Menu Planning Tips
  1. Select the meat or alternative for each day of the week
    • Consider serving fish twice a week.
    • Choose lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.
    • Choose a different meat or alternative for each day: beef, pork, fish, poultry, baked beans, peas, lentils, eggs.
  2. Select a vegetable for each day of the week
    • Provide at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
    • Choose vegetables prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
    • Include a variety of cooked and raw vegetables throughout the week.
    • Use different textures and shapes, such as grated, chopped, mashed, sliced, cubed, sticks, wedges.
  3. Select a fruit for each day of the week
    • Serve fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
    • Choose whole fruit more often than fruit juice. Children do not need juice.
    • Fruit juice should be limited to 125 mL (1/2 cup) per day. Avoid fruit ‘punches’,
      ‘drinks’, and ‘beverages’.
  4. Select a grain product for each day of the week
    • Serve whole grain products most of the time. Examples include whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, and brown rice.
    • Include a variety of grain products such as pasta, rice, barley, couscous, bagels, pitas, tortillas, rye bread, oatmeal, and quinoa.
    • Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.
  5. Select milk or a milk alternative for each day of the week
    • Serve whole milk (3.25%) for children 1 to 2 years. Serve 1% or 2% milk each day to children over two years of age. Note: some parents may provide expressed breastmilk instead.
    • Serve milk as a beverage at lunch or snack.
    • Serve milk products, like yogurt, milk pudding, and cheese for snacks or desserts.
    • Include milk products in the ingredients used to prepare desserts or for toppings.
  6. If you offer dessert, it can be chosen from one of the four food groups
    • It is not necessary to plan desserts such as cake or cookies.
    • Some nutritious dessert ideas are homemade fruit crisp, fresh fruit, yogurt, milk pudding, fruit canned in juice, and homemade oatmeal cookies.
  7. Plan morning and afternoon snacks to complement meals
    • Select snacks from the four food groups of Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
    • Offer food from at least two food groups at each snack.
    • Choose snacks that are low in added sugar and do not stick to teeth.
    • Serve snacks about 2 hours before the next meal.
  8. Double check your menu: see the Good Beginnings Menu Planning Checklist.

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