Meal planning by high and low health conscious individuals during a simulated shop in the supermarket: A mixed methods study

Anice Camargo, Alyne M. Botelho, Moira Dean, Giovanna M.R. Fiates*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planning is an essential component of home meal preparation. While level of health consciousness permeates both activities, this relationship is underexplored in the scientific literature. Using a mixed-methods convergent parallel design this study identified the reasoning behind meal planning and compared the characteristics of meals planned by high and low health-conscious adults during a simulated shopping task in a supermarket store. Participants were assigned a task where they were asked to choose ingredients to prepare a hot evening meal for a last-minute guest. High Health Conscious (HHC) participants planned healthier meals with more whole grains/breads/pasta, fruits, and vegetables than Low Health Conscious (LHC) participants. HHC participants mentioned not only health-related motives, but also ingredients' characteristics and cooking habits as influencers of their choices. LHC individuals focused on their own preferences, acknowledged that they struggled with the skills needed to prepare a meal and considered the presence of a guest as the only reason why they would prepare a meal. The mixed methods approach enabled us to link the participants’ reasoning with the quantitative differences between meals planned by them - HHC individuals planned healthier meals and manifested closeness to the act of cooking. This suggests that the link between health interest and learning how to cook deserves to be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104468
Number of pages9
Early online date23 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020


  • Culinary practices
  • Dinner
  • Healthy meals
  • Homemade meals
  • Meal planning
  • Meal quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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