Creating healthy meals and snacks can be simple when you use the Eat Well Plate.
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How to make a healthy meal
Use the proportions of foods on the Eat Well Plate as a guide to help you make healthy meals or snacks.
Step 1: Make half your plate vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits should always make up the largest proportion of the foods you eat.
Step 2: Choose whole grain foods.
Step 3: Include protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.
Not all meals need to look exactly like the Eat Well Plate to be considered healthy. Use the Eat Well Plate whether the meal is served:
- in a bowl
- on a plate
- at a picnic
- in a lunch box
- on a shared platter
How to use the Eat Well Plate
You can use the Eat Well Plate as a guide for everything you eat, including:
- family meals
- mixed dishes
The proportions of foods for all of your snacks throughout the day should generally follow the proportions of the Eat Well Plate.
Use the Eat Well Plate as a guide to include a vegetable or fruit at each snack. Try:
- fruit with whole grain crackers
- sliced celery with peanut butter
- cut up vegetables with hummus
- cherry tomatoes with lower fat cheese cubes
You can use the Eat Well Plate as a guide to make half of your breakfast vegetables and fruits.
It’s all about being creative. You can try:
- having a sliced apple on top of toast with peanut butter
- including a bowl of fruit with your whole grain and protein
- adding lots of vegetables to a frittata or breakfast sandwich
- filling half of your bowl of oatmeal with berries and chopped fruit
- making a vegetable omelette with a side of fruit and half a whole grain bagel
Use the Eat Well Plate as a guide to make meals for your whole family. Keep in mind that:
- some people need more food than others
- kids may require smaller amounts of foods, so you may need to serve a mini version of the meal
No matter the type of meal, half of everybody’s plate should be made up of vegetables and fruits.
You can use the Eat Well Plate as a guide even when the foods in your meal are mixed together, like in a:
Think about the proportions of the foods being combined to make your mixed dish. For example, when making a stir-fry:
- make half of the food in your meal vegetables and fruits, such as:
- sliced peppers
- choose your protein foods, such as sliced tofu or chicken
- choose your whole grain foods, such as whole grain rice
No matter what type of dish, remember to make half the meal vegetables and fruits.
What you eat on a regular basis matters for your health.
- Choose foods that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat.
- Compare the nutrition facts table on foods to choose products that are lower in sodium, sugars or saturated fat.