Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Low-Carb, Summer-Inspired Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners

updated Aug 5, 2022
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low carb recipes in cooking and prep vessels on marble surface
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Summer meal planning is all about eating as much fresh produce as we possibly can in a three-month time period. After all, it is the only time of year when the vegetables at the grocery store look almost as good as they do at the farmers market. If it also feels right to focus on foods that make you feel like the best version of yourself, why not lean into that? During this time of year, that means building my meals around colorful, fresh, in-season vegetables and lean proteins, while leaving carbohydrate-focused foods for another time.

In this week’s Power Hour meal prep plan, I’ll show you how to plan, shop for, prep, and cook a week of summer-inspired meals that just happen to be lower-carb. In about two hours, you’ll be set for a week of heat-and-eat breakfasts, easy lunches, and in-season suppers. Here’s how to set yourself up for a successful week of summer meals.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: Kitchn

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Easy breakfasts that rely on protein, not carbs, to start the day.
  • Lunch: Make-ahead lunches packed with crunchy vegetables and filling protein.
  • Dinner: Farmers-market finds are the foundation for a week of low-carb dinners.
  • Nutritional goals: This week of summer-inspired meals relies on fresh, seasonal, low-carb produce and wholesome proteins.

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 4 adults
  • Prep time: About 2 hours
  • Meals covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight cooking required? Yes, but with ingredients already prepared dinner is on the table quickly.

Meal Plan





This shopping list contains everything you will need for this easy, low-carb summer meal plan. Kosher salt, black pepper, and cooking oils are not included in this list, as they are considered staple ingredients. Before you dash to the farmers market or grocery store, check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for items you may already have on hand. As always, this shopping list is organized by department to make shopping a breeze.

  • Deli: 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Dry Goods: 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon toasted (Asian) sesame oil, 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard, 2 cups salsa, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, pesto sauce, 1/2 cup nuts (pine nuts or slivered almonds), 1/4 cup seeds (sunflower, hemp, or chia)
  • Produce: 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 2 lemons, 1 container baby kale, 3 red bell peppers, 1 carrot, 1 medium head broccoli, 1 large eggplant, 10 radishes, 4 cloves garlic, 2 yellow onions, 2 shallots, 2 scallions, 3 ounces snap peas, 10 tomatoes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1/2 medium English or hothouse cucumber, 12 zucchini or summer squash (or a combination), 1 head radicchio, 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
  • Meat: 4 (4- to 6-ounce) boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • Dairy: 20 large eggs, 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 4 ounces soft goat cheese, 1 cup whole milk
  • Freezer: 16 ounces raw medium shrimp

Power Hour: How To Get the Prep Done

  1. Heat oven. Heat the oven to 375°F. 
  2. Make ratatouille. Prepare the ratatouille first, as it takes the longest to cook. Chop vegetables according to this easy ratatouille recipe. Prepare the stew in a Dutch oven, simmering for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat, cool, and transfer to food storage container(s).
  3. Roast broccoli and tomatoes for the Sheet Pan Vegetable Frittata: Halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes and cut florets from broccoli stalks and cut the stalks. Spread broccoli and tomatoes into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil and roast until broccoli is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. 
  4. Bake frittata. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl or spouted measuring cup. Pour over the roasted broccoli and tomatoes, then sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool, then cut into 12 pieces. Place in a food storage container with frittata pieces separated with parchment paper. 
  5. Make Summer Squash Shakshuka: Grate 2 pounds summer squash (by hand or using a food processor with grating attachment), slice 2 shallots, mince 2 cloves garlic, chop 1/2 pound tomatoes. Combine squash and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes (meanwhile continue on with prep list and return to this step after 30 minutes). Sauté shallots, garlic, and paprika until tender and fragrant. Squeeze liquid from the summer squash and add to the skillet with the chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine then transfer to a food storage container.
  6. Prep produce. Chicken and Veggie Chopped Salad: Prepare the following and add to a large food storage container: Dice 1 tomato, quarter lengthwise then slice crosswise 1/2 English cucumber, cut 20 snap peas into thirds, stem and quarter 10 small radishes, peel and grate 1 small carrot, thinly slice 2 scallions, chop 1/4 cup parsley leaves. Add nuts and seeds, if desired. Add cooked chicken (from rotisserie chicken). Toss to mix. Cajun Shrimp and Vegetable Foil Pack: Dice 2 summer squash, chop 2 red bell peppers, cut 8 slices of yellow onion. One-Skillet Salsa Pork Chops: Cut 1 pound zucchini and 1 pound summer squash in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Mince 2 cloves garlic.
  7. Make seasoning and dressings. Grilled Tofu: Combine garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, ground coriander and black pepper in a small lidded jar. Set aside seasoning at room temperature. Make the herb sauce in a small food processor or by hand using 1/2 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves (or a combination), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Chicken and Veggie Chopped Salad: Combine white wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, olive oil, and sesame oil in a small, lidded jar. Refrigerate.
Credit: Design: Kitchn


  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sheet Pan Veggie Frittata: Reheat a slice of frittata gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Pesto Eggs: Drop a spoonful of store-bought prepared pesto in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack an egg into the pesto and cook to desired doneness. Repeat with more pesto and eggs.


  • Monday, Tuesday, Chicken and Veggie Chopped Salad: Toss the prepared salad with dressing.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Leftovers: Don’t let any of that beautiful summer produce go to waste! Work dinner leftovers (especially the big batch of ratatouille) into the meal plan as an easy lunch. Add extras like low-carb wraps or cheese to your grocery list if you want a little something more.


  • Monday, Cajun Shrimp and Vegetable Foil Pack: Divide the prepared summer squash and red bell peppers between foil sheets. Top each with 4 ounces raw medium peeled and deveined shrimp. Season with Creole seasoning and lemon juice. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes.
  • Tuesday, Easy French Ratatouille: Reheat the ratatouille until warmed through. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with extra fresh basil if you have it!
  • Wednesday, Grilled Tofu and Caprese Salad: Drain the tofu, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Cover with a few more layers of paper towels and another baking sheet. Weigh it down with a heavy object and let it drain for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the grill, take the herb sauce out of the fridge, and prepare the caprese salad. Slice tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese 1/4-inch thick. Arrange tomatoes and cheese on a serving platter in an alternating pattern. Tear basil leaves and scatter on top. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic glaze. When tofu is ready, sprinkle evenly on all sides with the seasoning mixture. Grill tofu over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and spoon the herb sauce over the top.
  • Thursday, Summer Squash Shakshuka: Return the vegetables to an oven-safe skillet and cook over medium heat until tender and no longer releasing liquid. Because the vegetables will be cold from the fridge, expect the cook time to be about 5 minutes longer than the time listed in the recipe. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in goat cheese and fresh basil. Make 4 wells with the back of a spoon and add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil into each depression. Crack an egg into each well and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the skillet to a 375°F oven and bake until egg whites are set and yolk is soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Friday, One-Skillet Salsa Pork Chops: Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering, then sear on both sides until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. The chops won’t be cooked through, but transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to low and add more oil to the skillet. Season the prepared zucchini and squash with salt, then add to the skillet. Cook for one minute, then add the garlic. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar, then stir in 2 cups of salsa. Nestle the pork chops back into the skillet, spooning some of the vegetables over the chops. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are heated through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 145°F, 7 to 9 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro, if desired.


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.