Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Low-Carb, High-Protein Meals

updated Jan 5, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe
Credit: The Kitchn

Getting enough protein is important for staying fueled throughout the day — and that’s especially true if you’re cutting carbs as source of energy. Luckily it’s pretty easy to up the protein in your diet while keeping the carb count down.

This week’s Power Hour is all about low-carb, high-protein meals. Set aside a little less than two hours to meal prep, and when you’re done you’ll have prepped a week of high-protein breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. You’ll only need 10 to 15 minutes of light cooking on the weeknights to pull together dinner, while breakfast and lunch are ready to eat. Here’s how pull this meal prep plan off.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: One ready-to-eat option that will power your morning (five days).
  • Lunch: Two mix-and-match choices that are balanced and satisfying (five days).
  • Dinner: Quick meals that don’t require too much work on a busy weeknight and fit your dietary needs (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Each meal clocks in under 8 grams of total carbohydrates and over 20 grams of protein per serving.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Snapshot

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults
  • Prep Time: Under 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Light (10 to 15 minutes of cooking and reheating)

Meal Plan

Breakfast

Lunches

Dinners

Credit: The Kitchn

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is a mix of staples that are naturally low in carbs and high in protein, like beef, poultry, eggs, and vegetables. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, 1 large yellow onion, 1 bag or clamshell baby spinach, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 medium cucumber, 1 bunch fresh oregano, 1 bunch fresh parsley, 1 lemon, 2 large shallots, 1 bunch fresh dill, 1 bag cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen), 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, 1 pound zucchini, 1 bunch scallions, 1 head bibb or Boston lettuce
  • Meat and Deli: 8 ounces uncooked pork breakfast sausage, 1 rotisserie chicken, 12 ounces bacon, 2 pounds ground beef, 1 pound ground pork
  • Refrigerated: 10 (4-ounce) cups 4% milk-fat cottage cheese (such as Breakstone’s), 1 dozen large eggs, 1 tub plain whole-milk yogurt
  • Pantry: Ghee, 2 (5-ounce) cans oil-packed tuna, 1 jar pitted Kalamata olives, chili powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, hot smoked paprika (optional), cayenne pepper (optional), tomato paste, 2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth, red wine vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, sambal oelek or Asian chili-garlic sauce, toasted (Asian) sesame oil
  • Other: Low-carb tortillas, 1/2 cup dry red wine
Credit: The Kitchn

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Make the chili: Start by preparing the chili according to the Easy Keto Chili recipe instructions. Let it simmer while you prepare the egg muffins. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Make the egg muffins. Heat the oven to 400°F and prepare the egg muffins according to Easy Paleo Breakfast Egg Muffins recipe instructions. Cool completely, wrap, and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Make the chicken salad. Pull the meat off the rotisserie chicken, shred it, and use it to make the Yogurt and Dill Chicken Salad. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  4. Make the tuna salad. Assemble the tuna salad according to the Greek-Style Tuna Salad recipe instructions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. Prep the sauce and veggies for the stir-fry. Whisk together the sauce and slice the zucchini for the Spicy Ground Pork and Zucchini Stir-Fry. Store both separately in the refrigerator.
Credit: Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A Week of Easy Low-Carb, High-Protein Meals

Breakfast

Enjoy an egg muffin cold, at room temperature, or warmed in the microwave and pair it with a cottage cheese cup.

Lunch

Choose between tuna salad or chicken salad. Serve either wrapped in a low-carb tortilla or over a bed of baby spinach.

Dinners

  • Monday, Keto Chili: Rewarm servings of the chili. Garnish bowls with a dollop of yogurt and sliced scallions.
  • Tuesday, Spicy Ground Pork & Zucchini Stir-Fry: Make the stir-fry using the prepped sauce and zucchini. Warm the cauliflower rice according to package directions and serve half of the stir-fry over it, saving the rest for Friday’s dinner.
  • Wednesday, Chili Shakshuka: Place half of the leftover chili in a medium skillet and rewarm, adding a splash of water or broth to make it a bit saucy. Make four divots in the chili and crack an egg into each. Cover and simmer gently until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  • Thursday, Leftover Chili: Rewarm the last bit of chili and garnish with yogurt and scallions.
  • Friday, Spicy Pork Lettuce Wraps: Rewarm the leftover stir-fry in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave and serve scooped into lettuce leaves.

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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.