Healthy eating for children

Resources and programs for parents or caregivers of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children

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Healthy eating has a significant impact on a child's health. The amount and type of food children need each day depends on their age, gender and height.

Canada's Food Guide

An important step towards well-being and healthy body weight is to follow Canada's Food Guide by:

  • eating the suggested amount and type of food each day
  • limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt
  • reading food labels and choosing products with less saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and salt

Learn more about age-specific healthy eating tips.

EatRight Ontario

Visit Eat Right Ontario for tools and resources to increase healthy eating habits for you and your family.

Menu labelling

Ontario is the first province in Canada to require menu labelling. This will help people make educated choices when eating outside of the home.

By requiring calories to be posted on menus and menu boards, Ontario will:

  • inform people about the calorie content of foods
  • make it easier for people to make healthier choices
  • encourage healthier menu items

Read Moving Forward on Menu Labelling.

Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program (NFVP)

This program brings no cost fresh fruits and vegetables in combination with healthy eating and physical activity education to elementary and intermediate students in the districts of Algoma, Porcupine and Sudbury.

Programs for Aboriginal communities

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide: First Nations, Inuit and Métis
A guide to using the Canada Food Guide that is culturally tailored to Aboriginal people.

EatRight Ontario - Traditional Food for Aboriginal People
Guidelines for healthy eating using traditional Aboriginal foods.

Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program
Program from the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Aboriginal Health Access Centres
Listing of community-led, Aboriginal health care organizations.

Age-specific healthy eating tips

Check Canada's Food Guide for healthy eating tips at any age:

Infants 0-12 months

  • breast milk changes as your baby grows and develops to meet their needs
  • iron rich foods can be introduced beginning at age six months

Resources include:

Toddlers 12-36 months

  • breastfeed as long as possible – to two years and beyond
  • a healthy snack should include at least 2 of the 4 food groups
  • offer water to drink between meals; when toddlers are active; and when the weather is hot

Preschoolers age 3-5

  • pop, diet pop, sports drinks, fruit cocktails, fruit drinks and punches offer little or no nutrition – offer water, milk or fruits
  • preschoolers need 2 or 3 healthy snacks per day to stay energized
  • a healthy snack should include at least 2 of the 4 food groups

Children age 6-12

  • eat meals as a family – this can help create healthy eating behaviours and lower the risk of unhealthy weight gain
  • eat meals at the table, not in front of the television

Other resources for parents and caregivers

Nutri-eSTEP
An online questionnaire for parents and caregivers of toddlers and preschoolers to assess preschooler's eating habits.

Drinking healthy beverages
Guidelines for drinking fluids to stay hydrated.

Recommended for you

Physical activity
Breastfeeding
Healthy Kids Community Challenge

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free)
In Toronto, (416) 314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm