Nutrition

Children's nutrition is important to their overall health. Proper nutrition can also prevent many medical problems, including becoming overweight, developing weak bones, and developing diabetes. It will also ensure that children physically grow to their full potential.

The best nutrition advice to keep children healthy includes encouraging them to:
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity
  • Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits
  • Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
  • Choose a diet moderate in sugars and salt
  • Choose a diet that provides enough calcium and iron to meet their growing body's requirements
  • Healthy Choices

    1. Make half your grains whole. Choose whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and lowfat popcorn, more often.
    2. Vary your veggies. Go dark green and orange with your vegetables - eat spinach, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
    3. Focus on fruits. Eat them at meals, and at snack time, too. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, and go easy on the fruit juice.
    4. Get your calcium-rich foods. To build strong bones serve lowfat and fat-free milk and other milk products several times a day.
    5. Go lean with protein. Eat lean or lowfat meat, chicken, turkey, and fish. Also, change your tune with more dry beans and peas. Add chick peas, nuts, or seeds to a salad; pinto beans to a burrito; or kidney beans to soup.
    6. Change your oil. We all need oil. Get yours from fish, nuts, and liquid oils such as corn, soybean, canola, and olive oil.
    7. Don't sugarcoat it. Choose foods and beverages that do not have sugar and caloric sweeteners as one of the first ingredients. Added sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients.
    For a complete picture of the food guide pyramid for kids and more information, click here.

  • Smart Snacks

    Snacks can, and should, be a part of every child's balanced diet. An afternoon snack will give kids more energy after school, and they'll be able to concentrate on homework, and have more energy to play outside rather than merely flop down in front of the television.

    Here are a few of our favorite healthy snacks:

    Trail Mix

    Help kids make their own custom trail mix, advises Mary Friesz, a registered dietitian in Boca Raton, Florida, and author of 'Food, Fun 'n Fitness: Designing Healthy Lifestyles for Our Children'. Set out raisins, sunflower seeds, nuts (unless you'll be in a nut-free zone), roasted soy nuts and dried fruit and let the kids scoop 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of their own combo into small bags. Pop in the freezer or fridge to keep fresh, and grab when you're on the go. Try Glorified Granola G.O.R.P too.

    Fruit, veggies and dip

    "Most kids love to dip their food, so take advantage of it!" says Mairlyn Smith, a Toronto, Ont., home economist and co-author of The Ultimate Healthy Eating Plan (Whitecap). Mix a bit of cinnamon into French vanilla yogurt and dip fruit into it, or try Velvety vanilla yogurt dip with fruit. Another dip idea: mix low-fat plain yogurt with a bit of regular ranch dressing for lots of flavor without a lot of fat.

    Smoothies

    Whirl low-fat yogurt, fruit and ice in the blender to create one-of-a-kind - and yummy - smoothies. Or stir a teaspoon or two of chocolate drink mix into a tall frosty glass of one per cent milk.

    Roll-ups

    "Turkey or chicken 'cigars' were a big hit with my son when he was growing up," says Smith. Just roll up a thin slice of roasted luncheon meat, such as turkey or chicken, and enjoy. Add a smear of mustard if you want. Or, spread a small whole-wheat tortilla with peanut butter or light cream cheese, roll and slice. Tortilla "sushi" wraps are fun too.

    Store-bought picks

    Even if you're pushed for time, you can still make healthy choices. Smith suggests small yogurt cups or lower-fat round cheeses like Baby Bel. Friesz likes the occasional package of "cheese strings," baked chips and salsa or bean dip, or a small cup of lentil soup.

  • Kids in the Kitchen

    Enjoy these delicious kid friendly recipes from EatingWell.

    Give your kids what they want to eat - yummy recipes that will have them running to the dinner table! We've included kid favorites like chicken fingers, tuna melts, and good old no-bake mac & cheese, but we've made them delicious and much healthier! Teaching kids to eat healthy foods at a young age will help them develop healthy eating patterns for life, so we've included kid-friendly recipes with a variety of vegetables, using proteins that are naturally lower in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. These delicious kid-friendly recipes will help your kids learn to love whole grains (most kids should be eating at least 6 ounces a day!). And don't forget calcium-rich recipes to build strong bones. This collection of healthy kid-friendly recipes gets high marks from kids of all ages and is designed to make meal planning easier. We think your whole family will love them!
  • Water

    1. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase.
    2. When the body gets less than the usual amount of water it needs, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to ration every drop. The best way to avoid water retention, is to give your body what is needed-plenty of water.
    3. The overweight person needs more water than the thin person. Larger people have a larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the overweight person needs more water to lose more weight.
    4. Water helps maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration.
    5. Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of. Adequate amounts of water helps flush out the waste.