Rate Your Plate
Ever wonder how your meals measure up? The Mission Nutrition* team has devised a simple quiz to help you rate your plate. You can use it whether you're eating at home or dining out. It's a quick and easy way to find out how nutritious your family meals are and see where there's room for healthier food choices.
A Healthy Balance
Healthy eating is a matter of the choices you make over time, not just one meal or one day. As you rate your plate, think about how it fits into your overall daily eating pattern. Use our simple quiz and tips to help you evaluate your family's food choices and make positive changes. Aim for a healthy balance over time.
Print a copy of the Mission Nutrition* Rate Your Plate Quiz to guide you.
See how to Picture Your Plate the healthy way.
Keep these tips in mind to help you be Portion Wise.
Get healthy hints for Eating Out.
|Tip:||Parents, following Canada's Food Guide helps children grow and thrive. Each food group contributes a unique combination of essential nutrients. That's why striking the right balance makes for healthy bodies and minds.|
Picture Your Plate
A good way to strike a healthy balance is to picture your plate based on Canada's Food Guide. Use these tips to help you balance your meals:
- Picture foods from all four food groups as part of your meal. Keep in mind you need more servings of Vegetables and Fruit and Grain Products daily and fewer servings of Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives.
- Picture your meal roughly in thirds:
- one third with Vegetables and Fruit (go for at least one dark green and one orange vegetable a day);
- one third with Grain Products (make at least half of your choices whole grain each day); and,
- one third with Milk and Alternatives plus Meat and Alternatives (this may be a glass of milk on the side, ricotta cheese in your lasagna or a yogurt after your meal from the Milk and Alternatives group; plus, fish, poultry, lean meat, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts or eggs from the Meat and Alternatives food group).
- The key is to balance your food choices at meals and snacks to meet the recommended number of Food Guide Servings from each food group. See how much food you need from each food group in Canada's Food Guide.
Take a look at our Sample Plate to see what a well balanced meal looks like.
Of course, the portion sizes on your plate matter too. Keep these pointers in mind to help make sure your family is eating healthy portions at mealtime.
- Serve young children small nutritious meals to match their small appetites. Let older children help themselves according to their appetite. Learn to start with small servings and help yourselves to more if you're still hungry.
- Offer a variety of healthy foods and trust your child's appetite. It's not a good idea to insist that children finish all the food on their plate. Let your child decide how much to eat, they know best if they're hungry or full.
- Burn it off by balancing the food you eat with your daily physical activity. If you eat more calories than you use up daily, you will end up gaining weight over time. So it's important to get your family moving each day.
- Remember that the number of servings that you need from each food group depends on your age and gender. See how many Food Guide Servings you need to help you plan healthy family menus.
Eating out together can be a fun family event. But making wise choices may be more challenging when you aren't preparing the meal yourself. Try these tips to help your family maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying the occasion:
- Visit restaurants on-line and check out their nutrition information before hand when possible.
- Check the menu for items identified as healthier choices and ask for nutrition information.
- Share larger meals or take half home for tomorrow or order an appetizer as your entree.
- Encourage kids to order from the healthy options on the regular menu and share a meal rather than choosing from a kids menu that tend to have less healthy choices.
- Start your meal with a vegetable soup or side salad.
- Opt for a baked potato or side salad instead of french fries.
- Ask for food to be broiled, baked or steamed, not fried.
- If your meal does not come with vegetables, order them as a side to round out your meal.
- Choose tomato-based sauces rather than cream sauces or gravy.
- Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and use sparingly.
- Limit rich desserts that are high in calories, fat and/or sugar.
- Drink water, milk, 100% juice or unsweetened tea.