Plan Your Own Menus

notebook in a kitchen with pots of carrots and potatoes, mushrooms and garlic

Plan ahead to get tasty, budget-wise and good-for-you meals to the table faster and easier! Take 15 minutes before you shop to write a simple menu plan. When the busy week starts, you’ll be glad you did! Whether you plan for yourself or for a family here you’ll find all the tools you need.

Get started!

7 Steps for Fast and Easy Menu Planning : You’ll find the more you menu plan the easier it becomes.

Menu Planning Checklist: Find out if your menus are on track – tasty, good-for-you and budget-wise too!

Family-Friendly One-Week Sample Menu Plan: Designed by a dietitian – use as is or change it to suit your tastes or lifestyle.

Menu Planning Form: Blank menu planning forms you can fill in, use and re-use!

Food Handlers Storage Guide: Find tips to keep food safe and tasty to eat by storing it right.  

Find out what’s in season, Foodland Ontario: Plan meals that include locally-grown vegetables and fruits.

My Menu Planner: Get personalized meal plans with the shopping list, tips and recipes too!

Solutions to 5 Meal Time Challenges

1. How do I know what foods to choose and how much to eat?

2. How can I get my kids to eat right?

3. How can I make packing kid’s lunches healthier and easier?

4. How can I eat right for less?

5. How can I shop for healthier foods? 

1. Mealtime challenge: How do I know what foods to choose and how much to eat?

Get a Food Guide refresher. Health Canada’s Food Guide website has lots of good information and tools to learn more about healthy eating and daily food choices. Here are a few links to answer your questions.  Use this information to create menu plans that are right for you.

  • Take a Food Guide tour. Get a quick overview of the Food Guide. This is a great place to start.
  • Make your own Food Guide. Choose the foods you want to listed on your personalized food guide. Print it and post it. 
  • Try this Food Guide tracking chart Find out if your eating habits are on track by comparing what you eat to your Food Guide recommendations.                            
  • Counting Food Guide Servings in a meal. Knowing how to count Food Guide Servings makes it easier to follow the Food Guide.
  • View examples of meals for different families. We all need to be eating the same healthy foods, just in different amounts. These examples show how much foodpeople of different ages need. 

Find out more:

Get a nutrient analysis and personalized feedback on your daily eating and activity choices. Try Dietitians of Canada’s EATracker

2. Mealtime challenge: How can I get my kids to eat right?

We all want the best for our children. We know when children eat right they keep a healthy body weight, grow well and are better able to focus at school.

It’s normal for a child’s appetite to go up and down as they grow and for them to refuse certain foods. Try to eat together often, serve healthy choices and let your children see you make healthy choices.

Keep mealtimes positive and trust that in time they will learn to eat right. If you have concerns talk to your doctor. For more trusted strategies that work read on!

  • Managing Family Meals: You might be finding it a challenge to sit down together and eat family meals. Here are some ideas to make your family meals better.
  • Cooking with Kids: Cooking with kids doesn’t have to be stressful or a lot of work. You may    find your children are more likely to try the foods they have helped to make.
  • Family Meals with No TV: Eating meals together as a family is linked to eating more balanced meals and a greater variety of healthy foods. Eating while watching TV, on the other hand, is linked to poorer food choices and increased risk of  childhood obesity.
  • Help my Kids Won’t Eat Enough Vegetables and Fruit: Check out the latest recommendations and ideas for eating vegetables    and fruit. Your kids may be doing better than you thought!
  • Work Together to Feed Your Child: Many children spend most of the day in child care. This means caregivers play a big role in shaping your child’s eating habits. Find out how you can work with your child care provider to make it easy for your child to eat well.
  • Picky Eaters and Serving Sizes: Children often do not eat as well as you would like. Some have a short list of foods they will eat, others simply refuse to try new foods. Learn more with these quick answers to some common questions about feeding children.

3. Mealtime challenge: How can I make packing kids lunches healthier and easier?

A healthy lunch with foods from three or four food groups helps children re-charge for a great afternoon ahead.  Your child may be more likely to eat their lunch if they help to plan and pack it plus they’ll soon learn how to do it all on their own.  Read on to find healthy and budget-wise lunch ideas, time saving tips and more. Making lunches won’t be a chore again!  

4. Mealtime challenge: How can I eat right for less?

Stretch your food dollar without giving up good nutrition. You’ll eat healthier and save by planning your meals around healthy basics and limiting processed or prepared foods. Read on to find out more!

  • How to Eat Well on a Budget: Healthy eating need not cost more. There are lots of ways for you to enjoy the benefits of healthy eating on a budget. Try these money saving tips to plan nutritious meals and snacks for you and your family.
  • Freezing 101: Discover smart tips to freeze food for fast healthy meals.
  • Meal Makeovers that Pack More Veggies and Fruit: Did you know that boosting your veggie and fruit intake could add years to your life? It’s true. People who eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits a day are less likely to get heart disease or certain types of cancer
  • Call your local public health unit or community health centre to find out about collective kitchen or group cooking classes or community garden projects.
  • Visit to find out about the Good Food Box Program where low costing, fresh produce is delivered to locations across the province.
  • Visit Foodland Ontario to find pick-your-own farms and locations for farmers markets near you.

5. Mealtime challenge: How can I shop for healthier foods?

What you buy is what you eat. A grocery cart with healthy choices means healthy meals and snacks for the days ahead.  Shopping for healthier food can seem tricky with all the different claims and healthy choice symbols. Find out how to read labels and shop for healthier choices.

  • Healthy Shopping Tips. Healthy eating starts with having healthy foods in your home. With so many options, knowing what to choose can be a challenge. Rest assured, with a little preparation and knowledge, making the right choices can be as easy as one, two, three!
  • Tackling Trans Fat. Find out what trans fat is and how to avoid or at least limit it. 
  • Choosing whole-grains FAQ’s
  • Visit Foodland Ontario to find pick-your-own farms and locations for farmers markets near you.

Last Update – January 29, 2019

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