Nutrition is how we get the food we need to grow healthy and strong. Vitamins and minerals
help our bodies to function and grow.
Why is nutrition important for kids?
Eating good foods is especially important for kids because they are still growing. Kids' bodies need nutrition to grow strong healthy bones and muscles. If you don't get all the vitamins and minerals you need while you are growing, you won't grow as tall and as strong as you could be.
There are five main food groups that you should eat every day. By eating a variety of foods in each of these food groups, you will get the nutrition you need to grow and be healthy.
- Grains - breads, cereal, pasta, rice
- Dairy - milk, cheese, yogurt
- Fruits - apples, oranges, berries, grapes, bananas
- Vegetables - broccoli, beans, spinach, carrots, peas
- Protein - beef, chicken, pork, eggs, nuts, fish
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with a picture of a plate to help us to make sure we get all the nutrients we need each meal. Here is the picture:
As you can see, each of the five food groups is drawn on the plate. Notice that the vegetables and grains portions are slightly larger than the fruit and protein portions. This gives you an idea of what foods you need to eat and how much of each.
The USDA also gives other guidelines on how to eat healthier. A few that may help you:
- Drink skim milk or low fat milk.
- Eat whole grains for your grains. One example is wheat bread instead of white bread.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Calories are a measure of how much energy
is in food. When we eat, we gain calories and it gives us energy to run around and do stuff. If we eat more calories than we use moving around, then our body stores up the calories in fat. If we use more calories than we eat, then our body will start to burn up fat that was stored earlier.
Fun facts about Nutrition
- Some foods are supposed to make you smarter like red cabbage, egg yolks, tomatoes, berries, and walnuts.
- The average American will eat around 12 pounds of chocolate in a year.
- People will try all sorts of crazy diets, but the best way to lose weight is to eat healthy and exercise.
- Empty calories are foods that have calories, but little nutritional value. These include solid fats and added sugars.
- Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. Some oils, like oils from fish and nuts, are good for you in small amounts.
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