Balanced eating involves eating a variety of foods including lean proteins, healthy fats, and foods high in fibre, vitamins and minerals such as whole fruits and vegetable and whole grains.
By including more of the foods listed above, you’ll ensure that you and your family receive adequate nutrients that promote health and will provide you with enough energy to feel full and satisfied after every meal and snack. Remember all foods have their place in your family’s way of eating!
Offer 3 meals per day that each include:
• Protein (chicken, turkey, beef, fish, tofu, beans & legumes, Greek yogurt, eggs, cheese, nut butter)
• Fruits and/or vegetables (apples, berries, oranges, leafy greens, carrots, cucumber, tomato)
• Whole grains and/or starches (whole grain bread/ rice/ pasta, quinoa, sweet potato, oats)
For adults, use the Healthy Plate Model as a Guide (remember kids should be serving themselves but you can set an example with the way you serve yourself!)
• Vegetables should fill half of your plate
• Protein should fill one quarter of your plate
• Whole grains/starches should fill the last quarter of your plate
Offer 2-3 balanced snacks throughout the day that each include:
• Protein (Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts/seeds, beans & legumes, eggs, dairy or fortified non-dairy milk, hummus, tzatziki dip)
• Fibre (whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain crackers, beans & legumes)
Some Important things to keep in mind:
● Eating regular balanced meals and snacks every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day will help you and your family stay ahead of hunger, which can help prevent overeating at your next meal or snack and reduce cravings later in the day.
● Remember that there are no “good” or “bad” foods, rather foods to choose “more often” vs. “less often”. Offering a variety of foods, including treats, and educating your family on what balanced eating looks like is a great step towards creating a healthy food environment at home.
● Don’t forget about the Division of Responsibility in Feeding and don’t force your child to eat if they are choosing not to.
● It can be fun to try something new each week as a family to encourage more balanced eating. Together, pick out a new fruit or vegetable, a new protein food or a new recipe to try. Discuss it at the dinner table and talk about what you like/don’t like about it