice lime (1/4 cup), thinly slice cucumber, halve cherry tomatoes, thinly slice red onion, tear lettuce. Grilled Shrimp: Juice lemon, mince 2 garlic cloves and 5 mint leaves. Lemongrass Grilled Chicken: Juice lime (2 tablespoons), chop lemongrass (or use paste), mince 2 garlic cloves. Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodles: Grate ginger, spiralize cucumbers. Kale Caesar Salad: Zest and juice 2 lemons, tear and massage kale. Jalapeño Grilled Chicken: Peel 6 garlic cloves, quarter 3 limes, seed and cut 3 jalapeños in thirds. Place in gallon zip-top bag with olive oil, salt, and cumin; pound with a rolling pin. Grilled Parmesan Broccoli: Zest and juice 1 lemon, cut broccoli into 2-inch-wide florets. Combine lemon juice, oil, broccoli in gallon zip-top bag, and the Parmesan and red pepper flakes in jar. Place lemon zest in a small jar covered with damp paper towel. Grilled Asparagus: Thinly slice 1/2 lemon; wrap bottoms of asparagus in a wet paper towel or stand upright in a jar of water.
  4. Make dressings and marinades. Follow the recipes (omitting sugar where applicable) and portion the dressings and marinades into jars. Store separately from the meat or vegetables, except for the kale salad. The kale tenderizes as it sits with the dressing, so combine it with a portion of the dressing.
  5. Prep meat for all recipes. Thai Grilled Steak Salad: Salt the steak; grill on high 4 to 5 minutes per side. Rest 5 minutes; slice. Add accumulated juices to dressing. Beef & Bacon Burger: Follow the recipe, but don’t grind the meat. Rinse the blender and add the bacon; pulse until finely chopped. Combine with ground beef, salt, and pepper; form into patties. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet; freeze. Once frozen, transfer to zip-top bag. Grilled Pork Tenderloin: Remove silver skin; transfer pork to a zip-top bag. Make the rub, omitting the sugar, and store separately. Jalapeño Grilled Chicken: Pound chicken 1/2-inch thick; store in zip-top bag.
  6. Assemble Thai Grilled Steak Salad. Use the grilled steak and prepared produce to assemble salads for lunch, making sure to keep the dressing separate.
  7. Mix batter and cook 5-Ingredient Cream Cheese Pancakes.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Breakfast

Breakfasts alternate between scrambled eggs with avocado (Net Carb: 2 grams) and 5-Ingredient Cream Cheese Pancakes (Net Carb: 3 grams). I enjoy the pancakes without toppings, but if you’ve got the nutritional wiggle room, try a swipe of nut butter or a few berries.

Lunch

Monday and Wednesday: I pack a Thai Grilled Steak Salad for lunch (Net Carb: 4 grams).

Tuesday and Friday: I make lettuce wraps for lunch using dinner leftovers. On Tuesday, I fill them with sliced Lemongrass Grilled Chicken and avocado (Net Carb: 7 grams). On Friday, I do the same with leftover Jalapeño Grilled Chicken (Net Carb: 8 grams) .

Thursday: I top leftover slaw from Wednesday’s dinner with the remaining shrimp from Tuesday. Adding sliced avocado makes it a meal (Net Carb: 11 grams).

Dinner

Monday, Lemongrass Grilled Chicken and Saucy Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodle: Combine the marinade and the chicken and set aside. Heat the grill and toss the cucumber noodles with the dressing. Grill the chicken about 5 minutes per side. Slice and reserve some chicken for lunch on Tuesday (Net Carb: 9 grams).

Tuesday, Grilled Shrimp and 5-Ingredient Kale Caesar Salad: Toss yogurt marinade and shrimp together and set aside. Heat the grill. Take the salad out of the refrigerator and add more dressing, if desired. Remove a few soaked skewers from the freezer and thread the shrimp onto skewers. Grill 2 minutes per side. Reserve some shrimp for lunch on Thursday. Add the pounded chicken breasts to the bag of jalapeños and limes. Refrigerate overnight (Net Carb: 13 grams).

Wednesday, Jalapeño Grilled Chicken, Easy Taco Slaw, and avocado: Heat the grill. Grill chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Slice and reserve some chicken for lunch on Friday. Serve chicken with slaw and diced avocado. Transfer burgers from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight (Net Carb: 10 grams).

Thursday, Beef & Bacon Burgers and Grilled Parmesan Broccoli: Heat the grill. Cook burgers to desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, lettuce, red onion, and pickles. Toss broccoli with cheese and red pepper flake mixture, then grill until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Top with lemon zest and serve. Pat the spice rub onto the pork tenderloin, return to a zip-top bag, and refrigerate overnight (Net Carb: 10 grams).

Friday, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Asparagus, and cheese: Heat the grill for indirect heat. Remove a few soaked skewers from the freezer. Toss asparagus with oil and salt. Thread onto the skewers with lemon slices. Grill the pork tenderloin and the asparagus, then set the meat aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with a few slices of cheese (Net Carb: 5 grams).

A Note on Keto Calculations

I used the nutritional information provided with each of Kitchn’s recipes for most of the recipes. Where I made changes to recipes (omitting sugar or bread, for example) I used another nutritional analysis program to determine the values.

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If you are following the keto diet, I hope this meal plan gives you inspiration for another week of cooking.

We also have more Power Hour Meal Prep plans for all kinds of cooks and eaters! Check out all the plans we have so far.

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 a few hours of Power Hour prep over the weekend. Every plan is different; mix and match to find your own personal sweet spot.