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Healthy Eating - Considering a Healthier Diet for Your Child

Your Care Instructions

We all want our children to have a healthy diet, but perhaps you are not sure where to start to help your child eat healthfully. There is so much information that it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused.

It may help to know that you do not have to make huge changes at once. Change takes time. You can start by thinking about the benefits of healthy foods and a healthy weight. A change in eating habits is important, because a child who has poor eating habits may develop serious health problems. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating also helps your child have more energy so that he or she can do better at school and be more physically active.

Healthy eating involves eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, non-fat and low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. It also means limiting sweet liquids (such as soda, fruit juices, and sport drinks), fat, sugar, and fast foods. But it does not mean that your child will not be able to eat desserts or other treats now and then. The goal is moderation. And, of course, these changes are not just good for children. They are good for the whole family.

Ask yourself how you might put healthier foods into your family meals. Try to imagine how your family might be different eating healthy foods. Then think about trying one or two small changes at a time. Childhood is the best time to learn the healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Remember that your doctor can offer you and your child information and support as you think about changing your eating habits.

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 could you start to think about changing your child's eating habits?

  • Think about what a new way of eating would mean for your child and your whole family.
  • How would you add new foods to your life? Would you give up all your treats, or would you keep some favourites?
  • If you were to change your child's eating habits tomorrow, how would you begin?
  • Make one or two changes and see how it works:
    • Do not buy junk food, such as chips and soda, for 1 week. Have your child and other family members drink water when they are thirsty. Serve healthy snacks such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt and fruit.
    • Add a piece of fruit to your child's lunch and a vegetable to his or her dinner for a week. Have the whole family try this.
  • You may find that after a while your family likes this new way of eating.
  • Remember that you can control how fast you make any changes. You do not have to change everything at once. Making small, gradual changes to the way your child eats will help him or her keep healthy eating habits. The decision to change and how you do it are up to you. You can find a way that works for your family.

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.