What is healthy eating?
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Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating a variety of healthy foods each day, focusing on balanced meals, and recognizing that the context (how and where) can affect our food choices.
Balanced meals include:
- Plenty of vegetables and fruits
- Protein foods*, with a focus on plant-based protein foods such as beans, lentils, and tofu
- Whole grain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole grain pasta, and whole grain bread
- Water and unsweetened milks (including unsweetened fortified soy and almond milks) are the beverages of choice. Juice and sweetened milk (e.g., chocolate milk) should be limited.
*Protein foods include eggs, lean meats and poultry, nuts and seeds, fish and shellfish, lower fat dairy products, beans, peas, and lentils, and fortified soy beverages, tofu, soybeans, and other soy products.
In addition to the types of foods, healthy eating is also about where, when, why and how you eat:
- Be mindful of your eating habits
Take time to eat – don’t rush! For children, it is important that they get enough time to eat that way they can listen to their hunger and fullness cues.
- Cook more often
Cooking can be a great way to explore foods. Children can learn about healthy eating and be more likely to try new foods when they are involved in cooking.
- Enjoy your food
Enjoying your food is a key part of healthy eating. Help children to enjoy food by creating a positive eating environment – encourage them to eat with others to enjoy the social aspect of food, do not force them to eat if they are not hungry/do not like the foods, etc.
- Eat meals with others
Enjoy healthy foods with family, friends, or neighbours! Eating with others is a great way to connect and add enjoyment to meal times. Children can develop key language skills through eating with others.
To learn more about Canada’s Food Guide healthy eating: View Canada's Food Guide