Resources for Parents
Public Health is committed to helping all parents provide healthy food choices for their families. From Community Nutrition Programs to the Cost of Eating Well, Public Health supports access to safe and nutritious food for all.
Baby’s First Foods
At about six months, you baby is ready to start eating solid foods in addition to breastmilk. The following resources will describe the best practices to teach your baby healthy eating habits from the start.
Trust Me, Trust My Tummy: Toronto Public Health’s video on feeding your child from 6 months to when they’re a toddler
Baby Food Basics: Middlesex London Health Unit’s video series on what foods are best for babies in their first year and how to make Homemade Baby Food
Feeding Your Baby – From Six Months to One Year: Best Start’s detailed guide to starting solids, provides information on iron-rich first foods, appropriate textures, identifying allergic reactions, and more.
NutriStep Toddler and Preschool Nutrition Screening
- Understanding your child’s eating habits is an important step towards making healthy choices. NutriStep is a screening tool for parents of toddlers (aged 18 to 36 months) and preschoolers (aged 3 – 5 years)
- The nutrition-risk screening tool is a 17-item questionnaire that parents answer about their child’s eating habits, growth, feeding environment and physical activity level.
- Parents are provided with nutrition information, resources and referrals based on the needs of their child.
- For a copy of the NutriSTEP questionnaire contact public health or complete the screen online
- For infomation about feeding toddlers: How to Build a Healthy Toddler
- For infomation about feeding toddlers: How to Build a Healthy Preschooler
Packing a healthy lunch for your child – or making any meal of the day for that matter - can be frustrating. What will they eat? What do you want them to eat? The key is working together to give them choices from the four food groups. Public Health’s pamphlet School Lunch Your Kids Will Munch is a great place to start.
Be a Good Food Role Model
Your children are always watching, so don’t expect them to eat well if you don’t. Eating together as a family has been shown to decrease the likelihood of children using tobacco, alcohol and drugs. The family meal is a place for communication and building a feeling of belonging that creates and strengthens ties between family members. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a good section on Healthy Eating complete with time-saving tips and meal ideas.
Invite Your Child to Join In
One of the best ways to avoid picky eating and to teach your child important life skills, is to include them in every day cooking. Giving your child the opportunity to assist in preparing a meal builds self-confidence and encourages interest in the food they’re eating. When planning your meals together, give your child a choice between two healthy options, this way you can set limits while allowing for independence. There are a number of different tasks that your child can help with depending on their age including:
Stirring or mixing
Setting the table
Entertaining the cook
Children are keen to learn new skills and may need assistance when trying something new. With some patience (and a few messy attempts) you’ll be surprised at what your child can create.
Our family–friendly recipes are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters in the family!
Guides and Resources
Call Public Health for a copy or click: