Nutrition

    bunny-sandwich

    Your body is capable of doing all sorts of things by itself, but just like a car needs fuel, your body needs food for energy. Different foods have different nutrients. See why each nutrient is important.

     

    Complex Carbohydrates

    The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system.1  Most people should get between 45% and 65% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates (like Bunny Bread) and natural sugars (from fresh fruits, like apples).1,2 Click here to learn more about Complex Carbohydrates.

     

    B Vitamins

    The B Vitamins Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Niacin (Vitamin B3) play an important role in metabolism by helping the body produce and release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.3  They also help the nervous system function properly.3  Because the body doesn’t store these B vitamins, you should eat foods that contain them every day.4  Folic acid is another B vitamin that is necessary to make red blood cells in your body.3

     

    Calcium and Vitamin D

    Calcium and Vitamin D work together to build strong bones.5  Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.5  Calcium is also necessary for proper heart, muscle and nerve function.5  Adequate calcium throughout life, as part as a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

     

    whole-grain-stamps-100Whole Grains

    Whole Grains contain all three parts and all the nutrients of the entire grain kernel (bran, germ and endosperm).  All 3 parts work together to provide good nutrition.

    • Color is NOT a good way to tell if food is whole grain. Look at the ingredients list to see if “whole grain” is the first ingredient.
    • Look for the Whole Grain Stamp on food to see if it has whole grain in it.
    • Look at the number listed on the Whole Grain Stamp to see how many grams of whole grain are in each serving. Try to eat at least 48g of whole grain per day.

    Click here to learn more about Whole Grains.

     

    Fiber

    Foods that contain Fiber are digested more slowly by the body and can make us feel full and satisfied after eating less.6  The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 25g of fiber per day for women and 38g per day for men.2  Click here to learn more about Fiber.

    Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Visit Why Eat Bread for more information on the benefits of grain foods.

     

    eating-for-energyEating for Energy

    • Eat Breakfast – Cars can’t drive without fuel, so remember to eat breakfast to fuel your body throughout the day.
    • Colors Mean Vitamins – Try to eat a lot of different colored foods in each meal.
    • Whole Grain is Good – Try to eat at least 3 servings of whole grain per day.

     

    Fun Food Tips

    • Try “Ants on a Log” – Put peanut butter on celery and line up raisins on top of the peanut butter.
    • Make faces on your toast – toast a piece of bread and put an apple slice as the smile and strawberries as eyes.
    • Put strawberries or a banana on top of your cereal.
    • Ask an adult to help you make a smoothie in the blender – add fresh or frozen fruit, milk, and yogurt for a tasty snack.
    • Warm up peanut butter in the microwave as a dip for apples or serve yogurt as a dip for fresh fruit.
    • Use cookie cutters to make a fun sandwich snack. Just press the cookie cutter into the bread and add your favorite healthy toppings.
    • Make a fancy parfait (pronounced Par Fay) – put some yogurt in a cup, add a layer of fruit and cereal for a delicious treat.

     

    Get Moving!

    Here are some fun ways to be active. To have even more fun, ask your friends and family to join you.

    On sunny days, you can go outdoors and:

    • Go for a bike ride
    • Jump rope
    • Shoot some hoops
    • Go to the park and play on the playground
    • Rake leaves into a big pile and jump in them

     

    On rainy or cold days you can:

    • Dance to your favorite music
    • Play hide and seek or charades with some friends
    • Hula hoop
    • Build a fort with blankets and pillows
    • Play dress up and act out a story
    • Create a treasure hunt

     

    Sources:

    1 National Institutes of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002469.htm
    2 USDA and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp
    3 ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-why.html
    4 National Institutes of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002399.htm
    5 National Institutes of Health: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/
    6 International Food Information Council: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resource/Detail.aspx?topic=Fiber_Fact_Sheet

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