The important thing with nutrients is that you can’t have just some of them – you need balanced amounts of all the different types out there! To do that, make sure to eat the right number of daily servings from each food group such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and proteins.
Certain foods pack more nutrients per bite than others. (They’re “nutritionally rich”!) Rather than eating things like fried foods and sugary drinks, which have lots of calories but very few nutrients, it’s usually considered a better idea to chow down on nutrient-filled foods that offer good things like minerals, vitamins, and fiber without also being really high in calories. Some good examples are fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, and low-fat dairy. Yum!
Remember that it’s often best to get a nutrient from the food in which it is naturally found, instead of in a supplement or a fortified food into which it has been put. For example, many people agree that it’s better to get Vitamin C by eating fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in this nutrient (such as peppers and oranges) than from something like a cereal or a supplement where Vitamin C has been added. Lots of new research suggests that our bodies process these nutrients better when we eat them from whole foods instead of manufactured ones. Of course, many scientists, doctors, nutritionists, and food experts have different opinions about these ideas. – It’s usually a good idea to listen to the guidance of your parents and your doctors, and to listen to your body and do things that make you feel healthy!
What are some of your favorite foods? Do you know which kinds of nutrients they give you??For example, if you really like citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, you’re getting lots of Vitamin C that is helpful for you immune system, which is what fights of germs and keeps you from getting sick. Or, if you really like whole grain cereals or wheat breads, you’re getting lots of fiber, which helps your body to digest the food you eat!What other foods do you like, and what do they give to your body? Ask a grown-up to help you do some research and find out!!
Sources & links
“Calories + Nutrients = Food.” A Healthier You. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 08 Mar. 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 08 Mar. 2010 “Nutrition ”“ Teaching Kids to Like Good Food.” St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 08 Mar. 2010 “Know Your Nutrients.” NMS: Nutritional Management Services. 08 Mar. 2010 “Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series.” MyPyramid.gov. 2009. United States Department of Agriculture. 08 Mar. 2010