Getting enough folate and folic acid in your diet every day is important, even if you are not planning to get pregnant. But how do you know if you are getting enough? Use this meal planning tool to build meals and snacks that help you meet the goal of getting enough folate and folic acid every day!
The goal of this activity is to help you develop a daily meal plan that meets the recommended intake of 400 micrograms folic acid, plus incorporates folate-rich foods into a healthy and varied diet. Planning meals is a great way to learn the contributions that different foods can make toward your intake of this important nutrient.
Foods are chosen from the food card selection located under the plate. Use these to create your meals and snacks. The foods depicted also include a folic acid-containing multivitamin and a folic acid supplement. Foods are initially displayed in alphabetical order but can be sorted by folic acid or food folate content using the buttons to the right of the plate.
Each food card shows the name of the food and the serving size. Food data can be expanded by clicking on the arrow to show a larger picture of the food and the amount of folic acid in the designated serving of each food. Some food cards include one to three stars. The number of stars indicates the range of food folate provided by these foods per serving.
"No stars" provides less than 20 micrograms of food folate (negligible source)provides 20-39 micrograms of food folate (limited source) provides 40-79 micrograms of food folate (good source) provides 80 micrograms or more of food folate (excellent source)
Remember: Folic acid is the man-made form of the vitamin found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. Food folate is the natural form of the vitamin found in certain foods. The recommendation for women of childbearing age is to get 400 micrograms synthetic folic acid every day (from vitamins, fortified foods, or both), while also incorporating sources of food folate into a healthy and varied diet.
- To add foods to your plate, click the "+" on the food card and the food will show at the top of the screen in the plate area.
- The percentage of the folic acid and/or food folate recommendation met by a particular food will be displayed cumulatively at the top left side of the screen.
- Select foods for one meal at a time for each meal of the day, including snacks. Use the button at the top right side to clear your plate after each meal. This will remove all the foods from the plate, but will not clear your folic acid or food folate counters.
- As foods are added to the plate, the folic acid (bar) and food folate (star) scales will reflect the cumulative amount of folic acid and food folate contributed by the foods you have selected.
- Click the "X" on any food card to remove the food from your plate. The folic acid (bar) and food folate (star) scales will be adjusted accordingly.
- When you are finished with all meals for the day you can hit "Clear All Meals" to remove all foods from the plate and reset the folic acid/food folate counters to zero.
- You should aim to obtain 400 micrograms of folic acid and 10 stars of food folate per day.