Similar to the way a car needs gasoline to drive, your body uses food as fuel to properly function. That’s why it’s important to make healthy food choices by eating meals and snacks that are nutritious, as well as delicious. You can use the five food groups to select the foods that will power your day.
- Vegetables – Vegetables are encouraged at every meal because they provide the vitamins and minerals needed to keep your body healthy. Examples: carrots, spinach, broccoli and cucumbers
- Fruit – Fruit also provides important vitamins and minerals that help you stay well. Try to eat fruit often. Examples: bananas, grapes and pineapples
- Grain – Grain, especially wholegrain, has fiber and B vitamins that help with digestion. Examples: cereals, rice, bread and pasta
- Protein – Your body uses protein to build, repair and maintain tissue, muscles and organs. Examples: fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and chicken
- Dairy – This food group is an excellent source of calcium, which is important for strong, healthy bones. Examples: milk, yogurt and cheese
Our tiny teeth have BIG jobs! We use our teeth to help us eat, talk and smile, so it is important to treat them well. Here are a few ways to keep your teeth health and strong:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes – Brushing is important for a bright, healthy smile! It may seem like a boring, but there are ways to make brushing more fun, like playing and dancing to your favorite song, humming a tune, or using a toothbrush shaped like your favorite superhero, princess or cartoon character.
- Floss every day – Flossing is just as essential as brushing. Floss gets between your teeth to remove food that toothbrushes can’t reach. This helps keeps your teeth and gums clean, preventing plaque and other germs.
- Eat more tooth-friendly foods – Fruit, vegetables, cheese, lean meats and nuts are better for your teeth than cookies, candy and chips. They’re delicious too! MmmmMmmm.
- See your dentist at least twice a year – Your dentist is a friendly doctor who helps take care of your teeth. When you get a dental exam, the dentist counts your teeth; sees if you’re brushing properly; makes sure your teeth are growing correctly and looks for cavities. The dentist also checks your tongue and the inside of your mouth to make sure they are healthy too. If you have questions about your teeth, your dentist can help.
A new year means new opportunities to be a healthier, happier you. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your New Year’s resolutions:
- Eat FIVE or more fruits and vegetables a day by including one serving at every meal and for snack times in between. If you don’t have access to fresh produce, canned or frozen works too! Look for vegetables with no added salt and choose fruits canned in their own juice, not syrup. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Just because it’s not love at first bite doesn’t mean you should give up. It can take seven to 10 tries to like a new food.
- Limit yourself to TWO hours or less of recreational screen time each day. On average, children spend more than seven hours per day using TVs, computers, phones, and other electronic devices for entertainment. Too much screen time has been linked to obesity, behavioral and social problems, low grades, and reduced physical activity.
- Engage in ONE hour or more of physical activity every day. Did you know that less than 50 percent of the time spent in sports practice, games, and physical education class involves moving enough to be considered physical activity? That means you need to move more at home and on weekends. Break physical activity down into shorter blocks of time and remember that all movement counts towards your goal—take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog, or turn on your favorite song and dance.
- Consume ZERO sugary drinks. Instead, fuel your body with low-fat milk or water. If you’re not a fan of the way H2O tastes, try adding a slice of citrus fruit or infusing your water with apples, berries, or kiwis. Just cut up your fruit of choice, drop it in a pitcher or a glass of water, and drink. You can also incorporate more water-rich foods into your diet like yogurt, grapefruit, spinach, broccoli and watermelon—all of which have a water content of 85 percent or more.
Now that you’ve set goals for the year ahead, take a moment to look back at the accomplishments and special moments that made 2017 memorable. Download the YEAR IN REVIEW activity sheet. Fill it out, snap a photo and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on our website.