The Busy Person’s Guide to Meal Planning

Sticking to a budget and eating healthy don’t have to be mutually exclusive—you just need to plan ahead, which can make all the difference in your success. Here are some simple tips on how to meal plan even if you’re extremely busy, so you can save money, eat healthier, and spend more time doing what you love instead of planning meals and grocery shopping!


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Why You Should Start

Not only will meal planning save you time, it’ll also help you stick to a budget and eat healthier too. It also means less time spent in the kitchen on nights when you’re just not feeling up for cooking. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be difficult – here are some easy steps for how to meal plan:

– Step One: Pick a day of the week, and use it as your Cooking Day. Whenever possible, try and make this day coincide with grocery shopping day so that you can buy everything in one trip.

– Step Two: Choose three recipes from your favorite websites or magazines that look good.

How to find recipes

Sorting through recipe websites and blogs for recipes can be a headache. To save time, we recommend searching for recipes by category. 

For example, if you are looking for an entree recipe, type entree into the search bar and see what comes up. If you’re feeling adventurous or want to try something new, look at the most popular recipes in your country or region by using the search function. There are also many websites that allow you to find recipes based on dietary restrictions such as vegetarianism, veganism and gluten-free diets.

After finding a few delicious looking options, head over to your favorite food blog or website and have fun browsing their archives of delicious dishes!


Tricks with proteins

Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle, so it’s important not to skimp on it. To get enough of this nutrient you need a variety of sources such as lentils, beans and products. Mixing up the protein choices will help keep your palate satisfied and prevent boredom with food.

Snacks and sides

If you’re like me and come home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen cooking up a hot meal. Your time is precious and your energy levels are low. That’s why it pays to plan ahead for quick and easy meals. 

Get on your phone or open up an excel spreadsheet and make a list of your favorite snacks and sides. Some ideas might be salsa, hummus, pretzels, or red pepper flakes. 

Whatever you enjoy eating as snack can work as a side dish too! You’ll be happy when you don’t have to worry about what to cook but instead can just whip something up in five minutes!

Plant-based Recipes 


Here are some plant-based recipes that are great for meal planning and prepping that don’t take a lot of time and make great leftovers. 


Roasted Broccoli

1. Toss 1⁄4 head of broccoli add salt and pepper and roast at 400°F for 15 minutes. Add chickpeas, dried cranberries and pine nuts for garnish before roasting. 

Oven Roasted Asparagus 

Ultimate Instant Pot Pumpkin Chili

Roasted Veggie Pasta 

Marinated Tempeh

Rooted Table Meal Plan

And if you need additional help in deciding what’s for dinner, we invite you to check out our Rooted Meal Plan Membership that helps take the guesswork out of What’s for Dinner Tonight?  Each week. you will have access to 5 plant-based and vegan recipes, an itemized grocery list, and a library of plant-basd recipes, tips, and resources to help make eating healthy dishes easier on you and your budget.  


Happy Meal Planning!

Stephanie Collazo, MS, CHC is the founder of Clean Food Mama, to help you get more plants into your diet. She shed 165 lbs by incorporating a whole foods plant-based diet and loves empowering other women to create healthy habits for themselves and their families.