Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Children often don't eat as well as you would like. Some children have a short list of foods they will eat others simply refuse to try new foods. Does your child eat too many snacks or sweets? Do you know how much food your child needs to grow and develop at a healthy weight? Here are some quick answers to some common questions about feeding children.
Children who eat only a few select foods will miss out on some important nutrients. If their choices are mostly low nutrient snacks that are high in fat, sugar or sodium, you will need to limit these foods.
*Find out how to limit exposure to mercury in certain fish
Getting children to try something new shouldn't be a fight. Children need to see a new food many times before they will actually accept and eat it. Simply having a new food on their plate for them to look at and experiment with is a start.
Children can fill up easily if they snack continuously throughout the day. Snacking too close to meal times can also fill kids up and prevent them from eating meals. Children, especially young ones, do need a healthy meal or snack about every 3 to 4 hours to keep them energized. The after school crowd is usually hungry and in need of a snack before supper.
The best snacks are foods from one of the four food groups in Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives. These foods provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.
Many children say they don't eat vegetables but most will actually eat a few. A few creative strategies on your part will get your kids eating more vegetables and fruit.
That depends on your child's age. Children 2-3 years old should have 3 servings, 4-8 year olds 4 servings and 9-13 year olds 6 servings of of grains per day. A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 bagel, bun or pita, 30 grams of cold cereal (check the label to find out how much that is), 175 mL (3/4 cup) of cooked cereal and 125 mL (½ cup) of cooked pasta or rice.
Children should have at least 500 mL (2 cups) of fluid milk or fortified soy beverages each day to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Older children and teens need 3 to 4 servings of milk or alternatives each day. Yogurt and cheese provide calcium but not enough vitamin D.
Children don't like meat for different reasons - some because of the taste or texture, others for personal or ecological reasons. Whatever the case, avoiding meat is not a nutritional concern as long as your child is getting the nutrients they need from other foods. Nutrient-packed foods such as eggs, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds, tofu and fortified meat alternatives can take the place of meat. A serving of meat alternatives is:
Children 2-8 years old should have 1 serving and children 9-13 years old should have 1-2 servings of meat and alternatives a day.
For more information on healthy eating for children visit the Dietitians of Canada website.
Find out more about Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.
This site is maintained by Dietitians of Canada.
Copyright © Dietitians of Canada 2013. All rights reserved.
Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.