Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit

Activity Plan #4 (children and adults): Nutrition Facts table

Table of Contents

Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit:

Supplemental Material

Purpose

This activity plan is part of a series that supports the Eat Well and Be Active Every Day poster. It is designed to help intermediaries educate children and adults about key healthy eating messages and encourages individuals to take action to maintain and improve their health.

Educators are encouraged to use the activity plans with a group according to the numbered sequence, as some concepts in the series build on each other. However, educators should adapt suggested activities and sequence to meet the needs of their group.

Topic

This activity plan:

  • Introduces the Nutrition Facts table
  • Focuses on using the % Daily Value (% DV) to learn how to choose and compare food products to make healthier choices

Background

Refer to Activity Plans #1 and #2 for activities to learn about Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.

Canada's Food Guide encourages people to choose foods lower in fat, sugar and sodium (salt).

The Nutrition Facts table on packaged food products can be used to compare and choose healthier foods.

The information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on the amount of food (serving size) listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts table. Learning about the amount of food (serving size) and other information in the Nutrition Facts table allows you to compare similar food products and make healthier choices.

The % DV is a tool that shows if the amount of food (serving size) on the Nutrition Facts table has a little or a lot of a nutrient. 5% DV or less is a little; 15% DV or more is a lot, for all nutrients. The Daily Values for nutrients are based on recommendations for each age and sex group, so they apply to most people aged 2 and over.

Because each nutrient in the Nutrition Facts table has its own Daily Value, the % DVs are not meant to add up to 100%.

Also, the % DV is not intended to track your nutrient intake for the day. This is because some foods you eat, such as vegetables, fruit and fresh meats, do not have a Nutrition Facts table.

The Nutrition Facts table gives you information on calories and the following 13 nutrients: fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Use the amount of food (serving size) and the % DV to compare and choose healthier food products.

Educator Tip:
For more information on how to compare and choose healthier food products

Follow these three steps:

  1. Look at the amount of food (serving size)

    When looking at a Nutrition Facts table on a food product...

    • Compare the amount of food (serving size) listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts table to the amount you actually eat.

    When comparing the Nutrition Facts tables of two similar food products...

    • Compare the amount of food (serving size) in the Nutrition Facts tables.
  2. Read the % DV

    Use the %DV to see if a food has a little or a lot of a nutrient

    • 5% DV or less is a little
    • 15% DV or more is a lot
  3. Choose

    Make a better choice for you. Some nutrients you may want…

    • less of: fat, saturated and trans fat, sodium
    • more of: fibre, vitamin A, calcium, iron
 

Educator Tip:
For more information on calories and each nutrient found in the Nutrition Facts table, explore the Interactive Nutrition Facts table

For more information on nutrition labelling, see suggested readings.

Educator Tip:
These suggested readings are strongly recommended to help you prepare for this activity plan.

Learning Objectives

After completing the activities below, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the % DV and how it should be used.
  2. Compare the amount of food (serving size) listed in the Nutrition Facts table to what participants actually eat in one sitting.
  3. Adjust the % DV in the Nutrition Facts table based on the amount of food actually eaten.
  4. Understand what is considered "a little" and "a lot" of a nutrient.
  5. Compare two similar food products and select which product is the better choice for them.

Educator Tip:
Some of the learning objectives require an understanding of math (for example: numbers, amounts, and percentages). You are encouraged to read through each activity and select or adapt them to suit your group.

You will need

Required

A copy for each participant

Optional

Activities

Educator Tip:
If you are working with younger children, you may want to focus on the Grocery Map activity and make it a friendly game.

Preliminary Exercise: Introduction to Nutrition Labelling

Guide participants through the Ready-To-Use Presentation on Nutrition Labelling

The 28 slides cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to nutrition labelling
  • Description of the three elements of nutrition labelling
  • How nutrition labelling and Canada's Food Guide support healthy eating
  • Key points to remember to enhance the use of the food label

You are encouraged to download the presentation and adapt it to suit the needs of your group.

A closer look at % Daily Value:

a) How to Choose

Give each participant a copy of the factsheet, Using the Nutrition Facts table: % Daily Value. Review the 3 steps on how to choose foods.

Hand out a copy of Sample Nutrition Facts Tables to each participant.

Educator Tip:
If possible, ask participants in advance to bring in some sample food packages of foods that they eat regularly. Use the Nutrition Facts table on these packages instead of the samples provided.

Select one sample Nutrition Facts table to review as a group. Guide participants through the 3 steps on how to choose foods by asking the following questions:

  1. What is the amount of food (serving size)?

    Look at the amount of food listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts table. How does this amount compare to the amount you would actually eat? Would you eat the same amount, or half, double, etc.?

    For example:

    Look at the Nutrition Facts table for Burger B

    Q/ What is the amount of food (serving size)?
    A/ 1 burger (130 g)

    If you ate two burgers...

    Q/ How many calories would you have eaten?
    A/ 200 calories per burger x 2 burgers = 400 calories
    Q/ What would the % DV for Saturated and trans fat be if you ate 2 burgers?
    A/ 15% DV per burger x 2 burgers = 30% DV
  2. What is the % DV of… 
    • Fat
    • Saturated and trans fat
    • Sodium
    • Fibre
    • Vitamin A
    • Calcium
    • Iron


    Remember, 5% DV or less is a little; 15% DV or more is a lot

  3. Is this food a good choice? Why or why not?
    • Choose foods with less fat, saturated and trans fat, and sodium
    • Choose foods with more fibre, vitamin A, calcium and iron

Educator Tip:
To learn more about the nutrients you want more of and those you want less of, explore the Interactive Nutrition Facts table

Key Message: Choose foods with less fat, saturated and trans fat and sodium. Choose foods with more fibre, vitamin A, calcium and iron. 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.

b) How to Compare

Review the 3 steps on how to compare foods with the Using the Nutrition Facts table: % Daily Value Factsheet.

Ask participants to choose two similar food products to compare using the Sample Nutrition Facts Tables provided, or the food product packages brought in by participants.

Discuss the information found in the Nutrition Facts tables. Possible discussion questions may include:

  1. Look at the amount of food (serving size)
    • Is the amount of food (serving size) of both products about the same?
      • Is the amount (weight in grams) the same? If so, you can easily compare the % DVs.
      • You can compare some products that do not have quite the same serving sizes. For example, you can compare the % DVs of a bagel (90 g) to the % DVs of 2 slices of bread (70 g) because you will probably eat either amount of these foods at one meal.
  2. Read the % DVs
    • Which product is a better choice if you are trying to eat less sodium?
    • Which product is a better choice if you are trying to eat more fibre?
    • Which product has the least amount of fat?
    • Which product has the most amount of calcium?
    • Refer to the Sample Nutrition Facts tables to discuss the following:
      • Compare Cereal A and Cereal B. If you are trying to eat:
        • more fibre,
        • less sugars, and
        • less sodium

        Which product should you choose? Why?

        Answer: Cereal A is a better choice because it has more fibre and less sugars. It has a little bit more sodium than Cereal B, but the difference is really small.

        Note: Instead of comparing the % DV, compare the grams (g) of sugars in each product. Cereal A has 5 g of sugars, but Cereal B has 10 g of sugars.

      • Compare Canned Salmon A and Canned Salmon B. If you are trying to eat:
        • more calcium, and
        • less sodium

        Which canned salmon is a better choice for you?

        Answer: If you are trying to eat less sodium and more calcium as part of your healthy lifestyle, Canned Salmon B is the better choice for you.

Key Message: To choose and compare foods, follow these three steps when reading the Nutrition Facts table:

  1. Look at the amount of food
  2. Read the % DV
  3. Choose the food that is better for you

Getting to Know the % Daily Value: The Facts on Nutrition Facts

Read aloud each True or False statement on The Facts about Nutrition Facts: True or False? Be sure to choose statements that are appropriate for your group. Ask participants if the statements are true or false. Always follow the answer with the explanation given.

Get Moving Tip: Working with Children? If you have enough space, tell the children that one area is for "True" answers and the other area is for "False" answers. As each statement is answered, have the children move to the area they feel is correct. Have limited space? Tell participants to stand up for "True" statements and stay seated for "False" statements.

 

Key Message: The % DV is a tool to help you see if an amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient. Use the % DV to compare foods and make healthier food choices.

Grocery Map:
To complete this activity, refer to the Grocery Store Map and the Grocery Store Map Leader's Guide.

Educator Tip:
If you have internet access, you may want to complete the Interactive Nutrition Label and Quiz instead of completing the Grocery Map activity.

 

Key Message: Healthy eating begins at the grocery store. Follow Canada's Food Guide and use the Nutrition Facts table to help you make informed food choices.

Suggested Readings

Related Tools and Tips

Sample Nutrition Facts Table

Canned Soup A

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 cup (250 mL)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 160
Fat 11 g 17 %
Saturated 2 g
+ Trans 0 g
10 %
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 1080 mg 45 %
Carbohydrate 13 g 4 %
Fibre 1 g 4 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 4 %

Canned Soup B

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 cup (250 mL)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 150
Fat 2.5 g 4 %
Saturated 1 g
+ Trans 0 g
5 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 250 mg 10 %
Carbohydrate 25 g 8 %
Fibre 5 g 20 %
Sugars 7 g
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A 15 %   Vitamin C 6 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 10 %
 

Cracker A

Nutrition Facts
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 90
Fat 2 g 3 %
Saturated 0.3 g
+ Trans 0 g
2 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 90 mg 4 %
Carbohydrate 15 g 5 %
Fibre 3 g 12 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 6 %

Cracker B

Nutrition Facts
Per 9 crackers (23g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 100
Fat 4.5 g 7 %
Saturated 2.5 g
+ Trans 0 g
13 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 280 mg 12 %
Carbohydrate 12 g 4 %
Fibre 1 g 4 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 8 %
 

Cereal A

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/2 cup (30g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 120
Fat 0 g 0 %
Saturated 0 g
+ Trans 0 g
0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 150 mg 6 %
Carbohydrate 27 g 9 %
Fibre 1 g 4 %
Sugars 10 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 30 %

Cereal B

Nutrition Facts
Per 3/4 cup (30g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 110
Fat 1 g 2 %
Saturated 0.2 g
+ Trans 0 g
1 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 170 mg 7 %
Carbohydrate 23 g 8 %
Fibre 7 g 28 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 30 %

Cheese A - 30% M.F.

Per 4 crackers (20g)
Nutrition Facts
Per 3 cm cube (30g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 120
Fat 10 g 15 %
Saturated 6 g
+ Trans 0.3 g
32 %
Cholesterol 25 mg
Sodium 210 mg 9 %
Carbohydrate 1 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 10 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 20 %   Iron 0 %

Cheese B - 25% M.F.

Nutrition Facts
Per 3 cm cube (30g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 80
Fat 5 g 8 %
Saturated 0.3 g
+ Trans 0.1 g
16 %
Cholesterol 25 mg
Sodium 210 mg 9 %
Carbohydrate 1 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 10 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 20 %   Iron 0 %
 

Canned Salmon A

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/2 can (85g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 140
Fat 12 g 19 %
Saturated 2 g
+ Trans 0 g
10 %
Cholesterol 40 mg
Sodium 70 mg 3 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 16 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 15 %   Iron 6 %

Canned Salmon B

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/2 can (85g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 140
Fat 7 g 11 %
Saturated 1.5 g
+ Trans 0 g
8 %
Cholesterol 40 mg
Sodium 420 mg 18 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 18 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 4 %
 

Canned Peaches A

Nutrition Facts
Per 2/3 cup (160 mL)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 35
Fat 0 g 0 %
Saturated 0 g
+ Trans 0 g
0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg 0 %
Carbohydrate 10 g 3 %
Fibre 2 g 8 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 2 %
Calcium 0 %   Iron 4 %

Canned Peaches B

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/2 cup (160 mL)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 80
Fat 0 g 0 %
Saturated 0 g
+ Trans 0 g
0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg 0 %
Carbohydrate 19 g 6 %
Fibre 2 g 8 %
Sugars 17 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 4 %   Vitamin C 30 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 2 %
 

Burger (Veggie) A

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 Burger (130g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 200
Fat 9 g 14 %
Saturated 2 g
+ Trans 1 g
15 %
Cholesterol 70 mg
Sodium 800 mg 33 %
Carbohydrate 4 g 1 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 25 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 4 %   Iron 2 %

Burger (Veggie) B

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 Burger (130g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 350
Fat 27 g 42 %
Saturated 12 g
+ Trans 2 g
70 %
Cholesterol 70 mg
Sodium 330 mg 14 %
Carbohydrate 3 g 1 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 24 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 30 %
 

Bread A

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 slice (39g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 90
Fat 1 g 2 %
Saturated 0 g
+ Trans 0 g
0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 200 mg 8 %
Carbohydrate 17 g 6 %
Fibre 1 g 4 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 8 %

Bread B

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 slice (37g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 90
Fat 1.5 g 2 %
Saturated 0.4 g
+ Trans 0 g
2 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 190 mg 8 %
Carbohydrate 15 g 5 %
Fibre 4 g 16 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 0 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %   Iron 8 %
 

Educator Tip:
In addition to using the sample Nutrition Facts tables, you can also complete the blank Nutrition Facts tables below by using information found on food products of your choice. Encourage participants to take notes during the discussion and use them when grocery shopping.

Product A:

Nutrition Facts
Per
Amount % Daily Value
Calories
Fat g %
Saturated g
+ Trans g
%
Cholesterol mg
Sodium mg %
Carbohydrate g %
Fibre g %
Sugars g
Protein g
Vitamin A  Vitamin C  %
Calcium  %   Iron %

Product B:

Nutrition Facts
Per
Amount % Daily Value
Calories
Fat g %
Saturated g
+ Trans g
%
Cholesterol mg
Sodium mg %
Carbohydrate g %
Fibre g %
Sugars g
Protein g
Vitamin A  Vitamin C  %
Calcium  %   Iron %
 

Notes:

Bonus Questions: The Facts about Nutrition Facts: True or False

  1. You can only use the Nutrition Facts table to compare foods that have similar amounts of food listed.
    FALSE - The % DV lets you compare foods that have about the same amounts of food listed on the Nutrition Facts table, but you can also use the Nutrition Facts table to compare the % DVs of a bagel (90g) to the % DVs of 2 slices of bread (70g) because you would probably eat either amount of food at one meal.
  2. The three steps for choosing a food are: look at the amount of food, read the % DV and choose.
    TRUE
    1. Nutrition Facts are based on an amount of food (serving size). Compare this amount to the amount you actually eat.
    2. The % DV helps you see if an amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.
    3. Make a better choice for you.
  3. The % DV is based on the exact amount of all nutrients that I need to consume each day.
    FALSE - Nutrient needs vary from person to person. The Daily Values are based on general recommendations for a healthy diet for most people.
  4. The Nutrition Facts table gives you information on the amount of all nutrients and calories in an amount of food.
    FALSE - The Nutrition Facts table gives information on 13 nutrients and calories in a specific amount of food (serving size).
  5. Reading the ingredient list can help you make better food choices.
    TRUE - The ingredient list lets you see what is in the food product. The food product contains more of the ingredients found at the beginning of the list and less of the ingredients at the end of the list. Check that vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk or meat is listed near the beginning of the list.
  6. The % Daily Value makes comparing foods easier because nutrients are written on the same scale (0% - 100% Daily Value).
    TRUE - For example, a food that has a % DV of 5% or less for fat, sodium or cholesterol would have a little of these nutrients. A food that has a % Daily Value of 15% or more for calcium, vitamin A or fibre would have a lot of these nutrients.
  7. An active man will not have the same daily nutrient needs as a six-year-old girl. However, both of them can use the % DV to see if a food product has a little or a lot of the nutrients that are important to them.
    TRUE - The Daily Values used on the Nutrition Facts table are for women, men and children of all ages. Everyone can use the % DV as a guide, even if they don't know their own nutrient needs.
  8. If the Nutrition Facts table on a food product shows 30% DV for calcium, this means that one serving of this food gives you 30% of the amount of calcium you may need in a day, or about one-third of your daily need.
    TRUE - Despite the fact that the % DV will provide you with an approximation of your daily needs, remember that we all have different needs. The best ways to use the % DV are:
    1. To see if a food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.
    2. To compare two different food products and make a better choice for you.
    3. To choose products that are higher in the nutrients you want more of and lower in the nutrients you want less of.
  9. You can use the % DV to choose foods that are lower in the nutrients you want more of and higher in the nutrients you want less of.
    FALSE - You can use the % DV to choose foods that are higher in the nutrients you want more of and lower in the nutrients you want less of.

The Facts about Nutrition Facts: True or False?

  1. You can use the % DV to compare two similar foods and make a better choice.
    TRUE - The % DV can be used to compare two similar foods in order to help you make a healthier choice.
  2. The amount of food (serving size) listed in the Nutrition Facts table is the amount of food I should eat at one sitting.
    FALSE - The amount of food (serving size) listed in the Nutrition Facts table is a quantity that the % Daily Value is based on.
  3. The % Daily Values listed in the Nutrition Facts table should add up to 100%.
    FALSE - The % DVs shown in a Nutrition Facts table do not add up to 100%. Each vitamin and mineral in the Nutrition Facts table has its own Daily Value.
  4. If you eat double the amount of food (serving size) listed in the Nutrition Facts table, you will need to double the % DVs for all nutrients.
    TRUE - The % DV listed is always based on the serving size in the Nutrition Facts table. If you eat more or less than this amount, you will need to change the % DV. You should always compare the amount you eat to the amount listed in the Nutrition Facts table.
  5. 10% DV or less is a little; 20% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.
    FALSE - 5% DV or less is a little; 15% DV or more is a lot, for all nutrients.
  6. The % DV can be used to keep track of all the nutrients you eat during the day.
    FALSE - The % DV is not meant to track all the nutrients you eat during the day. This is because some foods you eat, such as vegetables, fruits and fresh meats, do not have a Nutrition Facts table. Rather, the % DV is a tool to help you see if a specific amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.
  7. The Nutrition Facts table is often hidden and looks different on all packaged food products.
    FALSE - Food companies have to use a clear, regular layout for the Nutrition Facts table.
  8. Some nutrients you may want more of include fat, saturated and trans fat, and sodium.
    FALSE - Choose foods with less fat, trans fat and sodium. Choose foods with more fibre, iron, vitamin A and calcium
  9. The amount of food listed in the Nutrition Facts table is also called a serving size.
    TRUE - All of the information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on an amount of food and is commonly referred to as a serving size. The amount of food (serving size) is listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts table.
  10. The Daily Values are based on general recommendations for a healthy diet. TRUE - The % DV helps you see if a specific amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient. Everyone can use the % DV as a target, whether or not they know their individual needs.

Grocery Store Map Leader's Guide

Objective:

To move through the Grocery Store Map and correctly answer healthy eating knowledge and skill-based questions.

Preparation:

Educator Tip:
If possible, print a large copy of the map and use it as a board game.

Play:

As participants go from section to section on the Grocery Store Map, they will have to answer a series of questions.  Participants will win one Eat Well and Be Active image for each correct answer. If the question is answered incorrectly, read aloud the correct answer.

Educator Tip:
To make the game even more interesting, have participants roll dice. The number thrown will be awarded as points for each correct answer.

If you are playing as a group, pose the question to all participants. Or, if you are playing in teams pose the question to the team. Split the group into two teams if four or more people are playing. To decide who goes first, pick a number between one and 10; the team with the closest guess goes first.

Begin by asking participants to select which section in the grocery store they want to move to. Then after participants choose, for example, the "Vegetables and Fruit" section, review the tip(s) in that section on the Grocery Store Map Tip Sheet, Next, ask one question from the Vegetables and Fruit section.

Winning:

Add up all the images collected. The team with the most images wins. If there is a tie, you may want to select another question as a tie breaker - the team to correctly answer first wins.

If you are playing as a group, add up the number of images collected. If possible, play the game again using the questions that weren't asked during the first game. Make it a goal to collect more images than before.

Planning

Q/ (Children) What is one way to help your parents plan meals?
A/ Possible answer(s): Get involved. Help your parents plan the family's weekly menu. Use Canada's Food Guide for ideas on meals and foods to add to the grocery list.
Q/ Should you plan your meals before going to the grocery store?
A/ Yes! Plan your meals every time you write out your grocery list. The more you plan the easier it gets. A little planning goes a long way in helping you keep healthy eating habits.
Q/ Name one benefit to planning your meals before grocery shopping.
A/ Possible answer(s):
  • it can help you follow Canada's Food Guide
  • it helps you keep different foods on hand to choose from during the day
  • it means fewer trips to the grocery store
  • you can put meals on the table faster with less stress
  • only the foods you need will be on the list
  • you can take advantage of special promotions, coupons, weekly sales or seasonal produce
  • it can help you keep healthy eating habits
Q/ The Jones family often finds they buy much more food than they need for the week when grocery shopping. Name one shopping tip the Jones family can try to avoid this.
A/ Possible answer(s):
  • plan your meals before going shopping. See cooking and meal planning tips for help
  • write out your grocery list based on your meal plan
  • eat before you shop
Q/ Name one thing you may want to think about when planning your meals.
A/ Possible answer(s):
  • what foods you and your family like
  • do the meals follow the recommendations in Canada's Food Guide?
  • how much money you have to spend on food?
  • the amount of time you have to make meals

Vegetables And Fruit

Q/ You should eat at least one orange vegetable each day. Name 2 examples of orange vegetables.
A/ Possible answer(s): Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yams... Refer to What is a Food Guide Serving of Vegetables and Fruit? for more examples.
Q/ Most vegetables and fruit don't have a Nutrition Facts table. What is the best way to make sure you are eating a variety of nutrients?
A/ Choose many types of vegetables and fruit. Variety is the spice of life. Eating different foods listed in each food group in Canada's Food Guide will help you get the nutrients you need.
Q/ True or False? Vegetables and fruit require too much preparation, which is why you should choose cookies and crackers for all your snacks.
A/ False. Vegetables and fruit don't have to take a long time to prepare. Think about taking a small amount of time to prepare your vegetables and fruit for the week. Washed apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes make good grab-and-go snacks!
Q/ Are frozen vegetables and fruit as good for you as fresh ones?
A/ Yes. Frozen vegetables and fruit are a healthy and convenient choice. When purchased in bulk, frozen foods can also cost a lot less than fresh "out-of-season" produce. When choosing frozen vegetables, look for ones that are not "seasoned" with added salty seasonings or sauces. Choose frozen fruit and berries that are not "sweetened" with added sugars or syrup.
Q/ You should eat at least one dark green vegetable every day. Name two examples of dark green vegetables.
A/ Possible answer(s): Broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, asparagus, green peppers, zucchini... Refer to What is a Food Guide Serving of Vegetables and Fruit? for more examples.
Q/ Ms. Ivanna Juice never shops in the vegetables and fruit section of the grocery store. Instead, she buys 100% vegetable and fruit juices. Is Ms. Juice making a good choice? Why or Why not?
A/ No. 100% vegetable and fruit juices count as a Food Guide Serving. However, Canada's Food Guide recommends choosing whole vegetables and fruit more often than juice to get more fibre. If you drink 100% vegetable and fruit juices, remember that one Food Guide Serving is half a cup (125 mL).

Grain Products

Q/ What is an example of a whole grain substitute for white rice?
A/ Possible answer(s): Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley, millet, sorghum, wheat berries. For more examples of whole grains, visit What is a Food Guide Serving of Grain Products?
Q/ You want to try a new cereal called, "Sugar-tastic". The package claims it's a source of fibre. Is this cereal a good choice?
A/ Not necessarily. Remember to read the entire Nutrition Facts table when choosing foods. Choose a cereal that is made with whole grains, bran or oats. A "high fibre" cereal provides at least 4 grams of fibre per serving. 5% DV or less is a little; 15% DV or more is a lot. Limit cereal that has a lot of added sugars.
Q/ You want to eat less salt. What nutrient do you look for?
A/ Salt isn't listed in the Nutrition Facts table. Instead, sodium, which is one of the components found in salt, is listed. Sodium is often added to foods to preserve them or to make them tastier. It can also be found naturally in foods. Eating foods that contain a lot of sodium can be harmful to your health. Look for foods that contain no more than 15% DV for sodium. 5% DV or less is even better, but often difficult to find.
Q/ True or False? When a food package has a 'healthy' symbol (for example: heart, green circle, check mark, …) on it, you don't have to read the Nutrition Facts table because you know the food is a healthy choice.
A/ False. Not necessarily. You should read the Nutrition Facts table to help you choose and compare foods to make sure it is a better choice for you.

Milk And Alternatives

Q/ Cheese A has 15% DV for fat and Cheese B has 8% DV for fat. Which is the better choice if you want to eat less fat?
A/ Cheese B
Q/ Ms. Sam Wich remembers that Canada's Food Guide recommends drinking 2 cups of milk each day so she gets enough vitamin D. Which type of milk should Sam choose?
A/ Canada's Food Guide recommends drinking skim, 1% or 2% milk each day.
Q/ True or False? You don't need to read the Nutrition Facts table when choosing soy beverages because they are all good for you.
A/ False. It's important to read the Nutrition Facts table when selecting soy beverages. You want to make sure that the soy beverage is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. When choosing a flavoured soy beverage be sure to read the Nutrition Facts table and the ingredient list so that you choose one with less sugar.
Q/ True or False? All yogurts are the same.
A/ False. Use the Nutrition Facts table to compare various yogurt products. Nutrients you want to check when comparing yogurts may include: fat, sugar and calcium.
  • Look at the amounts of food
  • Read the % DVs 5% DV or less is a little; 15% DV or more is a lot. Because there is no daily value for sugars, compare the amount of grams of sugars.
  • Choose

Meat And Alternatives

Q/ How many Food Guide Servings of fish should you eat each week?
A/ At least two. One Food Guide Serving of fish is 75 g (2 ½ oz). Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout.
Q/ True or False? When looking at a frozen burger patty, you don't need to read the Nutrition Facts table because all frozen beef patties contain only 100% lean ground beef.
A/ False. It's always important to read the Nutrition Facts table when choosing and comparing foods. Frozen burger patties may be made with high-fat ground beef or may contain added salt. These additions may make them high in sodium, fat or saturated fat. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts table to make the best choice for you.

Oils And Fats

Q/ Canada's Food Guide recommends that you eat a small amount (30 to 45 mL/2 to 3 Tbsp) of unsaturated fat each day. What is one type of vegetable oil you may want to use?
A/ Possible Answer(s): canola, olive, soybean, peanut, sesame, grape seed, etc…
Q/ Mr. Ed Ible is choosing margarine. What does Canada's Food Guide recommend when choosing margarines?
A/ Canada's Food Guide recommends choosing soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fat.

Condiments

Q/ True or False? When buying ketchup or soy sauce, you should choose the product that has less sodium.
A/ True. Ketchup, soy sauce and other condiments are often high in sodium, which you may want less of.
Q/ What are some ways you can add flavour to your meals without adding too much salt?
A/ Possible answer(s): Use dried (or fresh) herbs, spices, flavoured vinegars and oils or lemon juice on vegetables, meat, fish and grains instead of salty condiments such as ketchup, pickles, mustards or other bottled sauces.
Q/ Can you use the % DV on a food product to decide if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in a food?
A/ Yes. Remember 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV ore more is a lot, for all nutrients.

Canned And Dry Goods

Q/ True or False? Rinsing your canned vegetables, beans, peas, or lentils under running water washes away some of the sodium.
A/ True. Rinsing your canned vegetables, beans, peas, or lentils under running water helps wash away some of the sodium, which you may want less of.
Q/ Mr. Frank Furter knows that some canned vegetables have a lot of sodium. What should he look for in the Nutrition Facts table when choosing canned vegetables?
A/ Frank can look for products that have no more than 15% DV for sodium. 5% DV or less is even better, but often difficult to find.
Q/ You want to choose meat alternatives, such as beans and lentils, more often. After reading the Nutrition Facts table, you notice that they often have more than 15% DV for sodium so you decide not to buy any. Is this a good choice?
A/ No, you have options. When using canned beans and lentils, be sure to rinse them well before adding them to your recipes. A definite low sodium choice is to purchase plain dried beans and lentils.
Q/ Are canned vegetables and fruit a healthy option?
A/ Yes, canned vegetables and fruit can be a convenient healthy choice. Using the information in the Nutrition Facts table can help you make better choices. Fruit canned in heavy syrup, for example, has more sugars and adds extra calories. Instead, look for cans with labels that say the fruit has been "packed in juice" or "packed in water". Look for and compare the amount of sugars in the Nutrition Facts table. Canned vegetables usually have added salt. You can wash away some of the sodium by rinsing and draining canned vegetables. Look for no more than15% for sodium. 5% DV or less is even better, but often difficult to find. Using the information in the Nutrition Facts table can help you make healthier food choices.

Frozen Foods

Q/ When choosing a frozen dinner, what nutrients may you want to pay particular attention to when reading the Nutrition Facts table?
A/ Fat and/or sodium You can use the % DV to choose products that are higher in the nutrients you want more of and lower in the nutrients you want less of. Nutrients you may want more of are: Calcium, Iron, Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C Nutrients you may want less of are: Fat, Saturated and trans fats, Sodium
Q/ In the winter, Mr. Herb Avore likes to eat frozen vegetables and fruit because many of his favourites aren't in season. Is Herb making a good choice?
A/ Yes, frozen vegetables and fruit are nutritious and affordable.
Q/ True or False? Frozen foods can be part of your everyday healthy eating.
A/ True. Be sure to choose foods that are low in fat, sugars and sodium.
Q/ Are frozen dinners and entrees a healthy choice?
A/ Not always. Prepared and frozen entrees can be tempting because they are convenient. But these foods are often very high in sodium and sometimes also surprisingly high in saturated fat and calories. Also, many don't contain vegetables or whole grains. It's important to be aware of the calorie, fat, sugar and sodium content if you buy these foods a lot. Compare the Nutrition Facts table on these products to make better choices.

Snacks And Beverages

Q/ True or False? Fruit-flavoured drinks, soft drinks and sports drinks are just as good for you as water.
A/ False. These drinks are often high in sugars and can add extra calories. Canada's Food Guide suggests making water your drink of choice. It's a calorie-free thirst quencher.
Q/ Mack Aroni is looking for help choosing healthy snacks for school. Name one healthy snack that Mack may want to choose.
A/ Possible answer(s): Look for snacks that count towards your recommended number of Food Guide Servings. The best choices are foods from the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide. Some examples that Mack might like to try include:
  • fresh fruit or individually packed containers of cut-up fruit
  • raw vegetables including carrots, peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • whole wheat pita triangles and hummus
  • fresh, frozen or canned fruit and low-fat yogurt, or blended together into a smoothie
  • sweet red, yellow or green peppers with salad dressing or a low fat dip, and bread sticks

For more snack ideas, visit Smart Snacking.

Avoid snacks that are higher in calories, fat, sugars or sodium. Avoid buttered popcorn, cakes, candies, chips, chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, French fries, granola bars, ice cream and pastries. Also avoid sugary drinks such as fruit-flavoured drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks. They can add extra calories to your day.

Q/ Name one reason you should read the Nutrition Facts table even if you are buying a 100 calorie packaged snack.
A/ A low calorie snack may still be high in fat, sugars or sodium. You should always read the Nutrition Facts table when choosing and comparing foods. Look for snacks that count towards your recommended number of Food Guide Servings.
Q/ Does a "fruit drink" count as a Food Guide Serving of Vegetables and Fruit?
A/ No. Fruit-flavoured drinks aren't nutritionally the same as 100% juices. If the name of the drink includes words such as "punch," "drink," "-ade" (as in lemonade) or "cocktail," it's not 100% fruit juice. This means it isn't a serving from the Vegetables and Fruit food group.
Q/ Mr. Jim Nasium plays soccer once a week. He drinks sports drinks during and after each game to satisfy his thirst. Is Jim making a good choice?
A/ No, water is the best choice to satisfy your thirst.

Ready-made Meals*

* Prepared foods that are ready-to-eat and ordered from a designated counter in the grocery store. This may include items such as roasted chickens, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, salads, pastas, etc.

Q/ You have decided to buy a ready-made, whole roasted chicken for dinner. Instead of choosing fried potato wedges as a side dish, what might be a healthier choice?
A/ Tossed salad, mixed vegetables, bean salad, marinated vegetables, baked potato, steamed rice...
Q/ When choosing a ready-made meal, check the % DVs on the Nutrition Facts table (if available) for the amounts of saturated and trans fats, and sodium. What is the "a little and a lot % DV rule"?
A/ Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot. This applies to all nutrients.
Q/ What is one healthy eating tip to remember when choosing ready-made meals?
A/ Possible answer(s):
  • Choose dark mixed green salads with vegetables or fruit instead of choosing salads that have higher amounts of fat such as Caesar, taco, potato or pasta salads. Ask for dressing on the side and don't use a lot of it.
  • Choose tomato or vegetable-based soups and pasta sauces instead of alfredo or cheese sauces.
  • Order sandwiches, subs or wraps made with whole grain bread, buns or tortillas. Choose one spread instead of two. For example, use mayonnaise or margarine, not both on the sandwich.
  • Choose baked, broiled or steamed foods instead of breaded or deep-fried foods.
  • Enjoy the taste of foods without adding butter, margarine, gravy or rich sauces. Ask how your meal is prepared. Ask if you can have the meal without the sauce or if the sauce can be served on the side.
  • Eat fewer cakes, cookies and rich desserts. Eat a smaller size or share the dessert with your family or friends.
  • Choose water, milk, fortified soy beverage or 100% juice instead of soft drinks or sweetened beverages.
  • Ask if nutrition information is available for the menu items.

Bakery

Q/ Foods found in the bakery section of the grocery store are often high in calories, fat, sugars, or salt (sodium). Name 2 examples of bakery items you may want to eat less of.
A/ Possible answer(s): Cakes, pastries, cookies, dessert squares, doughnuts, brownies…
Q/ You want to find out if the bread you might buy is made with whole grains. Where should you look to find this information?
A/ Possible answer(s): The ingredient list can help you choose whole grain products more often. Whole grain foods will have the words "whole grain" followed by the name of the grain as one of the first ingredients. For example, the beginning of the ingredient list could say whole grain wheat or whole grain oats.
Q/ Your doctor told you to eat brown bread instead of white. To keep it simple, you decide to pick the first brown bread you see. Is this a good idea? Why or why not?
A/ You should look at the ingredient list to see if it contains whole grains. Some brown bread, for example, is just white bread coloured with molasses. The first ingredient should be a whole grain, such as whole grain wheat.
Q/ True or False? You should eat as many baked goods as you'd like as long as they don't contain trans fat.
A/ False: Baked goods such as cakes, croissants, doughnuts, pastries, pies and most cookies will add extra calories, fat, sugars or salt (sodium) to your diet. You should eat less of them. These foods are usually low in fibre and often not made with whole grains. To learn more about the different types of fat, visit the Interactive Nutrition Facts table.

Deli

Q/ Canada's Food Guide recommends that if you eat luncheon meats, sausages or pre-packaged meats, choose those that are lower in (name 2 nutrients) .
A/ sodium and fat
Q/ What is one alternative to high sodium deli meats for your sandwiches?
A/ Possible answer(s):
  • Prepare lean cuts of meat in advance and slice them for sandwiches.
  • Use cooked legumes in wraps.
  • Try egg or fish sandwiches prepared with a small amount of mayonnaise.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts table and look for lower sodium deli meats made with lower amounts of sodium and fat, if available.
Q/ The information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on what amount of food (serving size)?
A/ The amount of food listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts table.

 

 

Grocery Store Map

This map describes the interior of a typical grocery store.

The following sections can be seen: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, Meat and Alternatives, Oils and Fats, Condiments, Canned and Dry Goods, Frozen Goods, Snacks and Beverages, Ready-made Meals, Bakery and Deli.

Use Canada's Food Guide, the Nutrition Facts table and the Grocery Store Map Tip Sheet to help plan meals for you and your family.

 

Grocery Store Map

Grocery Store Map Tip Sheet

Use Canada's Food Guide and the Nutrition Facts table to help plan meals for you and your family.

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
 

Grain Products

  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.
  • Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or sodium.

Milk and Alternatives

  • Drink skim, 1%, or 2% milk each day.
  • Choose lower fat milk alternatives.
  • Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.

Meat and Alternatives

  • Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.
  • Choose lean meat and meat alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.
  • Eat meat alternatives, such as beans, lentils and tofu often.

Oils and Fats

  • Eat a small amount of unsaturated fat each day.
 

Condiments

  • Compare the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to choose products that contain less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.
 

Canned and Dry Goods

  • Choose food with little or no added fat, sugar or sodium.
  • Choose meat alternatives, such as beans and lentils often.
 

Frozen Foods

  • Limit foods high in calories, fat, sugar or sodium, such as ice cream, frozen desserts and French fries.
 

Snacks and Beverages

  • Choose a variety of foods from the four food groups for your snacks.
  • Limit foods high in calories, fat, sugar or sodium.
  • Satisfy your thirst with water. Drink water regularly.
 

Ready-made Meals

  • When a Nutrition Facts table is not available on a package, ask for nutrition information to choose healthier foods.
 

Bakery

  • Limit foods, such as cakes, pastries, cookies and doughnuts.
 

Deli

  • If you eat luncheon meats, choose those that are lower in sodium and fat.
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