App Help: Quick & Healthy Menu Maker

FAQs and instructions on how to use Cooking Light's Quick & Healthy Menu Maker app.

Build a healthy menu or choose one of ours in a snap—with Cooking Light’s Quick and Healthy Menu Maker for iPad and iPhone. Download here today.

Swipe through more than 300 easy, delicious chicken, beef, pork, fish, and vegetarian entrees—then add sides and desserts to make healthy weeknight meals you and your family will love.

How to get around the Quick and Healthy Menu Maker:

1. From the main screen, choose an entree, side or dessert to start building a menu around. Swipe up and down to change categories (e.g. Chicken, Beef, etc.) and swipe left to right to explore dishes within the category.

2. Tap Suggested Menu to see our editors’ picks for healthy meals based on the current dish—or to start building your own meal.

3. Tap Menu View to see larger images of the selected menu. Click Dish View to return to menu mode.

4. Tap See Recipe to view the recipe ingredients and directions. View other recipes in a selected menu by tapping the recipe images at bottom.


1. Can I email recipes or share to Facebook and Twitter?
Yes. Tap See Recipe, tap Share, and share a recipe via email, Facebook, and Twitter. You will have to login to Facebook and Twitter before sharing.

2. How do I save favorite menus and recipes? 
Tap Save in upper right of screen and either "Add Dish to Favorites" or "Add Menu to Favorites." See saved recipes and menus here.

3. How do I customize my own menu? 
If you want to change any dish from a menu, tap the "x" in the photo box at bottom and swipe through categories to add another dish.

4. How can I quickly scroll through recipes in a given category? 
Click large image until a line of bullets appears at top. Drag finger across bullets to scroll through recipe titles. Release finger on given title to go the chosen recipe.

5. What does the "v" in a circle mean beside some recipe titles?
These recipes are vegetarian choices.

6. On the iPhone®, how do I see the nutrition information?
Once you’ve built your menu, tap “Nutrition View” on the lower left.

7. What do I do if my app gets stuck or freezes?
If the app "gets stuck" at any point on a recipe or advertisement, you'll need to quit the app and re-start. Here are steps on how to quit an app on an iPad or iPhone:

  1. On your iPad or iPhone, press the round home button at the bottom of your device once. This will take you back to the home screen of your device.
  2. Once you're on the home screen, press the round home button quickly two times. This will bring up the multi-tasking bar at the bottom of your iPad or iPhone.
  3. You should see Cooking Light listed as one of the apps that is running. Hold your finger over the Cooking Light icon until it starts to jiggle. Once it starts to jiggle, it will also get a small red minus icon, which you can tap to quit the application.
  4. Once you quit the application (and any other ones you're not using), press the round home button again. This will hide the multi-tasking bar and show the device home screen again. Find the Cooking Light icon and start the app again.

8. Will there be an app for the Android?
The Cooking Light Quick & Healthy Menu Maker is currently only available for iPad® and iPhone®. We may consider a version for Android for future releases.

What do the nutrition numbers mean?
The rules for healthy eating are actually pretty simple for the average American: Eat more plants, including whole grains; less meat; lots of variety; and favor healthy fats over less-healthy saturated fats.

Our menus are based on these simple principles. But we kept an eye on three key nutrition numbers—calories, sodium, and saturated fat—when we built the menus for this app, and those are keyed to the green/red indicators. The indicators relate to one average adult serving of the entire menu and are based on the daily nutrition recommendations for women 25 to 50 (see the chart below for men, and for women over 50).

These are not stingy servings. We assumed you might eat about 40% of your daily calories and sodium at dinner, and half your saturated fat. When a menu exceeds those percentages—exceeds 875 calories, 1,000mg of sodium, or 10g of saturated fat—the indicator turns red.

What do I do if a nutrition indicator turns red?

  • Swipe in another dish until the sodium, calories, or saturated fat number turns green.
  • Cut out dessert or side dish—you may not want a 4-course meal anyway.
  • Consult some of the fat-, salt-, and calorie-cutting options listed below.
  • Pick a main dish or side dish you like and touch the Suggested Menu button. You’ll get a whole new “all-green” menu.
  • Decide you don’t care in this case if calories, sodium, or saturated fat are high—maybe because you had a light lunch or you exercised a lot.

Does a red indicator mean a meal isn’t healthy?
No. The recipes and menus in this app—as with all Cooking Light recipes—are significantly and consistently lower in saturated fat, calories, and sodium than most of the popular American and international dishes upon which they are based. So going over a bit really means you have reached the levels of standards recipes.

What does “Menu Per Serving” mean?
The indicators relate to one average adult serving of an entire menu and are based on the daily nutrition recommendations for women 25 to 50.

How do average nutrition numbers relate to me, an individual?
The chart below shows how average nutrition recommendations vary by gender and age. Other factors, including lifestyle, weight, and your own health—including genetic factors such as risk for hypertension—all need consideration. So it’s a good idea for any adult to know her own health numbers—including body mass index, cholesterol levels, and other values—which any good annual physical exam will reveal. Use that information, and the advice of a physician or qualified nutritionist or dietitian, when changing your diet.

Continue reading for more Nutrition FAQs