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We have been accustomed to a colourful rainbow, each colour representing a main food group. Although the foods from the former 4 food groups are, for the most part, still present in the new food guide, Health Canada chose to do away with the traditional food groups classified primarily by nutrient, and move towards a focus on healthy eating patterns to promote a balanced diet. This new focus is represented by a balanced plate emphasizing a variety of healthy foods, and proportions rather than portions. Children should be eating similar proportions as adults, but on smaller plates adapted to their appetite.
These balanced diet tips have always been a part of the healthy eating guidelines; however there is more emphasis on them now more than ever as evidence shows that healthy habits have a positive impact on long-term health.
As a parent or caregiver, you can be a positive role model. By practicing healthy eating habits, you can help create a positive relationship with food and the foods your kids will eat. Remember that every child is unique. Offer a variety of healthy choices and adapt portions based on appetite, activity levels and growth spurts. For example, toddlers and preschoolers have smaller stomachs, so may need to eat smaller amounts of foods more frequently.
This balanced plate is a great example of healthy eating, but let’s face it, kids don’t always eat what’s on their plate. If you’re worried that your child’s not getting enough of the nutrients needed from food alone, PediaSure Complete® may be a good choice to provide complete, balanced nutrition as a complement to a healthy diet. PediaSure Complete® can be used with or between meals, as a snack or in one of these easy recipes for kids. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s nutrition and PediaSure®, the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand.
Health Canada. Canada’s Food Guide. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php .