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Finding and Keeping a Healthy Body Weight

Tips for living a healthy lifestyle for teens and kids

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Eating well, being active, and feeling good about yourself are all part of a healthy lifestyle. Along with what we suggest here, please follow the recommendations in Eating Well With Canada's Food Guide. Ask your dietitian for a copy if you do not have one.

You can also find the guide here:

Here are four basic things to remember about achieving and maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Be active.
  • Establish healthy eating patterns.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Feel good about yourself.

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Be active

  • Try to be active every season.
  • Participate in gym class.
  • Try increasing your current activity level by 30 minutes per day to start.
  • After checking with your doctor and physiotherapist, aim for 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous activity and 90 minutes of total activity per day, 4 to 5 times per week.

  • Choose different activities that you like so you don't get bored.
  • Choose some activities that you can do in your neighbourhood or at home, like walking or biking.

  • Limit the amount of time you spend watching TV and playing on the computer to 90 minutes per day or less. Start by reducing your current daily screen time by 30 minutes per day.

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Establish healthy eating patterns

  • Eat 3 meals a day. Do not skip meals - especially breakfast.
  • If you are hungry between meals, plan to eat a healthy snack such as yogurt and fruit, cut up fruits and vegetables, or whole wheat crackers and cheese. 1 to 3 healthy snacks a day are okay.

  • Eat slowly and without distractions like homework, TV, and toys. That way, you will know when you are full.

  • See "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide" for common portion sizes. If you aren't sure about portion sizes, talk to your dietitian.

  • Eat at home more often. Try to eat out less often.

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Make healthy food choices


  • Choose water. If you don't want water, choose from a variety of sugar-free drinks.

  • Remember to get your recommended servings of milk. Choose 2%, 1% or skim milk.

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Vegetables and fruits

  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of juice and dried or canned fruit.

  • Limit juice to 1 glass per day.
  • Choose fruit canned in juice instead of syrup.
  • Use herbs, spices, and lemon juice to add flavour to vegetables, instead of butter and cream.

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Grain products

  • Choose whole grain breads such as whole wheat and whole rye.
  • Choose cereals made from whole grains. Try not to eat sugary cereals and granola.

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Milk and alternatives

  • Choose 2%, 1% or skim milk.
  • Choose cheese with less than 20% of milk fat. It should say 20% m.f. on the package.

  • Limit the use of table cream, whipped cream, and sour cream. Choose low-fat versions of these products.

  • Choose sherbets, ice milk, gelato, and frozen yogurt more often as alternatives to ice cream.

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Meat and alternatives

  • Choose leaner cuts of meat, such as loins and rounds.
  • Cut away visible fat from meat. Take off the skin from chicken or turkey.

  • Choose tuna and other fish canned in water instead of oil.
  • Limit the use of gravy and sauces.
  • Try having legumes, soybeans, and tofu as a source of protein.
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Treats do have a place in a healthy eating lifestyle. Eating a treat every once in a while is part of balanced eating.

  • The key is moderation. Limit yourself to one to two treats per week.
  • Try not to keep too many treats in the house.
  • Choose healthier treats if you can.
  • Do make exceptions for special occasions that may involve treats, such as parties, holidays and other special occasions.

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Feel good about yourself

  • Remember that healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.
  • Focus on the positive changes you have made to your lifestyle.
  • Do not weigh yourself often. Don't compare different scales.
  • Reward yourself for your efforts. You deserve it.

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Your dietitian also recommends:





Call your dietitian if you have any questions:





Stacey Segal, MSc, RD

Jennifer Buccino, MEd, RD, CDE

Kellie Welch, RD