Power Hour Meal Prep

Power Hour: How I Prep a Week of Spring-Inspired Low-Carb Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners in Just Two Hours

updated Mar 18, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
Power Hour Meal Prep

Sometimes meal plans are all about ease, while others are all about comfort. In spring, I feel a renewed motivation to feed my body so that I feel like the best version of myself. Maybe you feel the same way. While eating to feel our best looks different for each of us, for me at this time of year it means filling my plate with vegetables, while leaving carb-heavy foods like rice and pasta for another time.

This week’s Power Hour meal prep plan is all about enjoying the bounty of fresh spring-inspired flavors without relying on high-carb ingredients. Set aside about two hours to prep a week of delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners filled with seasonal produce, fresh herbs, and filling protein. Here’s how to put this meal plan into action.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Breakfasts that are packed with protein and spring vegetables to start the day.
  • Lunch: Lunches that are filling and simple to prep.
  • Dinner: Dinners that are easy on prep, full of flavor, and light on carbs.
  • Nutritional Goals: This week of meals is full of fresh herbs and spring-inspired flavors. By focusing on proteins and vegetables, these low-carb meals are sure to satisfy.

Meal Prep Snapshot

  • Feeds: Four people for breakfast and dinner and two for lunch.
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: 70% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Yes. Most ingredients are prepped and dinner is easy to finish and serve.

Meal Plan




Shopping List

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this week of low-carb spring-inspired meals. Make sure to shop your pantry, fridge, and freezer for ingredients from the list that you already have on hand. Staple ingredients like vegetable and olive oils, kosher salt, and black pepper are not included in the list, so make sure to check the levels on those. I organize my shopping list by department to make getting groceries more efficient.

  • Deli: 4 ounces unsliced dry Italian salami, 16 slices deli ham
  • Produce: 1 bunch fresh chives, 3 bunches fresh parsley, 2 cups fresh basil, 6 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme, 2 avocados, 11 ounces baby spinach, 2 stalks celery, 4 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 lemons, 1 head butter lettuce (Boston or Bibb), 5 cloves garlic, 1/2 small head green cabbage, 1 small red onion, 2 romaine lettuce hearts, 1 shallot
  • Meat/Seafood: 6 slices (about 6 ounces) bacon, 8 boneless, skinless chicken chicken breasts, 12 to 16 ounces kielbasa sausage, 1 1/2 pound skin-on salmon fillet
  • Dairy: 8 ounces ciliegine (mini cherry-size mozzarella cheese balls) 4 ounces cream cheese, 20 large eggs, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/3 cup whole or 2% milk, 4 ounces shredded Italian-blend cheese, 3 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 8 ounces sour cream, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or whole-milk plain yogurt, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dry Goods: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 8 pickled pepperoncini peppers, 3/4 cup pitted mixed marinated olives, 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, pinch red pepper flakes, pinch granulated sugar, 1 (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, 1 (14-ounce) can or jar water-packed artichoke hearts, 2 (6-ounce) cans water or oil-packed tuna

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Prep bacon and tomatoes: Bake bacon at 400°F on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Once bacon is cool, coarsely chop and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Halve cherry tomatoes and refrigerate in a separate airtight container.
  2. Bake Spinach Frittata. Lower the oven’s heat to 350°F. Dice shallot and grate cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, if necessary. Whisk eggs, whole or 2% milk, cheddar, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Sauté shallot in a skillet until soft, add baby spinach and toss until just wilted. Spread the vegetables into an even layer, then pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook on the stovetop until the edges begin to set, then transfer to the oven and bake until the center is just set, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool, and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate.
  3. Make Spinach-Artichoke Baked Chicken. Soften cream cheese in the microwave. Drain and chop artichoke hearts. Mix the artichoke hearts, sour cream, baby spinach, Italian cheese, Dijon mustard, and garlic powder into the softened cream cheese. Pound the chicken breasts in a gallon-size zip-top bag until even thickness. Arrange the chicken in a broiler-safe baking dish, season with salt and pepper, then top with the spinach-artichoke mixture. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Prep Antipasto Salad: Make the dressing in a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate. Prepare the vegetables, cheese, and salami, adding to a large container or separating into individual lunch containers as you go. Cover and refrigerate.
  5. Prep Avocado Tuna Salad. Finely chop 1 small red onion, 2 stalks celery and parsley leaves. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Add vegetables to a bowl and add 2 cans tuna. Break up large pieces of tuna and mix to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Make the dressing — omitting the avocado for now. Combine grated garlic clove, lemon juice, chives, oil, and salt in a jar.
  6. Make Salad Dressing. Make a double recipe of the dressing in a lidded jar. Cover and refrigerate.
  7. Make green sauce. Combine spinach, parsley, basil, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Transfer to a lidded glass jar and refrigerate.
  8. Prep kielbasa and cabbage. Cut kielbasa sausage into 1/2-inch-wide half-moons. Refrigerate in a food storage container. Core and chop 1/2 head cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a separate container and refrigerate.
  9. Prep salmon. Place fresh rosemary, salmon, and tomatoes in a baking dish. Halve the olives and mince garlic. Scatter over the salmon, then season with the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate.
  10. Season chicken breasts. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with a mixture of Italian seasoning, kosher salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate.
Credit: Design: Kitchn
Credit: Olive & Mango


  • Monday and Tuesday, Spinach Frittata: Reheat wedges of spinach frittata in the microwave or under the broiler. 
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Green Eggs and Ham: Remove the sauce from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. If the sauce has separated, whisk to combine. Follow the instructions to prepare the eggs and ham.


  • Monday and Tuesday, Antipasto Salad: Remove dressing from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Shake to combine. Drizzle dressing over a serving of antipasto salad and toss to coat.
  • Wednesday and Thursday, BLT Lettuce Wraps with Avocado: Pile crumbled bacon, prepared tomatoes, and diced avocado into lettuce leaves. Drizzle with some of the creamy salad dressing from Tuesday’s dinner.
  • Friday, Leftovers: Don’t let any of your meal prep go to waste. Use lunch and dinner leftovers from the week as a final effort to clear out the fridge.


  • Monday, Slow-Roasted Salmon: Slow-roast the salmon according to the slow roasted salmon recipe. Cut into portions and serve with the tomatoes and olives. 
  • Tuesday, Air Fryer Chicken Breast with Salad: Heat an air fryer to 400°F or 425°F (depending on your appliance) and cook until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165°F, 20 to 30 minutes. Work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Divide salad greens among serving bowls, dress with the prepared Two-Minute Creamy Salad Dressing, then top with sliced chicken. Make sure to reserve some of the dressing for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Wednesday, Avocado Tuna Salad: Dice 1/2 avocado and mix with the tuna salad. Mash the remaining avocado half until smooth and whisk into the dressing. Pour the dressing over the tuna salad and stir to combine.
  • Thursday, Spinach-Artichoke Baked Chicken: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator while the oven heats. Uncover and bake at 400°F in the middle of the oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with more shredded Italian cheese and broil until cheese melts and is browned. 
  • Friday, Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet: Prepare the skillet dinner using the prepared kielbasa and cabbage.


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.