Health Canada
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Food and Nutrition

Planning Meals

Canada's
Food
Guide

You can use Canada's Food Guide to plan meals for yourself, your family or friends.

Planning meals helps you:

  • Eat well by varying your food choices throughout the day and week;
  • Save time by planning and shopping ahead and reducing trips to the grocery store; and
  • Get meals on the table faster with less stress

Meal planning doesn't have to take a lot of time! Do it once or twice a week when you write out your shopping list. The more you plan the easier it gets. A little planning goes a long way in helping you have healthy eating habits.

Planning Tips

Involve children in planning and preparing meals. They'll appreciate the meal more and learn important life skills. You may even end up with a capable cook by your side!

Getting started:

  1. Menu plan - Use a piece of paper, calendar, or a menu planner to jot down your meal ideas.
  2. Grocery list - Write down the foods you need for the next few days or week.
  3. Go shopping - Buy the foods you need on your grocery list.
  4. Start cooking - Post your meal plan on the fridge so whoever gets home first can start the meal.

Meal Planning Checklist:

  • Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.
  • Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.
  • Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Drink fortified soy beverage if you do not drink milk.
  • Select lower fat milk alternatives.
  • Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.
  • Choose at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.
  • Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.
  • Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day.
  • Satisfy your thirst with water.
  • Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt.

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