Build a healthy meal: use the Eat Well Plate

The Eat Well Plate helps you follow Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide when planning and serving meals. The Plate shows food group proportions and encourages you to make half your plate vegetables and fruit.

Hover over each section of the Eat Well Plate (PDF 125 KB) to see healthy eating tips.

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Give vegetables and fruit the leading role. Make half (½) your plate vegetables and fruit.
  • Different vegetables and fruit offer different nutrients for health.  Include a variety for good health.
  • Include dark green and orange vegetables. They are packed with nutrients.
    • Try simple recipes that call for leafy greens such as beet greens, broccoli, chard, collards, kale and spinach.
    • Enjoy orange vegetables such as squash (acorn, butternut), pumpkin, sweet potatoes or yams. Try them baked, boiled or pureed in soups.
  • Add colour and crunch to your meals by serving up raw vegetables. Serve vegetables like red, yellow or green peppers, carrot sticks, and cherry or grape tomatoes with your meal. Try them with dips made with herbs, spices and lower fat plain yogurt.
  • If using canned vegetables, choose those lower in sodium or drain and rinse them well with water.
  • Frozen vegetables and fruit are a healthy and convenient option. Choose ones without added seasonings and sauces.
  • Eating whole vegetables and fruit is more nutritious than drinking juice. Choose them more often than juice.

Grain Products

  • Eat a variety of whole grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice.
  • Choose whole grain bread, bagels, pita bread and tortillas instead of croissants, doughnuts or pastries.
  • Substitute brown rice in recipes that call for white rice and use whole grain pasta instead of white pasta.

Meat and Alternatives

  • If you eat meat, a little goes a long way. Choose lean cuts.
  • Choose meat alternatives. Use split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils or tofu in place of meat. Add them to soups, casseroles, salads, and wraps, or blend them into a dip.
  • Eat fish. Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. These types of fish are high in omega 3 fats, which are healthy for your heart.

Milk and Alternatives

  • Drink milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk) or unsweetened fortified soy beverage each day.
  • Use unsweetened low fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) or unsweetened fortified soy beverage when preparing scrambled eggs, hot cereal, casseroles and soups.
  • Choose milk alternatives such as cheese and yogurt that are lower in fat, sugars and sodium.


  • Water is a calorie-free way of staying hydrated. Make water your drink of choice. At some meals, include lower fat milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages.
  • Drink plain or unsweetened sparkling water. Flavour it up: slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or fresh fruit; fresh herbs like basil and mint; a splash of 100% pure fruit juice.
  • Add flavour to your water by making your own tea. Boil water and add the following tasty combinations:
    • Chopped apple and cinnamon
    • Orange slices and cinnamon
    • Fresh squeezed lemon and ginger
    • Chopped pear and ginger
  • Keep a pitcher of water on the table for easy access.

Oils and Fats

  • When preparing meals, replace shortening, lard or hard margarines with healthy oils and fats such as canola, olive and soybean.
  • For breads and rolls, dip or drizzle olive oil in place of butter.
  • Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day. For example:
    • Use soft non-hydrogenated margarine on your toast or bread
    • Use canola oil in your pan to make eggs
    • Use a vinegar and oil type salad dressing (e.g. Balsamic, Italian, raspberry vinaigrette) on your salad.
    • Use olive oil to cook your stir-fry.

Supporting information and tips

Fast and easy meal ideas

Planning for healthy meals

Tips for a well-stocked kitchen

Preparing healthy meals and snacks

Healthy shopping tips

Tips for eating out

Healthy snacking

Tips for little chefs

How to count Food Guide Servings in a meal

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