3 Healthy Eating Plans

TOPS is not about dieting or selling you a food plan. But we do recommend these three different eating plans to help you build your healthy lifestyle. Just don't forget to check with a licensed healthcare professional first.

The Food Exchange System

This plan can help you watch portions and cut calories without feeling deprived. There are no “good” or “bad” foods with the Exchange System—all foods fit in moderation. Food lists were developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association. These lists group all foods with similar amounts of carbohydrate, protein and fat. These TOPS tools can help you make the Exchange System work for you:

  • 28-day meal plans that take the guesswork out of meal planning
  • Real Life: The Hands-on Pounds-off Guide gives a breakdown of the Exchange System
  • TOPS Food Exchange Cards help you keep portions and calories in check

What Can You Eat On the Exchange System?



Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 protein, 3 fat, 1 other carbs


Vegetarian Dinner

Stuffed Acorn Squash With Rice Pilaf

Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 protein, 1 fruit, 3 fat


Dessert or Snack

No Bake Cashew Coconut Bites

Exchanges: ½ starch, 1 fat


my plateNeed to keep it simple? Try MyPlate, the current nutrition guide from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The MyPlate icon is a reminder to:

  • Make half of your plate vegetables and fruit
  • Choose whole grains like whole-wheat pasta and oatmeal
  • Include proteins like lean poultry, fish, beans and nuts
  • Pair your plate with dairy, like low-fat milk and yogurt

To learn more about MyPlate, visit www.myplate.gov. Try to use MyPlate as the basis for your main meal each day as a simple way to get started. “A Week of MyPlate Worksheet” is available to members on our Food Trackers page.

Canada’s Food Guide

my plate

An updated version of Canada’s Food Guide was released in early 2019. The new guide keeps things simple by moving away from food groups and serving sizes. Instead, it focuses on:

  • Choosing plenty of vegetables and fruit (make them half of your plate)
  • Eating protein foods (make them a quarter of your plate)
  • Choosing whole-grain foods (make them a quarter of your plate)
  • Drinking more water
The new guide also reminds us to enjoy our food, cook more and limit processed foods like sugary drinks and fast food. Visit Canada’s Food Guide to find tasty tips, healthy recipes and other helpful resources.

© All Rights Reserved: Canada’s Food Guide – Snapshot. Health Canada. Adapted and reproduced with permission from the Minister of Health, 2019.

Start my TOPS weight-loss journey
find a meeting