Health Canada
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Food and Nutrition

How to Make a Plan

Canada's
Food
Guide

It may seem difficult to plan, shop and prepare meals and snacks that satisfy everyone's needs in your family. You can use the tips in Canada's Food Guide to help you make healthy choices. Check out the examples of meals for different families.

Planning With Your Family in Mind

What types of foods?

The types of food your family needs are basically the same for everyone and should be based on the tips found in Canada's Food Guide.

With the large variety of foods in the four food groups it is easy to plan meals everyone will enjoy.

See tips to make wise choices.

How much food?

The amount of food you serve varies for different family members. For example, preschooler's need fewer Food Guide Servings from some food groups than older children and teens. What's important is knowing that everyone has consumed their recommended number of Food Guide Servings from each of the four food groups by the end of the day.

Learn more about Food Guide Servings.

It's okay to have more or less than one Food Guide Serving

You may serve yourself the same amount as one Food Guide Serving while other family members may want more or less than one Food Guide Serving.

For example:

  • A two year old boy may only eat half a Food Guide Serving of meat at dinner while a 30 year old male may serve himself two Food Guide Servings of meat at dinner.
  • A preschooler may drink only 125 mL (1/2 cup) of milk, which equals half a Food Guide Serving while a teenage boy may drink 500 mL (2 cups) of milk, which equals two Food Guide Servings.

You can spread your Food Guide Servings throughout the day.

For example:

  • You could have 25 g (about 1 oz.) of meat in a salad at lunch and 50 g (about 2 oz.) of meat or poultry at supper. That adds up to 75 g (2 ½ oz.)/125 mL , (½ cup) of meat which equals to one Food Guide Serving of meat and alternatives.
  • You could have one egg plus 15 mL (1 Tbsp) of peanut butter which adds up to one Food Guide Serving of meat and alternatives.

Examples of Meals for Different Families

You can use Canada's Food Guide to plan a day's worth of eating for the whole family that satisfies everyone's food group needs. The following examples use the same basic meals for each family member but the items are served in different amounts. These meals can be eaten at home, at work, at school or elsewhere.