Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Low-Carb Meals Packed with Veggies
If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, prepping your meals in advance is one of the best way to do it — and it keeps weeknight cooking to a minimum, too. This week’s meal prep plan replaces grains, beans, pasta, and carb-heavy vegetables with low-carb veggies and lean proteins. After a two-hour prep session, you’ll be set with a week’s worth of grab-and-go breakfast and lunches, and most of your dinner prep will be done. Here’s how to do it.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: A fully-cooked breakfast that’s high in protein, packed with veggies, and can be eaten warm or cold, at home or at work (five days)
- Lunch: Fully-prepped mix-and-match lunch options (five days).
- Dinner: Fully-cooked or prepped components for most dinners (four days).
- Nutritional Goals: Our primary nutritional goals for the week are vegetable-heavy, low-carb meals.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 adults
- Prep Time: About two hours
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (15 to 20 minutes of light cooking to bring dinner together)
- Produce: 1 bag baby spinach, 1 small green cabbage, 1 small red cabbage, 1 lime, 1 bunch scallions, 1 large carrot, 1 jalapeño, 1 bunch cilantro, 2 bunches chives, 1 bunch fresh rosemary, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 ½ pounds broccoli, 1 large red bell pepper, 1 large yellow bell pepper, 1 head garlic, 16 ounces fresh cauliflower rice, 1 knob ginger, 1 small yellow onion, 4 ounces sliced mushrooms, 2 medium spaghetti squash
- Meat: 1 rotisserie chicken, 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Refrigerated & frozen: 1 dozen large eggs, whole milk, 4 ounces goat cheese, 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, 1 bag shredded mozzarella, 5-ounce container Greek yogurt, 1 block extra-firm tofu, pre-cooked Italian-style meatballs, 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen butternut squash
- Pantry: 2 cans tuna, mayonnaise, 1 jar Rao’s marinara sauce
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
- Preheat the oven and press tofu: Arrange oven racks to divide the oven into thirds. While the oven heats to 375°F, wrap the drained tofu in a few layers of paper towels, set on a dinner plate, weigh it down with a skillet for 15 minutes, then drain again. Cut into cubes. Arrange on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Prep spaghetti squash: Cut two spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the insides with the oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place cut-side down in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet with a garlic clove under each piece of squash.
- Prepare crustless quiche: Steam half a bag of frozen butternut squash (you’ll use half of what’s called for in the recipe) in the microwave. Add to a 9×13-inch baking dish with spinach. Whisk together the custard according to the recipe instructions, pour over the vegetables, and top with goat cheese.
- Bake tofu, spaghetti squash, and crustless quiche: Arrange the tofu and quiche on the top oven rack and the spaghetti squash on the bottom rack. Bake the tofu and quiche for about 35 minutes and the spaghetti squash for about 45 minutes. You’ll store the spaghetti squash halves as is, and shred during the week.
- Cook cauliflower fried rice: Cook the cauliflower fried rice according to the recipe instructions, then set aside to cool.
- Bake chicken and vegetables: After removing the tofu, quiche, and spaghetti squash from the oven, increase the temperature to 450°F. Cut up the chicken breasts and vegetables, arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet, and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Prepare tuna salad: Chop up cabbage and mix together tuna salad, then divide into individual containers for grab-and-go lunches.
- Prepare taco slaw: Chop cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro for taco slaw and mix with a simple dressing. Divide among individual containers. Top two with baked tofu and the remainder with rotisserie chicken after shredding.
- Shred rotisserie chicken: Shred a rotisserie chicken. Portion some of the meat with about half of the taco slaw, and add the remainder to the cauliflower fried rice.
A Week of Low-Carb Meals Packed with Veggies
Crustless Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Spinach Quiche: The beauty of a crustless quiche is that, like many baked egg dishes, it’s just as good when eaten straight from the fridge or heated up. When time permits, reheat a slice in the oven or toaster oven. Otherwise slice and eat as-is.
All three of these grab-and-go lunches can be eaten straight from the fridge, no re-heating necessary.
Monday, Baked Chicken and Vegetables: Since the chicken and vegetables are already cooked, they just need to be reheated. I add them to a sheet pan and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
Tuesday, Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice with Shredded Rotisserie Chicken: Since the cauliflower fried rice is already cooked, reheat in a large skillet or wok on the stovetop for about 5 minutes.
Wednesday, Easy Low-Carb Meatball-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Shred the inside of two spaghetti squash halves, then mix with half the amount of sauce, cheese, and spices in the recipe. Return to squash shells, top with half the amount of meatballs and cheese in the recipe, and bake for 20 minutes.
Thursday, Leftover Baked Chicken and Vegetables: Use up the leftover chicken and veggies from Monday night. Reheat everything in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
Friday, Leftover Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs: Heat up the remaining two spaghetti squash halves in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes, then use a fork to shred the inside of each squash half. Meanwhile, heat the sauce and meatballs in a saucepan in the stovetop. Serve the shredded squash in a shallow bowl topped with meatballs and sauce.
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.