Food & Healthy Eating – Children and youth
Making sure your child or teen gets enough nutrition can be hard.
As a parent or caregiver, it is important to role model healthy eating habits and ensure nutritious foods are offered to your child as much as possible.
Offering a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide throughout the day can help ensure your child or teen is getting the nutrition he/she needs to grow well.
Children and youth are going through many changes. They are growing quickly and need to eat frequent and nutritious meals. They may also be picky about the foods they eat or have certain likes and dislikes. As they get older, they may start eating away from home more often with their friends. Eating well can be difficult at any age but it isn’t impossible. Check out these ideas for your children and family:
- Be a good role model (Unlockfood.ca). As a parent, you have a big influence over the food that is offered to your children and where meals take place. Offer nutritious foods at the table and try to keep mealtimes pleasant.
- Have meals together as a family often (Unlockfood.ca). Make time each week to sit together at the table with no distractions (i.e. T.V.). Mealtimes are a great time to talk about the events of the day and children are more likely to eat nutritious foods. Check out these videos for more tips.
- Planning ahead helps (Unlockfood.ca). Take some time each week to plan out the meals you want to eat for the week. This helps cut down your grocery bill and can make it easier to plan nutritious, balanced meals.
- Keep mealtimes pressure-free. Remember – picky eating is normal and your reaction is what is most important. Avoid bribing or forcing children to eat. It doesn’t work! Allow children to listen to their hunger cues to decide how much they want to eat. They know when they are hungry and when they are full. As a parent, it is your role to offer nutritious foods, at the table.
- Get your child or teenager involved in preparing meals. This way they can help choose what they want to eat and learn new skills. Depending on their age, they might be able to help wash, set the table, chop vegetables or mix ingredients. It’s a great way to spend time together and they are more likely to eat the food they help make.
- Help children feel good about themselves. Children come in all different shapes and sizes. Teach them this and help them realize that the images they see in the media are not realistic. Try not to criticize your own body, or the bodies of others and focus on praising your child’s actions and abilities, rather than commenting on how they look. This helps develop positive self-esteem and body image.
- Support a Milk Program at your child’s school. This type of program makes fresh milk more available and cost-effective to students. You can contact the Ontario Elementary School Milk Program to see if your child’s school is enrolled with the Program. You can also work with the school to build this Program so that students get to enjoy fresh milk at school. When students are well-nourished, they are ready to learn!
This item was last modified on February 11, 2019