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 the four food groups of 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
- Avoid or limit offering juice and offer fruit instead. If offering juice, choose pasteurized unsweetened 100% fruit juice an limit to 125 ml (1/2 cup) per day. Offer in an open cup
- 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 Preschooler page.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW IF YOUR CHILD IS A HEALTHY EATER?
Go to Nutri-eSTEP Eating Habits Survey
For information about NutriSTEP┬« and Nutri-eSTEP (nutrition questionnaires) for toddlers and preschoolers, click here.
*NutriSTEP┬« name and logo are Registered trademarks of Sudbury & District Health Unit.
Help your child be physically active
You can motivate your child to be physically active.
|Children 1 - 4 years of age should get at least 180 minutes (three hours) of physical activity spread through the day.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Limit screen time (TV, computer, video games etc.)
- Children under two years of age should have NO screen time
- Children 2 - 4 years of age should have no more than one hour a day
- 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.
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, call the Region of Waterloo Resource Centre at 519-575-4400 ext. 2196, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or order online.
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 physical activity guidelines for children call the Region of Waterloo Resource Centre at 519-575-4400 or go to the CSEP website to download the guidelines.
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.