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Community Food Advisor

Promoting safe and nutritious food selection, preparation and storage practices.

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Public Health and You

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Ontario Public Health Association

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Nutrition Resource Centre

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Half Your Plate, A Program To Love And Share!

Half Your Plate, A Program To Love And Share!
Our next #30in30 #nutritionmonth blog post is from Marie-Ève Caplette, RD and Half Your Plate ambassador.  Thank you for submitting!
We all know that to be healthy we need to eat fruits and veggies, but it’s often easier said than done! While Canada's Food Guide recommends 7-8 servings for women and 8-10 servings for men, the majority of Canadians eat fewer than five servings of vegetables and fruit a day. As a registered dietitian, I am very concerned by this issue and want to help people improve their diet. That’s why I chose to get involved with the Half Your Plate program as an on-campus Ambassador for the Université de Laval.
Have you heard of Half Your Plate?
Half Your Plate is a simple program that encourages Canadians to eat more fruits and veggies. The program comprises of simple and practical tips and tricks, delicious recipes, and lots of information on how to get the most out of all kinds of different fruits and veggies.
The goal of the program is to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, which can lower the risk of multiple chronic illnesses. As such, organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian Public Health Association, and Canadian Produce Marketing Association are able and willing to share its message.
A need to fill
Although there are many benefits to eating fruits and veggies, few people get enough each day. We need to look at the barriers to making that healthier choice. Studies have shown that a many Canadians feel that they don’t have enough time to prepare and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, rising prices at the grocery store may discourage those who do not feel that they have the food skills needed to use seasonal produce creatively.
To help break down these barriers, Half Your Plate has assembled many tips to help Canadians feel equipped to enter the kitchen and grocery store with confidence and without breaking the bank! For example, their website include information and tips on topics like:
·       Buying in season : Every month, Half Your Plate features a “star fruit and vegetable”, and purchasing, storage, and preparation tips to help Canadians enjoy them.
·       Looking for specials : Right on the home page, a list of how the fruits and veggies you can grab for $10 is updated on a monthly basis. The page is updated based on real flyer specials, and focuses on a different region of Canada every month.
·       Buying whole foods: Their “Fresh Ideas” section provides a variety of articles to show how easy and affordable it is to cook at home.
More than a website
Half Your Plate has a great website full of resources, and is the perfect tool for professionals. As a dietitian, you can join their Dietitians’ Network to receive free access to all of their printable materials, which are free and customizable, and are available in both English and French. Half Your Plate also provides free resources for students who, like me, want to find ways to eat a more balanced diet while living on campus and to help others do the same.
The Half Your Plate team is also incredibly active on social media. Check out @halfyourplate on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for even more daily ideas on how to integrate fruits and veggies into your diet. To top it off, they’re working with Chef Michael Smith, who acts as their culinary ambassador and contributes delicious and easy recipes to this ever-growing program.  Finally, consumers can expect to see the Half Your Plate logo on packaging and retail signage across Canadian produce departments.
My opinion
What I love about this program is the simplicity of the message: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack for better health. You don’t need to count or understand portion sizes - it is a simple reminder that it’s important to eat well at every meal. The concrete tips and tricks Half Your Plate team offers to Canadians aligns directly with this year’s nutrition month theme, “supporting Canadians to make small changes to their eating patterns – one meal at a time."
I’m convinced that the clear and concise Half Your Plate message will help Canadians add more fruits and vegetables to every meal and snack. I’m so happy and proud to be an ambassador for this program, and I encourage you to either join the Dietitians’ Network or sign up to be a University Ambassador if you’re a student like me!
Marie-Ève Caplette, Dt.P, RD, MSc, is an Ambassador for the Half Your Plate program at the Université de Laval.


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