Health Advocate Blog

Making a plan for cooking

Having an effective strategy can help you improve your nutrition. Healthy cooking takes planning and preparation to ensure you stick with your nutrition goals. Planning your meals may also help you save time and money. Follow these steps to plan your next healthy meal!

Step 1 – Schedule your cooking

Identify days you’ll be able to prepare meals.

Determine which meals you plan to prepare.

Choose what you’ll be cooking by finding recipes or using your own personal repertoire.

Step 2 – Review your plan

Compare your meals to healthy eating guidelines by asking yourself the questions below:

Did you include enough fruits and vegetables?

  • Aim for a minimum of 5 servings per day.
  • Make half your plate fruits and/or vegetables at each meal.

Do you have enough protein?

  • Recommended protein intake varies on age, weight, activity level, and health status. Average daily recommendations for healthy, active individuals include:

Men 19+: 56 grams

Women 19+: 46 grams

  • Focus on lean sources of protein including: chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork, beans, tofu and fish.

Does your plan include healthy carbohydrates?

  • Carbs from fruits, vegetables and whole grains should give you the bulk of your daily calories.
  • Recommended intake varies on age, sex and activity level.
  • On average, 50 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake should be composed of healthy carbs.

Did you account for sources of healthy fats?

  • Healthy fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Sources include: Oils such as canola, olive, peanut, sesame and other vegetable oils; nuts and seeds; seafood; and avocados.

Step 3 – Create your shopping list

Write out the ingredients you will need to purchase.

Compare your list to your pantry to see if you already have ingredients.

Determine if you have all of the necessary tools or utensils to prepare the meal.

For Health Advocate Members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, contact your coach to learn more tips to plan your meals and start cooking healthy.