Building a Balanced Plate on Campus

Canada’s NEW food guide encourages you to have plenty of vegetables and fruits, eat protein foods, and choose whole grain foods.

A big change is the shift from portion size to proportion, using your plate as a guide:

  • 1/2 of your plate with vegetables and fruits
  • 1/4 of your plate with protein foods
  • 1/4 of your plate with whole grain foods.

Everyone has varied caloric needs, so proportion sizes may look different for many people — this is why mindful eating is so important! Mindful eating is tuning in to your internal cues: eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.  

So why is Health Canada encouraging these types of foods?

Vegetables and fruit have important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eating more veggies and fruit is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Protein foods are essential to recover, repair, and rebuild muscle, tissue, skin, nails and hair.

(Little side note- eating too much protein does not mean you will build more muscle. Too much protein, carbohydrates or fat is stored as fat in the body.)

Whole grains have important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. The higher fibre content in whole grains compared to refined grains helps to keep you feeling full for longer, keeps you regular and can lower cholesterol. 

Scroll down for some examples of balanced meals across campus.

BREAKFAST

Whether you wake up for breakfast at 7:30am or 9:30am, it’s a great way to start off the day. Ban Righ is open for breakfast 7:30am-10am Monday to Friday!

Ban Righ Breakfast: cottage cheese, whole grain toast with peanut butter, mixed fruit, unsweetened iced tea.

Did you know one cup of cottage cheese has 25g of protein and 174mg calcium? Peanut butter has about 4g protein in 1tbsp. We need about 0.8 g protein per kg body weight, so 20g protein at each meal is a good target.

The new food guide emphasizes water because fruit juices can be high in free sugars and should be consumed in moderation. Unsweetened tea or water with lemon is a great way to add flavour.

Ban Righ Breakfast: Scrambled tofu, oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, mixed vegetables and unsweetened iced tea.

Health Canada emphasizes plant proteins as they provide several health benefits including higher fibre and lower to no amounts of saturated fat, sodium and sugar in addition to the lower environmental impact. 

Have you had the plant-based tofu scramble at a Ban Righ breakfast yet?

LUNCH

Eating three meals and snacks as needed throughout the day provides consistent energy and can help prevent overeating at the next meal. The dining halls and retail locations accommodate a wide range of dietary needs including allergies and preferences.

Lazy Scholar Sub Hub: 6” herbed whole wheat bun with roast chicken, variety of vegetables and vegetable soup on the side.

Customize a sub in Lazy Scholar by choosing your bun, vegetables, sauce, protein, and/or cheese. Make half your “plate” veggies by adding a vegetable soup for a TAM.

Leonard Dining Hall: Brown rice from Simple Servings, Beef stirfry, vegetable soup, milk

Did you notice the new food guide combined milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives into one category called protein? Protein foods include: legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, fortified soy beverage, fish, shellfish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat including wild game, milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese. However, proteins have varied impact on our environment.

DINNER

Lazy Scholar Wholly Habanero: burrito bowl with grilled vegetables, brown rice, black and pinto beans, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, guacamole

Did you know when you choose veggies instead of animal protein, you get guacamole for free. Guac is filled with heart healthy fats! Get your protein from the two types of beans instead.

Leonard Dining Hall: Brown rice from Simple Servings, tofu stir fry, salad with chickpeas

A side salad or soup at dinner is a great way to ensure you are getting half your plate with vegetables. The salad stations in Leonard also has a variety of protein options including tofu, chickpeas, beans, lentils, hummus and boiled eggs.  

Canadian Grilling Company: Build your own chicken burger with goat cheese and a side salad with dressing on the side.

Build a TAM at CGC with a mighty mini and side salad. Asking for dressing on the side is an easy way to control the amount of dressing you add.

Let these balanced plates guide you around campus as you fuel your brain for exams. Find more dietitian tips for the exam season here.