10/24/2013 04:25 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Dietitians launch online tool to help parents see if kids are eating properly

TORONTO - There's a new online tool for parents who want to check whether their preschoolers and toddlers are eating well.

Nutri-eSTEP, launched by Dietitians of Canada, aims to give parents guidance on how to improve eating behaviours and link them to resources.

Parents of preschoolers (aged three to five years) and toddlers (18 to 35 months) answer multiple choice questions about daily food choices, screen time and physical activity, growth and other related factors.

"In less than 10 minutes, parents or a caregiver can complete an easy-to-use online questionnaire, receive immediate feedback on 'What is Going Well' and 'What to Work On,' and then be linked to healthy eating resources and community services," Helen Haresign, director of EatRight Ontario, said Thursday in a release.

It's billed as a fast way to assess eating habits and identify potential nutrition problems in young children.

Previously the questionnaires were provided to parents by staff in some clinics, public health or daycares, but were not available to all parents.

Parents can receive written feedback and tips from registered dietitians, and follow up links to articles, videos, kid-friendly recipes and community services. There is information on how to contact nutrition services in their community.

There's also a questionnaire for people who are over age 50 to assess whether their food choices are letting them stay healthy and active.

Dietitians of Canada ( represents about 6,000 professional members at the local, provincial and national level. It operates EatRight Ontario.