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Diet – Your child requires a healthy diet to help prevent injuries and also to help heal quickly any injuries that may occur. The diet should also provide the energy needed for sports. Below is a brief summary of food groups to help select a healthy balanced diet.

Milk Group

Calcium, the key nutrient found in this group, is essential for strong, healthy teeth and bones. Choose Milk Group foods for the calcium you need:

• Between ages 9 and 18 children build almost half of their bone mass.
• As children’s bones get longer, stronger and denser, they store extra calcium needed for a lifetime.
• Calcium is just as important for adults to prevent the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis.
• Calcium helps regulate blood pressure and may reduce the risk for colon cancer.
• Vitamin D, protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin and phosphorous are other important nutrients provided by Milk Group foods.

Foods in the Milk Group

• Milk – whole, low fat, reduced fat, fat free, flavored and buttermilk.
• Yoghurt
• Cheese – all types
• Cottage cheese
• Pudding, cream soups and foods made with milk
• Ice Cream and frozen yoghurt
• Milkshakes Some foods are made from milk, but we can’t count on them to get the large amount of calcium we need. These foods are in the “Others” category:

• Butter
• Cream cheese
• Whipped cream

Meat Group

The Meat Group contains foods from both plants and animals. They are all excellent sources of protein and iron. Both nutrients are important for growing children.

• Protein helps build strong muscles.
• Protein helps build and repair new body tissue.
• Iron, which is an important part of red blood cells, carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
• Niacin and thiamin are other nutrients provided by foods in this group.

Foods in the Meat Group

Meat, beans and nuts are in this group and include:

• Any kind of beef, chicken, turkey, pork or fish
• Dry beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils and split peas
• Tofu
• Eggs
• Any kind of nuts or seeds
• Peanut butter and other nut spreadsBacon is not in the Meat Group. It contains primarily fat, not protein, the key nutrient for this group.

Vegetable Group

Vegetables provide vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and other nutrients. Each vegetable contains different amounts of these nutrients so it’s important to choose a variety from A to Z each day!

• The deeper the color, the richer the nutrient content.
• Vitamins A and C help night vision, help heal cuts and keep skin healthy.
• All vegetables are sources of fibre. Fibre promotes regular digestion and may reduce the risk for certain cancers.
• All vegetables, except avocados and olives, are naturally low in fat.

Foods in the Vegetable Group

• Fresh, frozen or canned – if it’s a vegetable, it is in this group. Examples are broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini and leafy vegetables.

• Vegetables processed into other foods such as tomato salsa.
• Juices such as tomato, vegetable or carrot juice.

Fruit Group

Fruits provide vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre. The amount of these nutrients in each variety varies. Strawberries and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, are excellent sources of vitamin C. Cantaloupe and apricots are good sources of vitamin A. Eat a variety to get the amount of vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre needed daily.

• Vitamins A and C help night vision, help heal cuts, and keep skin healthy.
• Fruits are a source of fibre. Fibre helps promote regular digestion and may reduce the risk for certain cancers.
• All fruits are naturally low in fat

Foods in the Fruit Group

• Fresh fruits – apples, kiwi, pears, and plums are examples.
• 100% fruit juices
• Dried fruit – raisins, apricots, prunes and bananas are examples.
• Frozen fruit – Hard to get expensive, or off-season fruits are often in the frozen-food aisle. These include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and melons.
• Canned fruits – applesauce, fruit cocktail, apricots and pineapple are examples.

Grain Group

Grain Group foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and add fibre to our diets. Enriched grains also provide iron and the B vitamins, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.

• Complex carbohydrates are an important source of energy. B vitamins help our bodies release and use the energy in carbohydrates. B vitamins also help to keep our blood, skin and nervous systems healthy.
• Iron, which is an important part of red blood cells, carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
• Whole-grain products provide more fibre than highly processed grain products. Fibre helps promote regular digestion and may reduce the risk for certain cancers.

Foods in the Grain Group

Foods from wheat, corn, oats, buckwheat, barley, rice and rye in the Grain Group include:

• Breads – all types, white, wheat, and rye, buns, rolls, muffins and bagels
• Cereals – hot and cold
• Rice – all types
• Pasta – all types including spaghetti, macaroni and noodles
• Tortillas, crackers, pancakes and other foods made from flour and grains Cookies, donuts, cakes are in the “Others” category. Added sugar and fat increases the calorie content so it is proportionately higher than the nutrients these foods provide

Others Group

Foods that don’t fit into the Five Food Groups – Milk, Meat, Grain, Fruit or Vegetable Group – are in this category. These foods provide flavour, but they can’t be counted on to provide nutrients. They are generally higher in calories compared to the amount of nutrients they contain. Eat these foods in moderation and in addition to – not in place of – Five Food Group foods.

Foods in the “Others” Category

• Fats, oils and spreads
• Candy
• Cookies
• Cakes
• Chips and other salty snacks
• Condiments
• Soft drinks
• Coffee and tea

About Serving Sizes and Recommendations
Each food group provides different nutrients. No single food group can supply all the nutrients our body needs. Each food group provides a unique set of nutrients and all the foods in each group have similar nutrients. It’s important to eat from all the food groups to get the 40-plus nutrients our bodies need each day.