A Week of Family-Friendly Low-Carb Meals
If you’re following a low-carb diet, for whatever reason, it can be a little tricky to follow your own diet while still feeding your family well. You don’t want to be too restrictive with what you serve your kids, but you also don’t want to have to make two separate meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The goal of this Power Hour is to alleviate some of this stress and strain. In about two hours, you’ll have prepped a week of easy meals that satisfy your low-carb needs without sacrificing deliciousness and balance — for both you and your kids.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: Two quick options that can be enjoyed as a low-carb or regular choice to please all eaters (five days).
- Lunch: Two ready-to-eat choices that can be made low-carb or not (five days).
- Dinner: Simple, family-friendly options that just so happen to be low-carb (four days).
- Nutritional Goals: A flexible week that meets the dietary needs of the adults eating low-carb but can also be made balanced and not low-carb for the kids without much effort.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 adults + 2 children
- Prep Time: About 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 75% (no Friday dinner or weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (10 to 30 minutes of simple cooking and reheating)
- Pesto Chicken Salad
- Mix-and-Match Cold Cuts
This week’s shopping list is a mix of low-carb staples like meat, cheese, eggs, and vegetables. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.
- Produce: 1 pound broccoli, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 large box arugula or other salad greens, 1 large yellow onion, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 medium green bell pepper, 1 head of garlic, 1 medium avocado, 1 small bunch scallions, 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 pound cauliflower, carrot and celery sticks
- Meat and Deli: 1 rotisserie chicken, 1 pound thinly sliced deli turkey, 1 pound thinly sliced deli cheese, 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 (around 16-ounce) bag frozen meatballs, 2 ounces pepperoni slices
- Refrigerated: 2 dozen large eggs, 1 quart whole milk, 1 (16-ounce) bag shredded cheddar cheese, unsalted butter, 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded mozzarella cheese, medium chunk of Parmesan cheese, 8 ounces cream cheese
- Pantry: Finely ground almond flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, coconut oil, mayonnaise, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, basil pesto, tomato paste, ground cumin, unsweetened natural cocoa powder, dried oregano, 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 quart low-sodium beef broth, apple cider vinegar, 1 (32-ounce) jar marinara sauce
- Other: Ciabatta rolls, low-carb tortillas, chips or crackers (a mix of regular and low-carb)
Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done
- Make the frittata: Preheat the oven to 350°F and make the sheet pan frittata according to recipe instructions.
- Prepare the loaf bread: While the frittata bakes, prepare the loaf bread.
- Bake the loaf bread: After removing the frittata from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 375°F and bake the loaf bread.
- Make the chili: While the bread bakes, make the chili according to recipe instructions.
- Make the chicken salad: Shred the rotisserie chicken and use it to make the chicken salad with 1/2 cup store-bought pesto.
A Week of Family-Friendly Low-Carb Meals
Choose between the frittata or loaf bread. The frittata can be eaten as is or wrapped in a low-carb tortilla for the adults, while the kids can enjoy it as is or inside a ciabatta roll. The loaf can be sliced and toasted then topped with butter, avocado, any nut butter, or a fried egg. The kids might also like it slathered with their favorite fruit jam.
Choose between pesto chicken salad or deli turkey and cheese. To make either low-carb, serve the chicken salad over salad greens and wrap the cold cuts in a low-carb tortilla or use them as the wrap itself and tuck salad greens inside. For the kids, both the chicken salad and the cold cuts can be served in a roll or tortilla.
- Monday, Beef Chili: Rewarm servings of the beef chili for the whole family. Serve it with shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and, if desired, chips, crackers, or tortillas.
- Tuesday, Cauliflower Chili Mac: Break the head of cauliflower into florets. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, spread out in a large baking dish, and roast at 425°F until just tender, about 25 minutes. Add the leftover chili and a few generous handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese, toss to combine, and return to the oven and bake until the chili is warmed and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
- Wednesday, Skillet Meatball Parmesan: Thaw frozen meatballs then brown them in an oven-safe skillet with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Pour in 3 cups of marinara sauce and simmer until heated through. Sprinkle with a handful of shredded mozzarella and some grated Parmesan. Broil for a few minutes to melt and brown the cheese.
- Thursday, Pepperoni Pizza Dip: Prepare the dip according to recipe instructions and enjoy with carrot and celery sticks, along with a mix of regular and low-carb chips or crackers. You can also add some torn ciabatta rolls for the kids to dip with.
- Friday, Order In: Take the night off and order your family’s favorite takeout!
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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.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Meal Prep Plan: How to Prep a Week of Family-Friendly Low-Carb Meals