HEALTHY LIVING TIPS
Nutrition is important for children in order to gain the proper amount of nutrients to help them grow and live a healthy lifestyle. Read along for tips on healthy eating for children below.
Canada's Food Guide:
Canada's Food Guide illustrates that children need to consume a certain amount of nutrients from each food group everyday in order to stay healthy. View the chart for the suggested portion sizes from Canada's Food Guide.
View and download Canada's Food Guide from Health Canada.
It is important to know the volume or measurement when Canada's Food Guide says 'one serving.' One serving is slightly different for each food group:
Fruits and Vegetables
One serving is half a cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables, or half a cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits. It could also be one cup of leafy raw vegetables or one piece of fruit
One serving is one slice of bread, half a bagel, pita, tortilla; half a cup of cooked rice, pasta or couscous; or 3/4 cup of hot cereal.
Milk and Alternatives
One serving is 1 cup of milk or fortified soy beverage; or a 3/4 cup of yogurt; or 50g of cheese (about the size of two thumbs).
Meat and Alternatives
One sreving is two eggs; or two tablespoons of peanut butter; or half a cup (size of a cupped hand) of cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, or lean meat.
Children learn the importance of healthy eating when the whole family
understands Canada's Food Guide, goes grocery shopping together,
cooks together, and eats together. This helps to promote 'family time'
and will encourage children to eat healthier.
It is recommended that children do not drink liquids that are high in sugar such as juice or pop, but instead drink water and milk to keep their bones strong and their bodies healthy.
Children should avoid or limit eating processed foods to stay healthy, because those foods have ingredients added to them that are not part of Canada's Food Guide. It is best for you and your children to eat fresh, whole foods that are unprocessed.
Pay close attention to food labels to help make informed choices to promote healthy food choices, and discourage unhealthy food choices for your children. Food labels include: ingredient listing, nutrients and calories, and claims in relation to nutrients and the calorie content.
When reading the ingredient list, be aware that it is in descending order of the ingredients proportion in pre-packaged foods.
Children should have very minimal amounts, or preferably avoid, candy or treats as they are poor in nutrients and high in salt, sugar, and/or fat.
Physical activity is a major component to maintain a healthy lifestyle for children. The following guidelines will help families acheive the approriate amount of activity to stay healthy:
Children should have no more than two hours of screen time per day (TV, video games, tablets, computers, etc.,). This helps to promote and increase physical activity, which will decrease chances of obesity.
Physical activity not only decreases the risk of obesity in children, but it also improves their mental health. Getting enough physical activity improves children's health emotionally and mentally if they are active for 60 minutes a day or more.
How Much Activity?
Children ages 5-11 years-old should participate in vigorous activity at least three days a week, and activities that strengthen bone and muscle at least three days a week. These activities will help build children's strength, endurance, and will increase their metabolism for a healthy lifestyle.
Sleep is extremely important for a child's healthy lifestyle. The amount and quality of sleep can influence how well they eat and how active they are the following day.
How Much Sleep?
The amount of sleep children need varies by age. View a chart to see how many hours of sleep your child should be getting each night.
Growing research has linked the amount of sleep children get every night to the risk of obesity. Due to later bed times, children are now getting 30 to 60 minutes less sleep a night.
If children do not get enough sleep they become more fatigued and less active.
Sleep deprivation can also cause hormonal effects that increase a drive for eating.
Leptin and Ghrelin are the two important hormones that regulate eating habits. Leptin tells your brain you do not need to eat (the wall blocking food), and ghrelin tells your brain you do need to eat (the path to food). Not enough sleep leads to decreased leptin and increased ghrelin, which leads to eating excessive amounts of calories.