Canada's food guide

Plan what you eat

Planning what you eat makes it easier to cook more often.

On this page

Benefits of planning what you eat

You can make healthy eating easier by planning what you eat.

Planning your meals and snacks helps you:

  • make healthier choices
  • save time grocery shopping
  • get meals on the table faster and with less stress
  • reduce food waste by only buying what you need and will use

Planning is a simple step that can make it possible to:

  • eat healthily
  • save money
  • cook more often

How to plan what you eat

There’s no right or wrong way to plan meals. You can plan for the whole week ahead, or you can plan for a couple of days at a time. Do what works for you.

Try these ideas to make planning what you eat part of your routine:

  • Set aside some time to make your plan.
  • Set yourself up to have all the information you need. Write down your meal ideas or new recipes.
  • Store your old meal plans and favourite recipes in a binder or on your computer. You can reuse the plans and recipes that you liked.
  • Post an empty grocery list where everyone can see it. Encourage everyone to add to it.

A little planning goes a long way in helping to develop and maintain healthy eating habits. You will find that the more you plan what you eat, the easier it gets.

How to make a meal plan and stick to it

Having a meal plan that works for you and your lifestyle is one of the secrets to eating well.

When you are making your plan, think about:

  • All your meals and snacks:
    • They are part of healthy meal plans.
  • Your schedule:
    • A busy week or busy day can impact your plan. This can change the number of meals and snacks you need.
  • How much time you have to cook:
    • Think about ways to make cooking more manageable. When you have less time, make meals that are quicker and simpler to prepare.
    • When you have time, try preparing basic ingredients, like pre-chopping vegetables, to save time in preparing future meals.
  • How many people need to eat the meal:
    • This will impact how much food you need.
  • Recipes with overlapping ingredients:
    • Use the food you have to help decrease food waste.
    • You can decrease cooking time by making a little extra to use for meals and snacks the next day.
  • Fresh, frozen, canned and dried ingredients:
    • To reduce food waste, use up your fresh ingredients first to prevent them from spoiling.

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Improve food skills
  • Save time
  • Make easy dinners

Further reading:

Date modified: