If you’re looking to meal prep for a high protein low carb diet, you’ve come to the right place. This guide aims to be your comprehensive resource.
Things You’ll Need: Meal Prep for a High Protein Low Carb
- High-quality proteins (chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef)
- Low-carb vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, zucchini)
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- Spices and herbs
- Meal prep containers
- Kitchen utensils (knives, cutting boards, measuring cups)
General Meal Prep Steps for a High Protein Low Carb Diet
Washing Vegetables and Proteins
The first thing you should do before anything else is to wash all your vegetables and proteins thoroughly. For vegetables, you’ll want to place them under a stream of cold running water. As you do so, gently rub the surface of each vegetable to remove any lingering dirt, dust, or potential pesticides.
For root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, you may find using a vegetable brush particularly effective in getting out any stubborn grit. Remember not to use any soap or bleach, as these chemicals could contaminate your food.
As for proteins like chicken or fish, you should also rinse them gently under a stream of cold running water. This will help remove any surface bacteria. Once rinsed, pat the protein dry with a paper towel. Doing this ensures that your protein will cook more evenly and is especially helpful if you plan to marinate it before cooking.
Some food safety guidelines recommend against washing certain proteins, like chicken, to prevent cross-contamination. Be sure to consult current food safety recommendations to decide the best approach for you.
Cutting Vegetables and Proteins
After your vegetables and proteins are properly cleaned, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. Cutting effectively begins with a sharp knife and a stable cutting board. To ensure your cutting board doesn’t slip, you can place a damp paper towel or cloth beneath it.
Now, when it comes to cutting your vegetables, think about the particular recipes you’ll be using them in. If you’re making a stir-fry, for instance, you’ll want your vegetables in thin, manageable strips. On the other hand, if you’re cooking a hearty stew, chunkier cuts may be more suitable.
Similarly, for proteins like chicken or beef, you’ll want to think ahead to your cooking method. If you’re planning to grill, thicker slices or chunks are advisable. For stir-frying or sautéing, go for thinner slices for quicker, even cooking. A pro tip for meats like beef is to cut against the grain, which makes the meat more tender.
Some people on a high-protein, low-carb diet opt to include whole grains in small portions. If you’re among them, you’ll need to cook these grains according to the package instructions.
However, before you even begin cooking, measure the amount you plan to cook to make sure it aligns with your carb limit for that meal. Use a measuring cup for precise portions, and keep in mind that grains like rice and quinoa will expand when cooked.
To check for doneness, taste a small amount. It should be fully cooked but not mushy. Allow the grains to sit for a few minutes off the heat to finish the cooking process and then fluff them up with a fork before serving.
Meal Prep for a High Protein Low Carb Diet – Breakfast Recipes
Now that we have general meal prepping out of the way, let’s get into breakfast recipes for a high protein low carb diet…
Breakfast Recipe 1 – Protein Pancakes
Things You’ll Need
- Protein powder: Opt for a high-quality protein powder with no added sugar.
- Almond milk: Unsweetened almond milk is ideal for keeping the carb count low.
- Eggs: You’ll need whole eggs to add structure to your pancakes.
- Coconut oil: This is for greasing your skillet; it adds a subtle flavor and helps with non-stick cooking.
Follow the steps below to make protein pancakes…
Combining Ingredients: Start by taking 1 cup of your chosen protein powder. In a mixing bowl, combine this with 1 cup of almond milk. Crack 2 eggs into the mix. Using a hand blender or a whisk, blend all the ingredients until you achieve a smooth, lump-free batter.
The consistency should be similar to that of traditional pancake batter; if it’s too thick, you can add a little more almond milk to thin it out.
Prepare the Skillet: Place your non-stick skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Let it warm up for a couple of minutes. To test if it’s ready, sprinkle a few drops of water onto the skillet; they should sizzle upon contact.
Once you confirm the skillet is hot, add a teaspoon of coconut oil to grease it. Use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly across the surface.
Cooking the Pancakes: Now that your skillet is well-prepared, pour enough batter to form a pancake of your desired size. A general guide is to use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Let the batter sit and cook for about 3-5 minutes per side.
You’ll know it’s time to flip when you see bubbles forming on the surface of the batter. Use a spatula to carefully flip the pancake and cook for another 3-5 minutes on the other side. Repeat the process until all the batter is used.
Once your protein pancakes are cooked and have cooled down, it’s time to think about storage. Place them in an airtight container, separating each pancake with a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking. These can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you’d like to make a larger batch for future meals, these pancakes also freeze well. Simply place the airtight container in the freezer, where they’ll keep for up to a month. When you’re ready to eat them, you can reheat in the microwave or on a skillet.
This particular recipe yields approximately 2 servings, depending on the size of your pancakes. If you need to make more, simply double or triple the ingredients and follow the same steps.
Breakfast Recipe 2 – Avocado and Egg Bowls
Things You’ll Need
- Avocados: Choose ripe but firm avocados. They should yield slightly when you press them but not feel mushy.
- Eggs: Fresh, large eggs are best for this recipe.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste, for seasoning.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is recommended for its flavor and health benefits.
Follow the steps below to make avocado and egg bowls…
Preparing the Avocados: First, take your ripe avocados and cut them in half lengthwise. To safely remove the seed, carefully whack your knife into the seed so that it sticks, then gently twist and lift it out. This should dislodge the seed without much fuss. Be sure to exercise caution during this step to avoid injury.
Creating Space for the Egg: With the seed removed, you’ll notice that the hole in each avocado half might not be large enough to hold an entire egg.
To create more space, use a spoon to scoop out some of the avocado flesh around the hole. Remove just enough to accommodate an egg but not so much that the avocado loses its shape.
Adding the Egg: Gently crack an egg and carefully pour it into the hollow you’ve created in the avocado. It’s advisable to crack the egg into a bowl first, so you can easily transfer the egg into the avocado without breaking the yolk or getting shell fragments in your meal.
Seasoning: Now, lightly season the top of the egg and avocado with salt and pepper. You can also add additional seasonings or herbs like paprika or chives if you prefer, but for the basics, salt and pepper will suffice.
Baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). As it warms up, place your prepared avocado halves in an oven-safe dish to ensure they stay upright during baking.
If they’re wobbly, you can stabilize them by forming a base with a small piece of aluminum foil. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your eggs.
After the avocado and egg bowls have cooled, transfer them into an airtight container. Due to the nature of avocado oxidizing and eggs potentially becoming rubbery, it’s advisable to consume them within 2 days of preparation. Store the container in the fridge to maintain freshness.
This recipe is designed to make 2 servings, ideal for a single meal or for sharing. To increase the number of servings, simply multiply the ingredients and follow the same detailed steps.
Breakfast Recipe 3 – Greek Yogurt and Mixed Nuts
Things You’ll Need
- Greek Yogurt: Opt for plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt to control sugar and carb intake.
- Mixed Nuts: A combination of almonds and walnuts is great, but you can also add pecans, hazelnuts, or other low-carb nuts for variety.
To prepare Greek yoghurt with mixed nuts, follow the steps below…
Preparing the Yogurt Base: Start by grabbing a medium-sized bowl for serving. Measure out 1 cup of Greek yogurt and place it in the bowl. Opt for a high-quality, unsweetened brand that is rich in protein but low in carbohydrates and sugar. Spread the yogurt evenly in the bowl to form a good base for the toppings.
Adding the Mixed Nuts: Now take a handful of mixed nuts, which should roughly equate to 1/4 to 1/3 cup, depending on your preference. You can either leave the nuts whole for added crunch or chop them into smaller pieces for a different texture.
Sprinkle the nuts over the layer of Greek yogurt, distributing them evenly to ensure each bite has a good mix of yogurt and nuts.
Optional: If you want to add more flavors, consider including a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of keto-friendly sweetener like stevia. However, these are optional and not necessary for the basic recipe.
For storage, carefully transfer the Greek Yogurt and Mixed Nuts bowl into an airtight container. Seal the container well to ensure that it’s airtight, then store it in the fridge.
The contents should remain fresh for up to 3 days. Remember that nuts can get a bit soggy over time, so it’s best to enjoy this meal sooner rather than later for optimal texture.
This simple but highly satisfying recipe makes 1 serving. It’s perfect for those mornings when you’re in a rush but still need a nutritious breakfast to fuel your day. To prepare multiple servings, simply scale up the recipe, prepare individual bowls, and follow the same storage instructions.
Breakfast Recipe 4 – Smoked Salmon Roll-Ups
Things You’ll Need
- Smoked Salmon Slices: Opt for high-quality, thinly sliced smoked salmon.
- Cream Cheese: Choose a full-fat, unflavored version for richness and to keep carbs low.
- Cucumbers: Preferably organic, to be thinly sliced.
- Fresh Dill: For garnish and additional flavor.
Follow the steps below to make smoked salmon roll ups..
Preparing the Surface and Salmon: Begin by laying a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface like a countertop or a large cutting board. This will make it easier to roll up your salmon slices later.
Next, lay out the smoked salmon slices flat on this surface, spacing them apart slightly. Make sure the slices are fully unfurled and easy to work with.
Applying the Cream Cheese: Take your full-fat, unflavored cream cheese and use a butter knife or a small spatula to spread a thin but consistent layer over each slice of smoked salmon. Aim to cover most of the surface but without making it too thick; you don’t want the cream cheese to overpower the other flavors.
Adding Cucumbers and Dill: Now take your cucumbers, which should be thinly sliced for easy rolling and better texture. Distribute the cucumber slices evenly over the cream cheese layer on each salmon slice.
After that, take your fresh dill and finely chop it if it’s not pre-chopped. Sprinkle a modest amount of dill over the cucumbers for that added aromatic flavor.
Rolling Up the Salmon: Starting from one end, carefully roll up each salmon slice. Make sure to do this gently but tightly, ensuring the fillings stay intact inside the roll. If you find it challenging to make the roll stay in shape, you can use toothpicks to secure them.
Once you’ve made all your Smoked Salmon Roll-Ups, it’s time to think about storage. Place the roll-ups in an airtight container, ensuring they are not squished against each other to maintain their shape. Store this container in the fridge, where they’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.
This scrumptious recipe is designed to make 4 servings. It’s perfect for a family breakfast or for multiple breakfasts throughout your busy week.
Meal Prep for a High Protein Low Carb Diet – Lunch Recipes
Below are four lunch recipes for a high protein low carb diet…
Lunch Recipe 1 – Grilled Chicken Salad
Things You’ll Need
- Boneless Chicken Breasts: Opt for skinless, boneless chicken breasts for easier grilling and slicing.
- Mixed Salad Greens: A blend of spinach, arugula, and romaine gives a good mix of textures and flavors.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin is best, used for both seasoning and dressing.
- Herbs and Spices: Your choice could range from classics like salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to herbs like rosemary or thyme.
- Meat thermometer: To ensure the chicken is well cooked.
Follow the steps below to make a grilled chicken salad..
Preheating the Grill: Before you start working on the chicken, it’s essential to preheat your grill to medium-high heat. A properly preheated grill ensures that your chicken breasts will cook evenly. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes depending on your grill.
Seasoning the Chicken: Lay out your boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each side, rubbing it in with your hands to coat evenly.
Then, liberally sprinkle your chosen herbs and spices over the chicken. Make sure to season both sides for uniform flavor.
Grilling the Chicken: Once your grill is hot, place the chicken breasts on the grill grates. Close the lid and let them cook undisturbed for 6-8 minutes. Then, flip the chicken breasts and cook for another 6-8 minutes on the other side.
The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check this if you’re uncertain.
Resting and Slicing the Chicken: After the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove it from the grill and place it on a clean plate.
Allow it to rest for a few minutes; this lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat, making it juicier and easier to slice. After resting, use a sharp knife to slice the chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces.
Assembling the Salad: While the chicken is resting, you can prepare your salad bed. In a large bowl, combine your mixed salad greens. Optionally, you can drizzle a small amount of olive oil as a dressing. Finally, place the sliced grilled chicken on top of the salad greens.
After assembling, if you are planning to store the salad, place it in an airtight container. Do separate the chicken from the salad greens to avoid wilting. The grilled chicken salad can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This hearty and healthy grilled chicken salad recipe makes 4 servings, ideal for meal prep or family lunches.
Lunch Recipe 2 – Beef Stir-Fry
Things You’ll Need
- Lean Beef Strips: Opt for sirloin or tenderloin for less fat and easier cooking.
- Broccoli Florets: Fresh is best, but frozen can also work if thawed properly.
- Red Bell Pepper: Adds color and a sweet crunch to the stir-fry.
- Coconut Oil: Ideal for high-heat cooking, gives a subtle tropical flavor.
- Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness and depth, consider low-sodium options if you’re watching salt intake.
Follow the steps below to prepare beef stir fry…
Preparation of Cooking Utensils: The first step involves getting your wok or large frying pan ready. Place it on your stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat up until it’s shimmering but not smoking; this usually takes a couple of minutes.
Cooking the Beef: Once the oil is hot, carefully add the lean beef strips to the wok. Use cooking tongs or a wooden spatula to stir the beef continuously. You’re aiming to get a nice brown sear on the beef, which should take around 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your strips.
Adding Vegetables: After the beef is browned, introduce the broccoli florets and red bell pepper slices to the wok. It’s important to add these after the beef is nearly cooked to maintain their crisp texture.
Extended Stir-Frying: Continue to stir-fry the ingredients together for an additional 5-7 minutes. You’ll know the vegetables are ready when they have a vibrant color and are slightly tender but still have some crunch to them.
Final Flavoring: As a finishing touch, pour a modest splash of soy sauce into the wok. Stir all the ingredients well so that the sauce evenly coats the beef and vegetables. This also deglazes the pan, lifting any delicious, caramelized bits stuck to the bottom.
To store your beef stir-fry, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator, where it can be safely stored for up to 3 days.
This delicious and nutritious Beef Stir-Fry recipe produces 4 servings, making it a perfect candidate for your meal prep routine or a family meal.
Read more meal prep articles here – Meal Prep for Every Situation: Your Ultimate Guide
Meal Prep for a High Protein Low Carb Diet – Dinner Recipes
Below are four dinner recipes for a high protein low carb diet…
Dinner Recipe 1 – Baked Salmon with Asparagus
Things You’ll Need
- Salmon Fillets: Look for wild-caught salmon for optimal Omega-3s; each fillet should weigh around 6-8 ounces.
- Asparagus Spears: Fresh, preferably organic, asparagus spears should be medium in thickness for best roasting.
- Lemon Slices: From 1-2 whole fresh lemons to maximize citrus zest and flavor.
- Olive Oil: Extra-virgin for maximum health benefits, approximately 2-3 tablespoons.
- Salt and Pepper: Himalayan salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; around 1 teaspoon each.
Follow the steps below to prepare baked salmon with asparagus…
Preheat and Prep: Set your oven to preheat at 400°F (200°C). During this time, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for a non-stick surface and easier cleanup.
Placement: Carefully place your salmon fillets, skin-side down, centrally on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute asparagus spears around them.
Olive Oil Drizzle: Use a spoon or a small pitcher to drizzle olive oil evenly over the salmon fillets and asparagus. Ensure good coverage but avoid making it too oily.
Lemon Layering: Slice your lemons thinly and layer them directly on top of the salmon fillets for a burst of citrus flavor. Aim for 2-3 slices per fillet.
Seasoning: Sprinkle your choice of salt and freshly ground pepper over all the ingredients. Be consistent to ensure each bite is well-seasoned.
Bake: Place the baking sheet into your preheated oven. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Check for doneness by seeing if the salmon easily flakes with a fork.
Cool down the cooked salmon and asparagus to room temperature. Transfer them into an airtight container with separate compartments to prevent sogginess. If you’re storing it in the fridge, consume within 3 days. For longer storage, freeze up to a month.
This recipe should perfectly serve four people. Pre-portion them for convenience during the week if you’re meal prepping.
Dinner Recipe 2 – Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles
Things You’ll Need
- Ground Turkey: About 1 pound, preferably organic or free-range.
- Zucchini: 2-3 medium-sized zucchinis, fresh and firm.
- Olive Oil: Extra-virgin, approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Garlic: 2-3 cloves, minced.
- Herbs and Spices: Oregano, thyme, or rosemary; around 1 teaspoon each or to taste.
Follow the steps below to prepare turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles…
Oven Preheat: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it to avoid sticking.
Meatball Mix: In a mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, minced garlic, and your choice of dried herbs and spices. Use your hands to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
Form Meatballs: Roll the turkey mixture into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter and place them equidistantly on the baking sheet. You should get approximately 12-15 meatballs.
Bake: Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check the meatballs after 20 minutes; they should be golden brown and have an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
Prepare Zucchini: While the meatballs are baking, use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to turn your zucchinis into noodles, also known as “zoodles.”
Sauté Zoodles: In a pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the zucchini noodles into the pan and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, or until they become slightly tender but not mushy.
Combine and Serve: Place a portion of zoodles at the base of each plate or meal prep container. Top with evenly distributed turkey meatballs.
After allowing the meatballs and zoodles to cool to room temperature, place them in separate compartments of an airtight container to maintain texture. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.
This particular recipe should yield about 4 servings, making it perfect for meal prep or a family dinner.
Dinner Recipe 3 – Pork Chop with Cauliflower Mash
Things You’ll Need
- Pork Chops: 4 boneless chops, about 1-inch thick. Look for organic or pasture-raised options.
- Cauliflower: 1 large head, broken into florets.
- Butter: About 2-3 tablespoons, preferably unsalted.
- Garlic: 3-4 cloves, minced.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste, fresh ground is preferable.
Follow the steps below to prepare pork chops with cauliflower mash…
Oven Preheat: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Meanwhile, place an oven-safe pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
Pork Chop Seasoning: Rub each pork chop with minced garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Make sure each side is well-seasoned.
Searing: Once the pan is hot, carefully place the pork chops inside and sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side. You’re looking for a golden-brown crust.
Oven Transfer: After searing, transfer the entire pan to the preheated oven. Bake the pork chops for about 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F (63°C). Make sure not to overcook, as pork chops can dry out quickly.
Cauliflower Boiling: While the pork is in the oven, place the cauliflower florets in a pot of boiling water. Cook until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Mash Creation: Drain the cauliflower well to remove excess moisture. Mash the florets using a potato masher or a food processor. Add butter, salt, and pepper and continue mashing until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency similar to mashed potatoes.
Combining and Serving: Place a generous spoonful of cauliflower mash on each plate or meal prep container. Add a pork chop alongside or on top of the mash.
Let the pork chops and cauliflower mash cool to room temperature. Store them in separate compartments in an airtight container to maintain texture and flavor. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.
This recipe is designed to produce approximately 4 servings, which is ideal for a family dinner or multiple meal prep options.
Meal Prep for High Protein Low Carb: Dinner Recipe 4 – Shrimp and Veggie Skewers
Things You’ll Need
- Large Shrimp: About 20-24, peeled and deveined. Opt for fresh shrimp for the best taste.
- Bell Peppers: 2 large, various colors for visual appeal, cut into 1-inch squares.
- Onions: 1-2 medium, preferably red for sweetness, cut into 1-inch squares.
- Skewers: About 8-10, wooden or metal. If using wooden, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to use.
- Garlic Powder: To taste.
- Salt and Pepper: Freshly ground is preferable, to taste.
Follow the steps below to prepare shrimp and veggie skewers…
Grill Preheat: Turn on your grill and let it heat up to medium-high heat, around 400-450°F (204-232°C).
Skewer Preparation: If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before threading to prevent them from burning.
Shrimp and Veggie Threading: Take one skewer and start by threading a piece of bell pepper, followed by onion, and then a shrimp. Repeat this sequence until the skewer is full but not overcrowded. Ensure there’s a small gap between each item for even cooking. Perform this for all skewers.
Seasoning: Lay the prepared skewers on a tray. Sprinkle garlic powder, freshly ground salt, and pepper evenly over each skewer, making sure each shrimp and vegetable piece is well-coated.
Grilling: Place the skewers on the preheated grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side. You’ll know the shrimp are done when they change from translucent to a pinkish-white color, and the vegetables should be slightly charred but still a bit crisp.
Once cooked and cooled to room temperature, place the skewers in an airtight container. You can also remove the shrimp and veggies from the skewers if you find it more convenient for storage.
Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to one month. If freezing, consider separating the portions with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
This elevated recipe should yield approximately 4 servings, making it perfect for a family meal or to have ready-to-go dinners for almost half the week.
Conclusion: Meal Prep for a High Protein Low Carb
Meal prep for a high protein low carb diet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these easy-to-follow recipes, you’ll have a week’s worth of delicious and nutritious meals ready to go. Happy meal prepping!