Cooking Your Way to Good Health

A family preparing dinner togetherThis is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!

- Julia Child, My Life in France

Food exists at the intersection of necessity, good health, fun, and discovery…at least in a perfect world. Today many of us focus on necessity, paying more attention to time, money, and convenience than milking our food for its positive qualities. (Pun intended.)

During National Women's Health Week, let's cook up more positivity around our meals by, well, cooking. Whether you are a beginner or a gourmet, you can boost your appreciation for the foods you eat simply by preparing them yourself. Spice up old favorites and discover new ones using these free resources:

  • We all know we should eat balanced meals with a variety of foods, but sometimes it's hard to put into action. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate website has recipes, meal planners, and tons of information about the different food groups, food safety, and how to eat well on a budget. There are even ideas for how to get the kids involved!
  • To help you build a healthy plate at every meal, MyPlate also teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative and the Partnership for a Healthier America to share hundreds of recipes that are good for your taste buds and your health. Check out each yummy recipe at https://www.pinterest.com/MyPlateRecipes/.
  • USDA's Food and Nutrition Service Recipe Finder and SNAP-Ed Recipe Finder also provide access to over 1,000 tasty recipes for families, schools, and organizations. You can browse recipes by ingredients, course, or cuisine and quickly be on your way to a meal that satisfies everyone around the table.
  • Heart healthy recipes for the whole family are available from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at https://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov. These free, delicious, easy recipes are just what you need to jumpstart your home cooking adventures.
  • The HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion developed the Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshop Series to help community educators, health promoters, and others teach adults how to apply nutrition and physical activity advice in their everyday lives. These workshops provide lesson plans, handouts, videos, and more to help everyone eat healthier and be more physically active.

Eating well and eating healthy can be the same thing — and you don't have to be a gourmet chef to get there. With these resources, you can find the fun in mealtime every day!