Keeping your kids healthy and happy with tasty nutrition for kids!
By Patricia Boychuck, RN, DOHN
Healthy meals and snacks are essential elements in supporting your child’s overall growth and optimal health and development. Nutritious foods keep young minds sharp, provide energy to stay focused while at school and during play, and build strong muscles and bones throughout the developmental years.
It can be a challenge though, a bit of an up-and-down struggle at times, encouraging your kids to make appropriate selections when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating habits. You’ve most likely experienced moments in a hectic day such as –
“Mom, Dad, I’m home from school! I’m starving! What’s there to eat? Can I have a snack? What are we having for dinner? Is it ready yet?”
Moms and Dads, it’s time to take control and have a Nutritional game plan in place!
As a parent, you can meet your child’s nutritional requirements by following the information in the Canada Food Guide, Canada’s Food Guide – AboutKidsHealth.
Here are some tips to support healthy eating and healthy snacks.
Tips for healthy eating:
- Offer a colourful variety of food from each of the four food groups, add fruits or veggies at each meal.
- Offer whole grain bread & cereals to increase fibre.
- Select lean meats or other proteins such as nuts, fish, eggs.
- Cook with heart-healthy fats such as canola, olive oil or soybeans.
- Try white or chocolate milk, cheese, favourite yoghurt cups or drinks to boost calcium.
- Limit foods and drinks high in sugar.
- Visit a farmer’s market with your kids, let them select healthy produce.
- Plant a vegetable garden together in your yard and watch it grow.
- Go to the grocery store together, teach kids to shop, consider options and read food labels.
- Let your kids plan a meal, wash fruit and veggies, toss the salad, mix ingredients, and set the table.
- Establish a regular eating time, share meals and sit at the table together.
Tips for healthy snacks:
- Keep raw veggies such as broccoli, carrots and cherry tomatoes in the fridge and ready to go.
- Be creative, use veggies and fruits to create a happy face on the plate.
- Enjoy a fresh or canned fruit cup of peaches, pears, or grapes.
- Eat a leafy salad, add fruit & nuts.
- Make homemade popsicles with fruit juice.
- Try no or low sugared cereal and milk.
- Offer a glass of water, milk or soy milk as an alternative to pop.
- Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
- Limit french fries and replace it with a healthy option such as popcorn.
- Keep healthy snacks with you for snacks-on-the-go.
- Keep portion sizes small and offer your children a few options.
Promoting and establishing healthy eating will help your kids to make healthier choices later in life.
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