Copyright © Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
Living healthily is probably the best lesson you can teach your child, and it is one that will stay with him for life.
A healthy child has the potential for a bright future. Hence it makes perfect sense to start cultivating the habit of maintaining good health from young. Helping your child develop and maintain good habits from young can help prevent health problems when he grows up.
One habit that is important to encourage is the habit of healthy eating. Some parents have kids who are picky eaters. On the other end of the spectrum, some kids simply eat too much.
Chubby children may be cute, but not all children will eventually grow out of their chubbiness. All that excess weight may lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. An overweight child may suffer from issues with self-esteem if he gets teased by his friends because of his size.
The main rule of thumb when it comes to maintaining weight is energy balance:
If he eats more than the energy he uses, he will gain weight. The energy that is not used is stored in the body as fat.
There are two easy ways to help your child live a healthy lifestyle and keep obesity at bay:
"An overweight child may suffer from issues with self-esteem if he gets teased by his friends because of his size."
Knowing what kind of food to eat more or less of can keep your child on the path to good health.
My Healthy Plate is an easy-to-understand guide to better nutrition.
There are four food groups:
Enjoy a variety from each group at every meal. A good mix of these will provide the nutrients that your child needs.
When planning your child's daily meals, it is important to include the right number of servings from the following food groups to ensure that your child obtains the nutrients he needs.
The table below illustrates the size of one serving for each of the food groups.
Here are some ideas of what you can give your child between his meals if he is hungry:
Mix one cup of whole-grain cereal with ¼ cup of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews) and ¼ cup of chopped dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins and cranberries) for a healthy snack that you can take anywhere.
Top a cup of low-fat, low-sugar yoghurt with granola or fresh fruit for a quick calcium boost.
Top whole-grain crackers with a soft cheese spread or a piece of tasty cheddar for an easy-to-prepare snack that is rich in calcium.
Cut cucumber, celery, carrots and/ or capsicums into sticks and serve with a small side of low-fat dressing. This is a savoury snack that is easy to prepare in advance — just prepare the veggies and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Freeze fruits such as seedless grapes, kiwifruit or strawberries for an icy-cool treat that is low in sugar and high in vitamins. For extra fun, skewer a few fruit pieces on a satay stick or toothpick before freezing.
Mash a ripe avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and some chopped ripe tomatoes to make a mild, nutritious guacamole that even your picky child will love. Serve with plain tortilla chips or wholegrain crackers.
Want to provide healthier options for your child and for your family?
Do look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) on your next trip to the supermarket.
Food products with HCS are generally:
You can include a variety of HCS products as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, like all food, they should be eaten in moderation.
As a parent, you want your child to be active and healthy. Your preschooler should be encouraged to have at least 180 minutes of physical activity spread out over the course of a day. Consider spreading the physical activity in between periods of inactivity.
However, if a child has a physical limitation or medical condition, parents should seek the doctor’s advice on the types and amount of physical activity that are best for the child.
Children at this stage are full of energy and it is amazing what they can do. Although their ability to run, jump and climb is good, their judgement and self-control are still developing. Be aware of your child’s surroundings and never underestimate what he might try to do.
Pool safety is also important, read about
Water Safety tips in the article : Keeping your child safe.
Make up riddles and prompt your child to answer with a rhyming food item.
Shop for groceries with your child and prepare a meal together. Your child can help to perform easier tasks like washing lettuce or scrubbing the potatoes. Try to stack up some apples or paper cups to form a three-dimensional pyramid, explain 2D and 3D shapes as you do this.
Bond with your child while engaging in these everyday activities!
Pick the topic that you are interested in and download our ebook below:
1. Set a Healthy example - Children see, children do2.
Active Living - Raising healthy kids3.
Myopia Prevention - Healthy eyes, clear vision4.
Oral Health - Help your child smile5.
Mental Well Being - Build him up, raising a resilient child6. Child Safety - Growing up safe (3-6 years old)7. Infections Disease Prevention - Keep germs away8. Sexuality Education - Mum dad where do I come from9. Smoke-Free Environment - A smoke free environment for a healthier family10. Alcohol Education - Alcohol alert11. Healthy Living in Child Care Centres - Growing up healthily in a child care centre12. School Health and Dental Services - Entering primary school growing up healthily in school13. Screening and Early Detection - Is my child developing normally14. Services Support Groups and Helplines - Where to get help (Growing Kid)15. Books from National Library Board - Books for your growing child (Toddler and Preschooler)
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This article was last reviewed on
Thursday, August 13, 2020
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