Young children do best when they eat 3 meals and 2–3 snacks spaced evenly throughout the day. Be sure to pack healthy lunches and snacks for when they’re away from home.
For more information about Canada's Food Guide, visit Health Canada. If getting enough food is a concern for your family, talk to your public health nurse or health care provider about resources that may be available in your community.
Breakfast is important for children who are going to school. A child has difficulty learning when she’s hungry. If your child doesn’t like to eat in the morning, look at the rest of your routine and what you might be able to change. It might help to:
- think of ways to make your morning less rushed (e.g., get up 10 minutes earlier, prepare things the night before)
- eat breakfast with her
- get rid of distractions (e.g. TV, cell phones, toys)
- make sure she is getting enough sleep
- provide a variety of healthy food choices
Lunches at school
For many children, going to school means eating lunch at school. It may take time for your child to get used to this. She may find lunch time too busy, exciting or stressful to focus on eating.
To make sure your child gets the food she needs, you can:
- pack a variety of foods in separate containers for lunch and 2 small snacks (e.g., raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, whole grain muffins, yogurt)
- encourage her to help you make and pack her lunch and snacks. She may be more interested in food she makes herself.
- ask your child to let you know what food she isn’t eating and talk to her about it—don’t punish her for not eating everything
- pack hot or cold foods in insulated containers
- send a water bottle
- check the school’s policies about the types of food children can bring to school and when they can eat
If you have questions or concerns talk to your public health nurse or your child’s teacher for suggestions and resources.
For ideas and suggestions about healthy breakfasts and lunches, talk to your public health nurse or call Health Link toll-free in Alberta at 811.