The NG Times Newspaper

Submitted by: Marie Traynor RD,
Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

The theme for this year’s Nutrition Month is to take the fight out of food. At Public Health we hear from a lot of parents who struggle at mealtime to get their kids to eat and wonder if this is normal. We do try to avoid the term ‘picky eaters’ to avoid a negative label on anyone’s eating behaviour. Instead we talk about raising healthy eaters.

It is common for children to go through an eating phase where nothing seems to please them! If the child is happy and growing well, there is usually no need to worry. It is also normal for a child to eat a lot one day and very little the next. Fortunately they are very good at knowing how much food they need so allowing them to decide how much to eat respects their individual appetites.

Some children find comfort in eating familiar foods and may go through periods where they are only eating a few foods. Try not to worry about these food jags. This is a normal way for them to gain some control and independence over their lives. Try to provide a variety of healthy options along with the food that your child enjoys. Eventually the phase will likely pass and your child will try new foods.

But it can take up to 15 or even 20 tries before a child will accept a new food so the key is to keep offering it if the child has turned it down before. Try to be patient and give the child time to get used to new textures and flavors without forcing them to eat.

Fighting stress with eating and other behaviours is a struggle for some. Some eat more when they are stressed and others have no appetite during stressful times. We do react differently. If food provides emotional comfort in stressful times try not to let yourself get too hungry. Keep healthy snacks on hand like vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, hummus or lower fat cheeses. If you crave chips or chocolate buy a small portion, sit down, eat it slowly and enjoy it! Some people report that too much caffeine can interfere with sleep which make stress worse. It is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks and cola soft drinks. Reduce caffeine slowly by replacing sources with water, herbal teas, decaf drinks or milk.

Regular physical activity that is fun for you can be a huge help. Aim for 2.5 hours a week. Activities such as dancing, walking, gardening, yoga, swimming all count. Getting enough sleep helps too. If you do not wake up feeling refreshed or you find it hard to stay alert throughout the day consider speaking with your health care provider.

Smoking and alcohol may seem to be stress relievers but both can cause serious health concerns for you and those around you. Call our Health Action Line for free nicotine replacement, ideas to help you quit or places to go for help if you are concerned about your alcohol intake.

Go to for more information or our toll free Health Action Line 1-800-660-5853. To speak with a Registered Dietitian at no cost call EatRight Ontario 1-877-510-5102.


  1. If I remember right, you clean them with cooking oil between colours, then detergent after. But th#2e&e8r17;s still the business of waiting for the paint to dry. I’m never patient enough!


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