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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Meal planning & recipes

Whakamaheretia he rārangi kai ō ngā tohutaka kai hauora

We know that people who regularly eat home-cooked meals tend to be happier and healthier. They also tend to eat less sugar and processed foods, which can lead to better energy levels and wellbeing.

Not having enough time is a common reason for not cooking at home but planning in advance will help save you time and money.

Use the meal planning tips and recipe guide below. They will help you plan and prepare healthy, tasty and affordable meals.

Meal planning

Plan ahead and make a shopping list.

Check your cupboards and think ahead about the weeks meals so you know what to buy. Think about your main meals for the week and plan what protein, carbohydrates and vegetables you're going to have. You could use a weekly meal planner to help you plan.

Make sure you include the following at each main meal:

Keep your shopping list handy so you can add to it as you remember things you need.

Take your weekly schedule into account. If you know one evening will be busy, plan for a meal that is quick and easy such as frozen fish fillets, wedges and pre-prepared coleslaw.

Keep the basics on hand

Stock your pantry and freezer with your most used items such as flour, pasta, cooking oils, herbs, spices, frozen vegetables, eggs and crumbed fish so you can always cook something without needing to shop

Cook extra

Eating home-cooked meals regularly doesn't mean you have to cook every night. Cook large batches of some meals so you can reheat it the following night or freeze it and have it in a week’s time. Casseroles, stews, soups and sauces all freeze well.

Look for new ideas

Attend a cooking class, swap recipes with friends, whānau/family and work colleagues or borrow a cookbook or magazine from the library.

What to look for in a recipe

Look for recipes that:

Try the following sites if you're stuck for recipe ideas:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.

See also:

Healthy eating programmes

School lunches

Takeaway tips

Page reference: 205379

Review key: HIHEC-62690