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A healthy diet can help everyone get the proper nutrition they need and maintain a healthy body weight. For people with bleeding disorders, excess weight puts added stress on already fragile joints and can increase the number of painful bleeds. Because body weight determines how much clotting factor (called factor) a person needs to treat a bleed, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the amount of factor needed.

Unfortunately, childhood obesity is a growing problem. In fact, childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. Parents who model healthy eating habits and physical activity can have a long-lasting and positive influence on their children's health.

Remember, healthy eating and exercise are a family affair.

What Is a Healthy Diet?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the US Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs


Food preferences are developed early in life. So, as a parent, you can influence your child's food choices by offering a variety of healthy foods. This is the best way to give the body the energy, protein, vitamins, and fiber needed for good health.

To prevent food fatigue, mix up choices from each food group. You'll stave off boredom and you'll likely find a food your child loves!

tips for healthy eating

Focus on Fruits

Focus on Fruits

  • Don’t think just apples or bananas.
    • These are great choices, but try some “exotic” fruits as well. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit?
  • When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy
    • Read the label: canned fruits may contain added sugars or sugar syrups. Choose varieties packed in water or in their own juice
Get Your Calcium-rich Foods

Get Your Calcium-rich Foods

  • Don’t just think milk! Try low-fat and fat-free yogurts; they come in a variety of flavors (choose those without added sugars)
  • If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Many nondairy foods are calcium rich too (for example, almonds, peas, salmon, spinach, tofu, and white beans)

Calcium is a key building block for strong healthy bones.

Know the Limits on Fats, Salt, Cholesterol, and Sugars

Know the Limits on Fats, Salt, Cholesterol, and Sugars

Reading labels on foods can help you tell how much sodium, fat, cholesterol, and sugar are in them. Try not to label foods as “bad” or eliminate all sweets and favorite snacks–stress moderation.

  • Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats (trans fats raise blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease)
  • Choose and prepare foods and beverages that are low in salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners)

Drinks Count Too

Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra–and empty– calories

  • Water and milk are the best drinks for kids
  • Choose 100% juice (even 100% fruit juices are high in calories)
Make Half Your Grains Whole

Make Half Your Grains Whole

  • Make sandwiches with whole grain breads
  • Snack on whole grain toasted oat cereal
  • Substitute brown rice for white rice
  • Set a good example for children by eating whole grains with meals or as snacks
  • Read the label: choose grains (for example, wheat, rice, oats, or corn) that are labeled as “whole”
Go Lean With Protein

Go Lean With Protein

  • Choose lean meats and poultry
  • Bake, broil, or grill–don’t fry!
  • Add beans, nuts, and seeds to your menus–to cut down on the amount of meat consumed
  • Prepare meatless meals during the week

Beans are an excellent source of protein. They are high in fiber, low in fat, and have no cholesterol.

Vary Your Vegetables

Vary Your Vegetables

  • Color is key!
    • Go dark green (for example, broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens)
    • Eat more orange vegetables (for example, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash)
    • Pass the beans and peas (for example, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, split peas)
  • Add vegetables to your favorite recipes (for example, carrots into your spaghetti sauce)
  • Serve raw veggie sticks with a tasty dip–but watch out for added calories
  • Mix up how you make vegetables. Try grilling, steaming, or sautéing–use nonstick cooking spray to reduce calories
  • Spice–or herb–them up! Garlic, rosemary, tarragon, and cilantro add a tasty zing
  • Frozen or canned vegetables make a quick side dish–just microwave and serve
    • Read the label: look for vegetables without added salt, butter or cream sauces

Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.

Remember, before taking any vitamins or supplements, talk with your hemophilia health care provider.

Healthful, Family-Friendly Meal Planning Resources: