Healthy Eating, Healthy Weights and Physical Activity

Eating healthy foods and being physically active every day are important for proper growth and development, as well as for having a healthy weight.

Habits developed during childhood will last a lifetime, so it is important to help children learn healthy habits right from the beginning. You can never start too early to keep your child at a healthy weight.

The best way to do this is by setting a good example for your child.

Be a good role model - eat healthy foods and be physically active every day!


Help your child develop healthy eating habits

You can help your child develop healthy eating habits.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Involve your child in the planning and shopping for food.
  • Let your child help with the preparation of food (know your child's abilities).
  • Plan regular meals and snacks.
  • Serve a variety of foods from Canada's Food Guide.
  • Sit down and eat together (turn off the TV).
  • Let your child decide what and how much to eat from the choices you provide.
  • Serve small portions of food and offer more if your child is still hungry.
  • Serve healthy beverages at meal and snack times.
  • Limit 100% fruit juice to 125 ml (1/2 cup) per day.
  • Offer water for thirst between meals and snacks.
  • Enjoy more vegetables and fruit at meals and snacks.
  • Do not use food as a reward or punishment.
  • Make mealtimes pleasant - have everyone share something about their day.

For more information on healthy eating for your child, check the Feeding Your School-Age Child page.


Help your child be physically active

You can motivate your child to be physically active.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Limit screen time (TV, computer, video games etc.).
    • No more than one hour per day for preschoolers.
    • No more than two hours per day for school age children and youth.
  • Encourage your child to go outside to play (you can go too!).
  • Play games with your child such as 'hide and seek'.
  • Go for a walk or hike together as a family.
  • Keep a box close by with a Frisbee, skipping rope and balls.
  • Go on a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt (make a list ahead of time for things to look for).
  • Have your child help with household chores (clean up toys, dust, rake leaves, work in the garden, shovel snow).
  • Build a snowman and make angels in the snow in winter.
  • Find a hill and go sledding or tobogganing in winter.
  • Put your favourite music on and dance together.
  • Use your imagination and create your own games and activities.

For more information, please go to Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in the Early Years.


Resources

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - Provides guidance around the amount and types of foods to help you plan healthy meals and snacks for everyone in your family.  To order a food guide go to the Pamphlet Order site.  

EatRight Ontario - Provides nutrition and healthy eating information and links to resources. You may call EatRight Ontario to talk to a Registered Dietitian for free at 1-877-510-5102.

Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines for Children - Provides guidance around the amount and types of physical activity your children need to be healthy. To order an activity guide go to the Pamphlet Order site.

ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth - Provides information about how Canadian children and youth are doing in relation to physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

SummerActive and WinterActive Initiatives - Government of Canada website that provides physical activity ideas and healthy eating information by season.

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