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Where does your food come from?

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Do you know where your food comes from? What are some better choices, and why…





As a kid you use a lot of calories (energy) and need lots of nutrients (the good stuff in food) but your stomach is still small (especially compared to an adult), so you should have frequent, healthy snacks. For good health it means things like fresh crispy carrots, celery and fruit.  Added sugar and fat/oil is something to steer clear of, so cut back on things like chippies, lollies, soft drinks, cheap burgers and deep fried stuff.




If you are teenager it’s likely you have high-energy needs and maybe a busy schedule, so keep delicious, healthy snack choices on hand. 


It’s best to keep away from high fat content foods when buying takeaways or at a café. A pitfall in takeaways is that they are quite often fatty & salty and that can lead to weight gain and health problems, such as obesity.  As with kids you should cut back on things like chippies, lollies, soft drinks, cheap burgers and deep fried stuff.  These things also contribute to zits/acne.



Energy needs vary from person to person.  The following guidelines are general ones.

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food groups

Whole Grains

• Whole grains include breads, hot and

cold cereals, pasta, cooked grains such as

rice and barley, and crackers.

• One serving equals 1/2 cup of pasta,

grains, or cooked cereal/porridge, 3/4 to 1 cup

of ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 bun or bagel, or

1 slice of bread.




• “Dark green vegetables” include

broccoli, kale, spinach, turnip, mustard and

beetroot greens, bok choy, and Swiss chard.

• “Other vegetables” refers to all other

vegetables, fresh or frozen, raw or cooked.

• One serving of vegetables equals 1/2 cup

cooked or 1 cup raw (unless an amount is




• Fruits include all fruits, fresh or frozen,

raw or cooked, and fruit juices.

• One serving equals 1/2 cup cooked

fruit, 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1/4 cup dried

fruit, or 1 piece of fruit (unless an amount

is specified).

Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and Non-Dairy Milks


• Legumes include any cooked bean such

as pinto, kidney, lentils, split peas, navy

beans, and chickpeas, as well as soy products

such as tofu, veggie burgers, soy “hot

dogs”/saveloys, or sandwich slices, and tempeh.

• One serving of legumes equals 1/2 cup

of beans, tofu, or other item (unless an

amount is specified).

• Non-dairy milks include breast milk

and soy formula for infants and toddlers,

and rice-, soy-, and other vegetable-based

milks for children at least 1 year of age.

Choose fortified soymilk, such as Westsoy,

Enriched VitaSoy, or SoGood,

whenever possible, or use other fortified

vegetable-based milks.

• One serving of non-dairy milk equals 1 cup.

• Nuts include whole or chopped nuts, nut

butters, whole seeds, and seed butters.

• One to two servings of nuts may be

included in a healthy diet, but they are

optional. One serving of nuts or nut butters

equals 1 tablespoon.

sample menus

Ages 5 to 6 years


Breakfast: Whole grain cereal with banana and soymilk, orange wedges


Lunch: Missing Egg Sandwich, apple juice, carrot sticks, oatmeal biscuit


Dinner: Baked beans with soy “hot dog”/saveloy pieces, baked potato, spinach, soymilk, fruit salad


Snacks: Trail mix, crackers, Soymilk


Ages 7 to 12 years


Breakfast: Strawberry-banana smoothie, toast with almond butter, calcium-fortified orange juice

Lunch: Hearty Chili Mac, green salad, bread

Dinner: Steamed broccoli with nutritional/savoury yeast, steamed carrots, oven chips, Berry Cobbler, soymilk

Snacks: Popcorn, figs, soy “ice cream”


Ages 13 to 19 years


Breakfast: Bagel with apple butter, banana, calcium-fortified orange juice

Lunch: Bean burrito with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole, rice, baked tortilla chips, and salsa

Dinner: Braised broccoli, carrots, yellow squash, and mushrooms, spaghetti with marinara sauce, cucumber salad, soymilk

Snacks: Hummus and baby carrots, fruit smoothie.

For all the recipes in the above sample menus and more, please click here

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Food Groups,  Sample Menus and Daily Meal Planner obtained from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The information on this page  is for guidance only and is not intended as individual medical advice.


Parents: Always discuss any diet change with your doctor or your child’s paediatrician. In some cases, diet changes may alter medication needs. 

Anyone following a Vegan diet should be sure to include a source of vitamin B12 in their daily routine, such as fortified cereals, fortified soy milk and B12 droplets or tablets (available from your chemist.)  It should be noted that even those consuming animal products should  include vitamin B12 supplements in their diet.

fortified soymilk, or any common multiple vitamin

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