Top Left Logo
Veggies & Fruit Healthy People, Healthy Communities
Skip Navigation Links
For Health Professionals
Contact Us

Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer
Index      Small Text Medium Text Large Text  

Feeding your Child

As a parent or caregiver, it isn't about "getting your child to eat,” your job is to feed your child properly. When it comes to healthy eating, both you and your child have a job to do!

Did you know that increasing vegetable and fruit intake may be the single most dietary important change you can make to help improve your family’s health?  

Enjoy Veggies & Fruit with every meal and snack!
Parents and caregivers' role is to decide what, when and where to feed; children's role is to decide how much and whether to eat.

As a parent, you decide for your child:

  • What - Offer your child the same food you prepare for the family as children do not need special foods. Use Canada’s Food Guide to choose a variety of foods.
  • When - Create a routine of meals and sit-down snacks at about the same times every day, usually three meals and two to three snacks each day. This routine creates structure, and your child will learn that he/she will be fed. Offer only water in between meals and snacks.
  • Where - Include your child at the family table where he/she can see you eating, learn about foods and how to feed himself/herself.
  • How - Give your child the time to explore foods in a calm, pleasant setting. When eating, remove distractions, e.g. turn off the TV and remove things such as toys and games. Do not force or pressure your child to eat a certain food or to eat a certain amount of food. Offer new foods along with familiar foods.

Your child decides:

  • How much to eat - Allow your child to eat enough to satisfy his/her hunger, whether that’s a small amount or more than usual. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t eat a lot at one meal or snack; he/she will soon have another time to eat.
  • What to eat - Allow your child to decide what he/she will eat from what you offer. As a parent or caregiver, you do not need to prepare something different; doing so does not help your child learn to try new foods or to enjoy what the family is eating.
Young, Picky Eaters, URaParent, Eastern Health Eating Habits, Eastern Health Beat the Barriers! (PDF) Eastern Health
Girl picking wild berries

Updated Jun 18, 2020