Nutrition & Exercise

How Much Should my Child Eat? 

When it comes to children’s diets, portion control and serving size should be monitored.

Most children know how much they need to eat. They will eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.

Offer three meals and two snacks per day. Aim to offer a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Try to stay away from prepackaged foods that have ingredients you can’t pronounce.

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Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits

At an early age, children should practice healthy eating habits. Here are a few simple tips to get your child on the path to nutritional success.

  • Always serve breakfast, even if it has to be "on the run." Some ideas include fruit, bagels, or a peanut butter sandwich.
  • Turn off electronics at meal time.
  • A child may need to try a food several times before they learn to like it. Let your child politely refuse a food. Forcing food on a child may affect his/her relationship with food.
  • Children can be slow eaters. Allow enough time for them to eat.  
  • Allow children to help with meal planning and preparation.
  • Serve meals at the table instead of in front of the television to avoid distractions.

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Stoplight Foods

The No, Slow, Go food chart provides guidance on what foods you should and shouldn’t eat and how often you should eat them. Aim to eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins every day.

Red light foods are the lowest in nutrition compared to yellow or green light foods. Red light foods should be eaten sparingly – if at all.

  • Cookies
  • Donuts
  • Candy
  • Ice cream
  • Potato chips
  • Soda
  • Bacon
  • Canned fruit
  • French fries
  • Hash browns

Yellow light foods are OK to eat in moderation. It’s good to enjoy yellow foods sometimes.

  • Hot dogs
  • Juice
  • Sugary cereal
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Hamburgers
  • Granola bars

Green light foods are power foods. They are packed with nutrients to fuel your body with the energy it needs every day. Eat these foods any time you want.

  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Carrots
  • Skim milk
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Oatmeal

Physical Activity for Children

Children should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Physical activity can be broken up into a few minutes at a time with a variety of activities.

Making Family Fitness Fun

Fun ideas to do physical activity as a family

  • Go for a family walk or bike ride after dinner
  • Play basketball outside or at a local gym together
  • Play video games that involves body movement
  • Dance to your favorite songs

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