Food for Thought Blog

Canada’s Food Guide: Building a Healthy Plate

February 5th, 2021Food

Canada’s Food Guide is a tool to help you plan healthy meals. In 2019, a new food guide was released which follows a healthy plate model, rather than the previous food group servings-based guide.

With this new model, your plate is broken up into 3 categories:

Fruits and Vegetables

Whole grains

Protein

The goal is to divide your plate up the same way the model does. This means that ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, ¼ whole grains, and the remaining ¼ protein.

Check out each heading below to learn more about what foods fit into each category.

Fruit and Vegetables – ½ of Your Plate

 

Try to eat as many different types and colours of fruits and vegetable as you can and have access to. This ensures you are getting a wide range of nutrients. You can get creative when adding fruits and vegetables to your plate. Whether they are raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, they are all a nutritious choice.

 

Examples

  • Bananas
  • Frozen Carrots
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • No Salt Added Canned Peas
  • Dried Mango
  • Spinach
  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Whole Grains – ¼ of Your Plate

When selecting grain products, try to choose whole grains as often as they are available. Whole grains are less refined, this means they are higher in nutrients such as iron, B-vitamins, and fiber. Look for words such as “100% whole grain” on the packaging or “whole grain” at the start of the ingredient list to help you maximize your intake of these nutrients.

 

Examples

  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole Grain Breakfast Cereal
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Brown Rice
  • Popcorn

Protein – ¼ of Your Plate

When it comes to protein, there are a range of options including both plant (ex. nuts, seeds, and beans/legumes) and animal (ex. meat, eggs, and dairy) sources of protein. Incorporating a range of protein sources, when possible, is important as plant-based sources of protein are a great source of fiber while being low in saturated fat.

Examples

  • Black Beans
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chicken
  • Cod
  • Lean Beef
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Calcium Fortified Soy Milk
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • String Cheese

When creating a balanced plate, it is important to remember that everyone’s plate will look different. Taste, culture, budget, and lifestyle will all play a role into what your plate looks like. A healthy plate can look many different ways and the most important thing is to create a plate that fits you!

Try incorporating a side of vegetables with a traditional family recipe or even set a goal to choose plant-based sources of protein twice a week. Whatever you choose, start small and slowly work towards creating your version of a healthy plate.

Check out food-guide.canada.ca to learn more about Canada’s Food Guide.