Canada's food guide

Cook more often

Cook more often

Cooking more often can help you develop healthy eating habits. You can cook more often by planning what you eat and involving others in planning and preparing meals.

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Benefits of cooking more often

Cooking and preparing food can support healthy eating habits. Cooking allows you to:

  • learn new skills
  • rely less on highly processed foods
  • control the amount of sauces and seasonings
  • make foods that you and your family like and will eat
  • save money by avoiding extra money spent on meals eaten out
  • choose healthy ingredients like:
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • whole grain foods
    • protein foods
      • choose protein foods that come from plants more often

How to cook more often

You can make cooking faster and easier. Use these ideas to help make cooking part of your routine.

Cook once and eat twice

Cook enough for another meal. This doesn’t mean that you need to eat the same meal twice.

Get creative with leftovers to make a whole new meal:

  • Cook double the rice for your stir-fry and use the extras for rice pilaf.
  • Cook twice the chicken or ground turkey you need and keep extras to make chicken salad, enchiladas, chili or spaghetti sauce.
  • Keep flavours simple so foods can be used for many meals. Chilli one night turns into tacos the next and a topping for spaghetti another night.

When preparing meals, chop or cook extra vegetables and fruits so you have some for snacks and meals the next day.

Become a big batch cook

Batch cooking simply means making meals and snacks in bigger batches and freezing them in meal-size portions for convenient week-day meals. This can save you time and money.

These healthy homemade options are ideal for batch cooking:

  • chili
  • soups
  • stews
  • casseroles
  • pasta dishes
  • spaghetti sauce

Use time-saving tools

Make home cooking easier by using time-saving tools. Try a:

  • mini-chopper to quickly dice up garlic and onions
  • hand blender to make quick and easy soups and sauces
  • slow cooker to cook food while you are busy during the day
  • pressure cooker to reduce cooking times and make meals in a hurry

Keep healthy options on hand

The best way to cook quick, healthy meals and snacks is to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy ingredients like:

  • soup broth to add flavour
  • bagged leafy greens to make an easy salad
  • your favourite herbs and spices to add flavour
  • pre-cut vegetables to use for snacks and stir-fries
  • canned tuna or salmon to add to a salad or sandwich
  • frozen or canned vegetables to make a quick side dish
  • canned chick peas and lentils to toss into soups, salads or main dishes

Healthy cooking methods

Explore different ways to cook food. Try those that require little to no added fat. This includes:

  • baking
  • grilling
  • broiling
  • roasting
  • steaming
  • stir-frying and sautéing

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Make easy dinners
  • Make meals and snacks for a picky eater
Make a healthy choice

What you eat on a regular basis matters for your health.

  • Choose foods that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat.
  • Compare the nutrition facts table on foods to choose products that are lower in sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

Further reading

Date modified: 2019-01-14