Canada's Food Guide recommends that children
restrict nutritious foods because of their
fat content. Fat
can serve as a valuable source of energy to
support growth and development, especially
in the form of nutrient-dense foods such as
peanut butter and cheese.
need fat in their diet
as they need extra energy for growth and development.
The key to ensuring a healthy diet is providing
a variety of foods from the
groups, which includes higher-fat and lower-fat
grow and develop at individual rates. Their
body weights and shapes are continually changing
as a normal part of healthy development. That
is why it is very difficult to pinpoint a particular
healthy weight for children. You may have seen
growth charts for children where their weight
and height are plotted against a standard according
to their age. These charts are not recommendations,
but simply indicate where your child falls
compared to other children. If your child is
growing at a healthy rate and is eating according
to Canada's Food Guide, then most likely he
or she is at a healthy weight. If you suspect
that your child is not growing and developing
properly, discuss this with your doctor.
a child has a food allergy or illness and as
a result they avoid foods from an entire food
group, they may actually need a supplement.
However if they are meeting at least their
recommended minimum number of servings per
food group each day, it is more likely that
their nutrient needs are being met. If a child's
diet is so unbalanced that supplements are
thought to be required, it may be a good idea
to seek out the help of a registered dietitian.
contain a natural balance of vitamins, minerals,
fibre, carbohydrates, protein and fats. The
nutrients — plus other beneficial substances
in our foods that scientists have not yet identified
— work in combination to keep you healthy.
No vitamin or mineral supplement can possibly provide
the same balance of nutrients.
youngsters to a wide variety of foods from
each of the 4 food groups at a very early
age. The more often children are exposed to
foods, the more likely they will taste them
and learn to accept them. Don't be discouraged
if your child refuses a new food experience.
Sometimes it takes 6 or 7 attempts or more
before a new food is accepted.
and caregivers can help children accept a wider
selection of foods by
a role model. Set an example by trying new
and exciting foods yourself.
foods in fun ways by combining different
colours, textures and shapes.
small quantities of the new food alongside
a familiar one.
a new food when the child is with friends.
them to become familiar with different foods
by having them help grow, buy, prepare or
using food as a reward. If this is done,
the child may form a preference for the food
that is being offered as a reward (e.g.,
sweets) and a dislike for the food that you
are trying to get them to eat (e.g., Brussels
that children have individual food
are different ways of eating that all fall
under the umbrella of vegetarianism. Veganism
is the most limited (no animal products) and
the least often followed. It also requires
the most care to ensure nutritional adequacy.
During childhood, adolescence and pregnancy,
extra care must be taken in planning a vegetarian
diet. Vegetarian diets that include milk and
milk alternatives will
help ensure adequate intakes of calcium, vitamin
D, riboflavin and vitamin B12 — nutrients
that are a concern when milk is eliminated
from the diet.
guidelines on how to plan a vegetarian diet
for your child, consult a registered dietitian.
You can find a dietitian through the Dietitians
of Canada Web site (www.dietitians.ca)
under "Find a Nutrition Professional" or
phone your local health unit. The key nutrients
you will want to make sure your child gets
enough of include calcium, iron, vitamin D,
vitamin B12 and enough calories or energy.