Cooking for One

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Meals for One in Just 2 Hours

updated Jun 30, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Olwen Phillips
Credit: The Kitchn

The great thing about cooking for one? You get to cook whatever you feel like eating! The downside? You’re often left swimming in leftovers.

This Power Hour Meal Prep Plan celebrates you, the solo cook. We’re here to show you that meal planning for one doesn’t have to mean cooking a big pot of chili on Sunday and reheating portions all week. Instead, flexibility is the name of the game. By preparing a handful of versatile staples, you can keep your meals feeling fresh all the way through Friday.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Olwen Phillips

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: One simple packable choice with a mix-and-match option to keep it varied (five days).
  • Lunch: Feel-good options that also can be mix-and-matched (five days).
  • Dinner: Prepped components that can easily be transformed into delicious dinners (four days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Generally wholesome meals that don’t skimp on flavor.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: One adult
  • Prep Time: Under two hours
  • Meals Covered: About 75% (no Friday dinner or weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (20 to 30 minutes of easy cooking to bring dinner together).

Meal Plan

Breakfast 

Lunch 

Dinner 

Credit: The Kitchn

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is filled with vegetables, fruit, and lean protein, plus a few pantry items. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 bunch bananas, 2 shallots, 1 bunch fresh dill, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh parsley, 5 ounces baby spinach, 1 head garlic, 1 lemon, 1 bag coleslaw mix, 1 avocado
  • Meat: 1 rotisserie chicken, 1 (6-ounce) frozen salmon fillet
  • Refrigerated: Milk, Greek yogurt, unsalted butter, heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella
  • Pantry: Old-fashioned rolled oats, maple syrup, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, roasted unsalted almonds, mayonnaise, 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, ground cumin, sherry vinegar, dry lasagna noodles, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, chili powder, salsa
  • Other: Whole wheat pita bread, corn tortillas
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Kitchn

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Shred rotisserie chicken: Pull the meat off of the rotisserie chicken and shred it with your hands or a fork.
  2. Make chicken salad: Prepare a half recipe of the Yogurt Dill Chicken Salad using 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken.
  3. Assemble lasagna roll ups: Prepare Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll-Ups but do not bake them. Wrap the baking dish of unbaked roll-ups with aluminum foil. Save the remaining unused shredded chicken for Rotisserie Chicken Tacos.
  4. Make tomato chickpea salad: Prepare the Tomato Chickpea Salad according to recipe instructions. 
  5. Make overnight oats: Prepare Overnight Oats according to recipe instructions and divide among 5 individual jars.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Breakfast

Grab a jar of overnight oats and top it with roasted almonds and blueberries or sliced banana.

Lunch

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, Yogurt Dill Chicken Salad: Each day, either enjoy some of the chicken salad stuffed inside a whole wheat pita or serve it over baby spinach.

Monday and Wednesday, Tomato Chickpea Salad: Pack up a generous portion of the chickpea salad and bring along some pita triangles, if you like, to go along with it.

Dinner

Monday, Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll-Ups: Bake the lasagna roll-ups covered loosely with foil for 20 minutes, then uncovered until browned and bubbly, another 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy alongside some baby spinach tossed with a lemon juice and olive oil.

Tuesday, Baked Salmon with Tomato Chickpea Salad: Cook the salmon fillet (no need to defrost) according to recipe instructions and serve it with some of the tomato chickpea salad.

Wednesday, Rotisserie Chicken Tacos: Use the remaining shredded chicken to make a few tacos topped with coleslaw mix, diced avocado, salsa, and a dollop of Greek yogurt, if you like.

Thursday, Leftover Lasagna Roll-Ups: Rewarm the remaining lasagna roll-ups in the oven or microwave and enjoy with another baby spinach salad.

Friday: Head out to dinner with friends!

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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.