Daily Balance 

As children grow, they need a healthy diet that is highly concentrated in nutrients. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, children need to eat 3 meals a day and include 1 to 3 snacks.  

Healthy snacks are just as essential as meals. Because a child’s stomach is small, 3 meals cannot contain all the nutrients a child needs. Snacks, consumed in the morning, afternoon and in the evening before bedtime, calm hunger between meals and supplement the intake provided by the 3 regular meals.(2, 3) 

Food groups to focus on at meals and snacks:  

  • Vegetables and fruits 
  • Whole grain foods 
  • Protein foods, including plant-based protein  
  • Water for drinking 

Tips for balanced meals:(3) 

  • Prepare meals at home, giving preference to fresh foods instead of highly processed foods.  
  • Prefer foods with high nutritional value, which are essential for the child’s physical and cerebral activities.  
  • For meat and dairy products, choose leaner options.  
  • Incorporate healthy snacks into overall meal planning.(4) 
  • Choose nutritious foods with no added sugars.  
  • Include at least 2 food groups per snack.  
  • Serve a healthy afternoon snack and an easy to digest evening snack if dinner is served early. 

(2) Canada’s Food Guide.  https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/  

(3) Canada’s pediatricians. Caring for kids. Healthy eating for children. https://caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/healthy-living/healthy_eating_for_children

(4) Canada’s pediatricians. Caring for kids. Healthy snacks for children. https://caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/healthy-living/healthy_snacks_for_children