How I Prep a Week of Low-Carb, Fall-Inspired Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners
Every fall I crave the same foods — comforting casseroles, steaming bowls of soup, and slow-simmered suppers. These meals often rely on pasta, rice, and potatoes for bulk. While we all feed our bodies in different ways, I find myself choosing those foods in moderation when I want to feel my best. In their place, I prefer to add spices and prepare variety of vegetables in different ways to develop flavor and texture.
In this week’s Power Hour Meal Prep Plan, we will show you how to plan, shop, prep, and cook for a week of low-carb meals that are perfect for fall. Once you have all of your groceries on hand, pencil in about two hours to prep meals for the week. With your ingredients chopped, par-cooked, and portioned, putting dinner on the table will be a breeze. Here’s is the play-by-play for this autumn-inspired low-carb meal plan.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: Ease into the morning with a high-protein and veggie-packed breakfast.
- Lunch: A comforting midday meal to fuel your afternoon hours.
- Dinner: Cozy and filling dinners with lean proteins and in-season produce.
- Nutritional goals: This week of fall meals relies on autumnal vegetables and classic cold-weather flavor combinations for this low-carb meal plan.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 4 people
- Prep time: About 2 hours
- Meals covered: About 70% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight cooking required? Yes, but ingredients are prepped and meals are easy to bring to the table.
- Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata Cups (triple the recipe)
- Coconut Cauliflower Soup (double the recipe and omit topping)
This shopping list contains everything you will need to prepare a week of fall-inspired meals. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand. Additionally, compare this list to the contents of your pantry, fridge, and freezer to avoid buying ingredients that you already have on hand.
- Dry goods: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, pinch (optional) cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons garam masala, 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 2 cups beef broth, 2 (15-ounce) cans coconut milk, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- Dairy: 16 ounces cottage cheese, 27 large eggs, 3/4 cup goat cheese, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 11 tablespoons (about 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- Produce: 2 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, 1 sprig fresh parsley (optional), 13 garlic cloves, 3 large heads cauliflower, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, 6 cups lacinato kale, 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) spaghetti squash, 1 lemon, 1/2 small head green cabbage, 3 yellow onion, 2 scallions, 8 ounces sliced cremini onions
- Meat/seafood: 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, 12 to 16 ounces kielbasa sausage, 1 pound lean ground beef
- Frozen: Riced cauliflower (for serving), 3 cups broccoli florets
Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done
- Roast cauliflower for Coconut Cauliflower Soup and Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry. Cut 1 1/2 large heads cauliflower into florets, then toss with olive oil on rimmed baking sheets. Spread into a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes at 375°F, stirring halfway through. Reserve 1/3 of the roasted cauliflower for soup and refrigerate the remaining cauliflower. Note: This does not include roasted cauliflower for topping the soup.
- Prepare Coconut Cauliflower Soup. Double this recipe. Cut 1 large head cauliflower into florets and add to a large pot. Add the water, coconut milk, turmeric, salt, ginger, garlic, and pepper to the pot; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the one-third of the roasted cauliflower, and blend until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. Transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate.
- Make Butter Chicken. Prepare the butter chicken according to this recipe. Transfer to a food storage container, cool, then refrigerate.
- Bake Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata Cups. Chop kale into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cook garlic until fragrant, then add kale and red pepper flake. Cook until wilted. Because this recipe is tripled, you may need to work in batches. Whisk eggs, salt, pepper, kale, and thyme together in a large bowl. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin tins with cooking spray and divide the frittata mixture between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with goat cheese. Bake until set, 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the tins, and cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.
- Make Broccoli and Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Cut spaghetti squash in half and cook in the microwave. Whisk 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, 3 large eggs, kosher salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in unthawed frozen broccoli florets and the strands of the cooked spaghetti squash. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and refrigerate.
- Prep Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet. Halve the kielbasa lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Core and chop 1/2 head green cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Refrigerate separately in airtight containers.
- Prep Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry. Cut 6 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, thinly slice 1 small onion, thinly slice 5 cloves garlic, cut 2 scallions crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Refrigerate each ingredient separately.
- Prep Hamburger Steak. Thinly slice 1 yellow onion and 8 ounces cremini mushrooms. Store together in the refrigerator. Combine 1 pound ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Divide meat into 4 (4-ounce) portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick and 4-inch-wide patties. Season all over with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.
- Monday through Friday, Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata Cups: Reheat in the microwave until warm.
- Monday through Thursday, Coconut Cauliflower Soup: Reheat the soup in the microwave until warm.
- Friday, leftovers from dinner. Now’s the time to use up any loose ends from the week. Pack any leftovers from breakfast, lunch, or dinner to clear the refrigerator before the weekend.
- Monday, Hamburger Steak. Cook hamburger patties, 2 at a time, in a large skillet until a curst forms on each side, then transfer to a plate. Sauté onions and mushrooms with kosher salt in butter until soft. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the hamburger patties to the skillet and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Tuesday, Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry. Prepare the stir-fry according to the recipe and serve over steamed cauliflower rice, if desired.
- Wednesday, Broccoli and Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Take the casserole dish out of the refrigerator and uncover while the oven heats to 350°F. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the casserole reads 160°F, the edges bubble, and the cheese topping melts.
- Thursday, Butter Chicken. Return the butter chicken to the pot in which it was cooked. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat until heated through completely. Prepare frozen riced cauliflower according to package directions. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve butter chicken over warm riced cauliflower.
- Friday, Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet. Melt butter in a large skillet and cook caraway seeds and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add the prepared kielbasa and cook until browned. Add the prepared cabbage, kosher salt, and black pepper to the skillet, and cook until the cabbage is lightly browned and tender. Stir in whole-grain mustard and apple cider vinegar.
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.