Public Health

Posted January 13, 2020

How we talk about food matters

How many times has your child heard “candy is bad for you”. Labelling foods as bad can cause children to feel guilt or shame after eating and enjoying these foods. Instead, help your child understand that all food can fit into a healthy eating pattern. There are foods we eat everyday at meals and snacks such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains and protein foods. Call these “growing foods”, foods that help children grow, learn and play. There are also “treat” or “play” foods. These foods have little nutritional value but are pleasurable to eat such as donuts, chips, candy, cake, cookies, French fries and sugar sweetened beverages. These foods we eat less often than growing foods. I like the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent or more of what we eat are growing foods and 20% or less are treat foods. Be aware that children who are forbidden from eating treat foods may overeat them when they get the opportunity.

You can help your child develop a healthy eating pattern by role modeling:

  • choosing, preparing and eating growing foods at meals and snacks everyday
  • enjoy treat or play foods at meals or snacks less often without guilt

For more information about a healthy eating pattern check out Canada’s Food Guide.

Protect you and your family from cold and flu viruses:

  • Wash handsoften with soap and water. Carry an alcohol-based hand rub in your purse and car to use if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it out after use. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow -never into your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • Get a flu shot. People at high risk of serious flu complicationsinclude young children and infants, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. Children younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated so people who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.



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