Choosing Healthy Food for Infants, Children and Youth
Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and protein foods will give your child nutrition for growth, development and learning. Offering your child healthy foods from an early age will help them develop healthy habits for life.
Visit Canada's food guide to learn more about healthy eating. The food guide is designed for healthy Canadians 2 years of age and older. The guide recommends a pattern of eating to help meet nutrient needs, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and support overall health. The pattern can be individualized based on taste preferences, culture, budget, food availability, lifestyle, and health condition.
For toddlers under 2 years of age, offer a regular schedule of meals and snacks and offer your toddler the same healthy foods that you and your family enjoy.
Early Years (0-4 Years)
Healthy Eating for Babies
Your baby may be ready for solid food when they are about 6 months old. By the time your baby is 9 months old, work towards offering solid foods at up to 3 meals and 1 to 2 snacks each day based on their appetite.
- Baby's First Foods (HealthLinkBC File #69c)
- Feeding Your Baby: Sample Meals for Babies 6-12 Months Old
- Finger Foods for Babies 6-12 Months
- Healthy Eating Guidelines for Your Vegetarian Baby: 6-12 Months
- Iron-Fortified Infant Cereal Recipes: Finger Foods for Babies and Toddlers
- Recipes for Your Baby 6-9 Months Old
- Recipes for Your Baby 9-12 Months Old
Healthy Eating for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Include your toddler in regular family meals and snacks. Offering nutritious snacks and meals, and sitting down to eat with your child, helps support healthy eating, language and social skills. Learn more in this section:
- Dental Care for Your Infant and Toddler (HealthLinkBC File #19)
- Healthy Eating Guidelines for Your Vegetarian Toddler: 1-3 Years
- Helping Your 1-3 Year Old Child Eat Well (HealthLinkBC File #69d)
- Making Family Meals Enjoyable
- Meal and Snack Ideas for Your 1-3 Year Old Child (HealthLinkBC File #69e)
- Snack Ideas for Preschoolers
- Vitamins and Minerals for Toddlers
- Your Toddler: Nutritious Meals for Picky Eaters
Children & Youth (5-17 years)
Healthy Eating for Children
Healthy eating is important to your child's growth and development. Keep your pantry stocked with fresh, healthy options to offer your child when they are hungry. Learn more in this section:
- Healthy Eating for Children
- Learning About Iron Supplements for Children
- Canada's food guide: Healthy Eating for Parents and Children
Healthy Eating for Teens
Your teen might have a busy social life, some pocket money to spend and some preferences when it comes to food. They will also be influenced by friends and trends, so it's a great time to reinforce messages about healthy foods.
- Canada's food guide: Healthy eating for teens
- Encourage Healthy Eating Away From Home for Teens
- Learning About Calcium for Teen