ThePrep: How to Prep Ahead for 30-Minute Mediterranean Dinners

With a little prep at the beginning of the week, these already easy 30-minute Mediterranean dinners are made even easier.

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ThePrep - Greek Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Grilled Chicken

Our column, ThePrep, has everything you'll need to make meal planning and meal prep as easy as can be. Sign up here to get a meal plan delivered to your inbox every Saturday!

This February for ThePrep, I'm delivering fast and easy 30-minute dinners all month long and covering some of the top diet trends along the way—starting with the most popular. If you hadn't noticed, the Mediterranean diet has taken over the internet. It's an easy-to-follow approach to healthy eating that can also help with weight loss, keeping your heart healthy and warding off diabetes, which are some of the reasons it's so appealing—not to mention all the delicious food!

Your Meal Plan


An important thing to note about the Mediterranean diet is that you're not restricted to eating only foods from that region. It's more about following the principles of the diet—as in eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats most of the time—no matter the type of dish, be it a curry, tacos, a stir-fry or even nachos, like the Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos I'll be making for Super Bowl Sunday.

Once collectively called "the best nachos ever" by my meat-loving family members, these veggie-packed nachos are a healthy take on traditional nachos and, quite literally, the best there ever was. Yes, there are tortilla chips and cheese, but unlike with more-restrictive diets (I'm looking at you, keto) these foods aren't off-limits! Just enjoy them in moderation.

Here's how you can get ahead on prep for the week to make these easy 30-minute dinners even easier:

  1. Chop the bell pepper and red onion for Sunday's Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos and prep the veggies of your choosing for the Homemade Ranch Dressing with Veggies. You can also make the ranch dressing ahead, if you want.
  2. Chop the baby spinach, bell pepper and red onion for Monday's Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and make a double batch of the Easy Brown Rice to have on both Monday and Tuesday.
  3. Chop 2 heads of broccoli into florets for Tuesday's Ginger Roasted Salmon & Broccoli.
  4. Make the vinaigrette (Step 4) for Thursday's Greek Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Grilled Chicken

Store your prepped ingredients in airtight meal-prep containers (To buy:, $30 for 5) to keep them fresh.

Watch Me! How to Meal-Prep for the Mediterranean Diet

Meal-Prep Lunch

various meal prep ingredients from Trader Joe's
Carolyn Hodges

A few weeks back I featured a high-fiber meal-prep lunch plan using Trader Joe's ingredients that people seemed to love! Lucky for you, we have another plan just like that—only this one is all about high-protein lunches. Choose from the Green Goddess Quinoa Bowls with Arugula & Shrimp, the Thai-Style Chopped Salad with Sriracha Tofu or the Middle Eastern Salad Bowls with Farro & Chicken for a week of satisfying lunches ready in 20 minutes or less.

Get the Plan: How to Meal-Prep a Week of High-Protein Lunches from Trader Joe's

We're making shopping easier with a list of all the ingredients you need to make this week's dinners and featured treat. You'll want to add the ingredients for whatever lunch you decide to make. Get the shopping list.

Treat Yourself


Everyone knows cookie dough is delicious but that eating it raw is a no-no. Well, these Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls are meant to be enjoyed without the worry! Mix up a batch and keep them in the freezer for a healthy treat.

Get the Recipe: Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Let me know if you make any of these recipes or what else you're doing to prep ahead for a healthy week! Email me at If you have a question or requests for future newsletter topics, I'd love to hear those too.

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