#29: How to be a Lean, Mean, Meal Planning Machine! with Abigail Hopkins


I’ve been curious about meal planning for a while – the how’s the why’s, the secrets and the lies…and I knew of no one better to bring in and spill all the meal planning beans all than Abigail Hopkins of Thatcleanlife.com. With her hubby, Abigail started an epic meal planning platform that certainly takes the hell out of healthy meal planning. And in this episode, Abigail shares exactly how it all goes down and precisely how you (and I) (and your friends) (and family) can benefit from meal planning!

Also, a major thank you to Sunwarrior for sponsoring this episode! If you don’t already know, I’m a die-hard fanatic of Sunwarrior’s plant-protein powder (their ‘vanilla classic’ is my favorite and what I use to make my daily protein waffles!). To hear about how adding Sunwarrior protein into my diet has radically changed my health and physique, read this! <<

Clean eating* (as defined by Abigail): eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods.

*for more on clean eating, listen to this epic podcast episode!

Clean eating can be different for every person!!! The focus should be on eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods, but your definition can be unique to you 🙂

Abigail got started mapping out meal plans when a coworker who noticed her amazing benefits out eating clean said to her “if I gave you my money, would you make me a meal plan? Just tell me what you’re doing – what are you eating?” Long story short…she started a blog, other peeps got pumped, moms said that not thinking about what to make was like being on vacation and Abigail and her husband started That Clean Life to take this concept widescale!

PRO TIP: Make meal planning a Sunday habit that you don’t have to think about, you just do.

PRO TIP 2: Plan to make meals that you are EXCITED to eat!

Benefits of meal planning: saves you a ton of time because you don’t ever have to think about what you’re eating and you always have the right ingredients on hand (which saves you money, too).

What IS meal planning? Step by step…

  1. Look at your schedule/calendar, see what nights you’re going out to dinner, eating in, etc.
  2. Plug meals (recipes) into your calendar.
  3. Make your grocery list based on those recipes.
  4. Buy your groceries.
  5. Follow your meal plan!

PRO TIP 3: To save tons of time on grocery shopping, use a delivery grocery service!! NO SHAME IN DAT!

PRO TIP 4: take like a half hour to clean and prep your fruits and veggies, boil quinoa for the week, etc.

NEWBIES…how to start: pick 2 healthy dinners you want to make this next week and prepare a few things for them in advance. Then work in a few new breakfasts. Slow changes add up!

What to do about cravings: you can always swap Tuesday’s meal with Thursday’s!

Three biggest excuses for not meal planning:

  1. Not enough time. >> screw it, make time, yo!!!
  2. Not enough money. >> thatcleanlife.com showcases simple recipes that require few ingredients also plant-based meals are a heck of a lot cheaper than meat meals!!
  3. Can’t stick to it/not motivated. >> make sure your plan is SO realistic!!!! If you’re likely to go out to dinner, plan for that. Also, don’t feel guilty if you decide to go out instead! Just hop back on the plan tomorrow 🙂

Abigail’s a big fan of the 80/20 rule. I’m a big fan of “the most of the time” rule.

That Clean Life meal planning platform expedites the meal planning process. When you login you get tons of healthy recipes (that you can sort through based on dietary restriction) smack you right in the face! Then you drag them into your calendar (you can also add Party in My Plants recipes of some from your favorite cookbook) and a grocery list will automatically be generated.

Abigail’s favorite plant-party restaurants in Toronto: Planta, Kupfert and Kim and Fresh Restaurants 

Her favorite plants: Sweet potato and asparagus

Her favorite way to eat both: roasted in the oven! Tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper (and cinnamon for sweet potato, too) and cooked at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes (for asparagus) and 30 minutes (for sweet potato).

Her most used kitchen tool: her coffee maker and Vitamix for a smoothie (for a smoothie and/or a soup later in the day too).

In her morning smoothie: ½ frozen banana, scoop vanilla protein, 1 tbsp flax, cinnamon + a few scoops of oats

A book that’s inspired her: Love Yourself, Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

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  1. While I love all your podcasts, this one was extra amazing. I already started the free membership with That’s Clean Life, and I’m considering upgrading since the recipes look SO GOOD. In fact, I had asparagus and sweet potato after I listened to this podcast as I was inspired by her favorites, and I made her banana ice cream recipe!

    Thanks again for your amazing podcasts and always timely and interesting guests!