Lentils, mustard greens, tofu
grains. Does this sound like a healthy grocery list or a science project? Sure, all these foods are good for you. But good nutrition isn't about giving up your favorite foods. It's about making healthy choices from the wide variety of foods available. The better your choices are, the better you'll feel mentally and physically. Of course, pizza and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream have their place. It's up to you to make most of your food choices healthy ones! back to top
Turning food into fuel
From the moment you chomp down on a bite of food, your teeth, tongue, and stomach work to pulverize it and turn it into a concoction that can best be described as mush. When this lovely mush moves from your stomach to your intestines
, the nutrients
are ready to be absorbed by your body. Foods like apples, brown rice, and broccoli are rich in nutrients
such as carbohydrates
, and minerals
. Other foods like doughnut holes and Jell-O and Slurpees are nutrient poor
. They supply mostly fat
or simple sugars
Whether rich or poor, the nutrients your body absorbs from food travel through your bloodstream supplying energy to your body's cells. Your body needs plenty of rich nutrients to grow, repair your body tissue, and regulate your body's chemical processes. back to top
Making healthy choices
To be sure you are getting plenty of those rich nutrients, try some of these delicious treats:
Why eat healthy?
- Carbohydrate-rich choices like a fruit salad with apples or pears after school or rice and veggies for supper give you the muscle strength and endurance you need for all your activities.
- Black bean soup and salsa give you the brainpower you need to take on life's challenges, from solving polynomial equations in algebra class to lobbying for that family camping trip.
- Iron-rich foods like chicken curry, hummus, and cereal with raisins can boost your energy all day.
- Choosing minestrone soup with pasta can help you look good and feel healthy because your body will be satisfied. That means you are less likely to overeat. And you will have enough fuel for physical activity, which can help you build lean body mass and increase your fitness level.
- A corn tortilla with veggies, beans, and a little pepper jack cheese can lower your risk for chronic, long-lasting diseases like osteoporosis, certain cancers, and heart disease. If you store up lots of calcium now, you will be less likely to get that old lady hump and brittle bones farther down the road. back to top
Every time you put something in your mouth, you're making another decision about how healthy your body will be. Sure, one decision by itself is no big deal. But those decisions become important as they add up over time. And addition is always easier than subtraction! So go ahead and snack on a handful of pretzels this afternoon if that's what you want. Just skip the French fries at dinner. back to top
Think in color
If you choose the foods you eat by color, you'll probably find the balance you need. Try mandarin orange segments and some leftover rice in your spinach salad. Or think green when topping that red and white pizza. Then go for moderate portions
and you're well on your way to a healthy diet. back to top