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Food as Fuel in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A healthy, balanced diet provides nutrients to your child's body. Nutrients are like fuel for your child's body. They give your child energy and keep your child's heart beating, his or her brain active, and his or her muscles working. They also help to build and strengthen bones, muscles, and other body tissues.

The three major nutrients that your child needs for energy are carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Carbohydrate provides energy for your child's brain, muscles, heart, and lungs. Carbohydrate is found in bread, cereal, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and sugar. Protein provides energy and is used to build and repair your child's body cells. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, cooked dry beans, cheese, tofu and other soy products, nuts and seeds, and milk and milk products. Fat provides energy, helps build the covering around nerves in your child's body, and is used to make hormones. Fat is found in butter, margarine, oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, nuts, and in most foods that come from animals, such as meat and milk products. Many foods also have fat added to them.

Your child's body needs all three major nutrients to be healthy. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help your child get the right amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. It can also keep your child at a healthy weight.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Help your child eat a balanced diet

Go to Canada's Food Guide at learn how to eat a variety of healthy foods to meet your nutritional needs.

  • Vegetables and fruits. Be sure to include a variety of colours including pears, apples, berries, broccoli, cabbage, and leafy greens.
  • Whole grain foods. Enjoy a variety of whole grains including quinoa, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, oatmeal, or brown rice.
  • Protein foods. Try protein foods like eggs, beans, fish, poultry, lean meat, peanut butter, milk or fortified soy beverages, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Healthy fats. Choose foods with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish, and corn or olive oil.

Help your child stay fuelled all day

  • Start your child's day with breakfast. If your child feels too rushed to sit down with a bowl of cereal in the morning, try something that can be eaten "on the go." Try a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter or a container of yogurt with frozen berries mixed in.
  • To keep your child's energy up, have your child eat regularly scheduled meals and snacks. Skipping meals may make it more likely that your child will overeat at the next meal or choose a less healthy snack.
  • Offer your child plenty of water to drink each day.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.