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Make healthy meals with the Eat Well Plate

Make healthy meals with the Eat Well Plate

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.

Figure 1. Eat Well Plate

Figure 1. Eat Well Plate – Text Description

The Eat Well Plate shows the proportions of foods on a plate for healthy meals or snacks.

  • Half of the plate is vegetables and fruits.
  • One quarter of the plate is whole grain foods.
  • One quarter of the plate is protein foods.

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
  • buffet-style
  • 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:

  • snacks
  • breakfasts
  • family meals
  • mixed dishes

Snacks

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

Breakfasts

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

Family meals

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.

Mixed dishes

You can use the Eat Well Plate as a guide even when the foods in your meal are mixed together, like in a:

  • soup
  • stir-fry
  • casserole

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:
    • carrots
    • mushrooms
    • 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.

Make a healthy choice

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.

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Make easy breakfasts
  • Make easy lunches
  • Make easy dinners
  • Make easy snacks

Further reading

Date modified: 2019-01-17