What is Children's Nutrition

Children need a balanced diet with food from all 3 food groups—vegetables and fruit, whole grain products, and protein foods. Children need 3 meals a day and 1 to 3 snacks (morning, afternoon and possibly before bed). Healthy snacks are just as important as the food you serve at meals.

Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses getting kids to eat healthy foods.

Quiz: Do You Understand Children's Nutrition?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Kids between the ages of 6 and 17 should do 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

Explanation:
According to the CDC, children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. This should include cardio, activities that strengthen bones and exercises that build muscle.
2

There is a link between children's nutrition and mental health.

Explanation:
Studies have found that children who have healthy diets are more likely to be happy. Children who are overweight have a higher risk of experiencing low self-esteem, depression and negative body image.
3

It can be a good idea to feed kids while they are watching TV, so that they will be distracted enough to finish everything on their plate.

Explanation:
If kids eat in front of the TV, they may overeat, because they aren’t paying attention to feelings of fullness. Try to eat together as a family in the kitchen or dining room.
4

Parents should choose all their child's food, regardless of the child's preferences. Parents know best when it comes to children's nutrition.

Explanation:
While it is important for parents to understand children's dietary requirements, getting kids involved can really help them make healthy choices. Take your child grocery shopping and let them pick out some nutritious foods they like, or get them involved in meal prep.
5

Foods that are high in sugar can become addictive to the body.

Explanation:
Eating sugar actually releases endorphins and dopamine in our bodies, which are the "feel-good" chemicals. It is possible for kids to become addicted to sugar.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses how to get picky kid eaters to enjoy foods.

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how computer screens and computer devices can affect eating habits in teens and children.

Healthy Foods for Kids

Trying to get your kids more interested in healthy eating is a great idea.

First of all, you can try and have them participate in food preparation and meal planning. Ask them what they would like to have for dinner, and then get them to help peel the carrots, make the salad and set the table.

You can also have them make their own lunches. By participating in making the lunch, they’re more inclined to eat the food that they have put in there.

Have more family meals. Sit down at the table, turn off the TV and allow your children that are old enough, to serve themselves. Even four- and five-year olds would love to be able to take that spoon and put food on their own plate. Try not to talk too much about what they’re actually putting on their plate, and encourage them to take a selection, trying at least a bite of everything.

Be careful with after-school snacking. If the snack is a little bit too close to dinner, they may not want their actual dinner, and dinner often is one of the most nutritious meals of the day. So if they aren’t eating their dinner, try and wrap that up and offer it again later on.

Get rid of that junk food in the house. If you buy it, you can’t expect them not to eat it, so if it’s not in the house, they’re not going to eat it.

And finally, be a good role model. You can’t expect children to eat what you won’t. For more information on how to get your kids to eat healthy, contact your local registered dietitian.

Presenter: Ms. Diana Steele, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses choosing healthy snack options.

How Screens Can Affect Eating Habits in Teens and Children

Here’s a tip for mindful eating and children. When we eat in front of the TV, play video games, tablets, phones, we’re not paying attention to the food that’s going in. We’re not listening to the body’s signals.

We’re not tasting and chewing and appreciating the food. This will always lead to eating more and not feeling satisfied. And what happens is we actually lose our hunger and satiety cues.

Here’s a tip. Turn off the TV, turn off the video games, turn off the tablet. Eat in an environment with less distractions, in a family setting or in a nature setting. This will help kids develop their hunger cues and their satiety cues to help them for now but also later on in life.

Local Registered Dietitians

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

RD
Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Alexis Williams

Alexis Williams

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

Local Registered Dietician

Smart Food Now

Smart Food Now

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