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Food, fitness, and fun for the whole family

The dietary goals for children and their families are well-balanced, healthy meals and a healthy approach to eating. These changes should be considered permanent rather than a temporary eating plan for rapid weight loss.

Here are some tips for eating a healthy, well-balanced diet:

  • Try to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein (meat and plant-based protein, dairy products, beans, eggs, or nuts and seeds) in each meal. Plan your meals and snacks so that you choose a variety of nutritious, tasty foods.
  • Avoid highly processed foods like sugary drinks, potato chips, chocolates,  candies, baked goods, fast food, and frozen dinners. These are full of added sodium, sugar, and saturated fats. It is also important educate your child about targeted food marketing. Children are commonly targeted by television or online advertisements for foods that are highly processed, or high in added sodium or sugar.
  • Prepare snacks with ingredients with little added sodium, sugar, or saturated fats. Replace highly-processed foods with homemade versions, like a healthy muffin recipe instead of store-bought muffins. Quick snacks can include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg.
  • Avoid regular soda pop, fruit juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, chocolate milk, or sweetened coffees, teas or plant-based milks. Instead, make water your drink of choice. For flavour, you can add fruit or herbs like mint, or swap it out for carbonated water. Remember it is better for your child to eat their calories than to drink them.

Exercise and activity level are just as important as calorie intake. Children (and adults for that matter) should be more active, not only for weight control, but also for general health and well-being. Here are some ways to help your child lead a healthy, active lifestyle:

  • Encourage your child to aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity each day. Many different activities count. Bike riding, skating, and going to the playground after school are examples of moderate intensity physical activities. More intense or vigorous-type activities, like running, swimming, or rollerblading, should be done at least 3 days per week (after consultation with your child's doctor).
  • Build physical activity into the day, such as taking the stairs, getting off 1 bus stop early, or taking physical education classes at school.
  • Choose some activities that can be done from home, like walking, bike riding, dancing to music, following a home workout video, and playing games outside.
  • Limit television, video games, and computer games to 1 to 2 hours per day. Most doctors recommend less than 2 hours per day.
  • If applicable, take the television out of your child's bedroom to limit viewing. One research study showed that children with a television set in their bedroom watched nearly 5 hours per week more than those without a bedroom television.
  • Be a good role model - exercise with your child.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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