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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 call line 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 to learn how many food guide servings your child should aim for each day.

  • Vegetables and fruit. Be sure to include a variety of colours. A serving is ½ cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit, 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables, 1 piece of fruit, or ½ cup 100% juice.
  • Grain products. A serving is 1 slice of bread, 30 g of cold cereal, ½ cup of cooked rice or cooked pasta, or ¾ cup cooked cereal.
  • Milk and alternatives. A serving is 1 cup of milk or fortified soy beverage, 1 cup of cottage cheese, ¾ cup of yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese.
  • Meat and alternatives A serving is 2½ ounces of cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, or lean meat, ¾ cup cooked beans, 2 eggs, or 2 tablespoons peanut butter.

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 he or she can eat "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 him or her 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?

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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.