Nutrition and Fitness
The winning recipe for a healthy lifestyle includes a combination of both good nutrition and physical activity. Your body needs a variety of nutrient rich foods to grow and prevent illness. And your body also needs to move and exercise every day.
Key things you need to know about leading a healthy lifestyle are:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grain products
- Control portion sizes and never "supersize"
- Get active for at least 60 minutes, five times a week for ages 6-18
- Avoid tobacco and illegal drugs all together
Well-nourished students have higher test scores, increased school attendance, improved concentration, and improved classroom behavior. Students, who are physically fit, sleep better and are better able to handle the physical and emotional challenges that they encounter during the day.
Nutrition: Good nutrition leads to great academic performance
Your body needs healthy fuel to perform, to grow and to ward off illness and disease. Would you feed a million dollar racehorse junk food & soda? Of course not, so think about what you eat...because you are worth far more than a horse!
Good nutrition has a positive and direct impact on your ability to do well in school. When your nutritional needs are met, you have the cognitive energy to learn and achieve. You will be better prepared to learn, more likely to attend school, and are more apt to take advantage of learning opportunities.
Proteins - Choose a variety of foods with lean protein
Protein is an indispensable nutrient and can be found throughout every tissue in our body. Protein is a vital source of energy but the most important function of protein is building and repairing tissue. We also need protein for our immune function, proteins transport vitamins and minerals throughout our body.
Grains – Make half of all the grains you eat whole grains
Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. Dietary fiber from whole grains, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including several B vitamins, magnesium and selenium.
Vegetables - Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Eating vegetables provides health benefits — people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Fruits – Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Eating fruit provides health benefits — people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Dairy – Always choose fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Milk and dairy products are especially important to bone health during school aged years, when bone mass is being built. It provides important sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D, and help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and help to lower blood pressure in
Nutrition Information - Understanding Food Labels
In order to plan a healthy diet, we must know how to read a food label. Food labels show us if a food has a little or a lot of certain nutrients. Look on the side of a product to find the Nutrition Facts title.
You will find the serving size of the food below the nutrition facts title. Similar food products have similar serving sizes. The servings per container are also included to let you compare what you actually eat with the serving size on that product. So remember, if the serving size is 1 cup and you eat 2 cups, then you will need to double the numbers on the label.
% Daily values are listed to give you an idea of how one serving of a product contributes nutritionally to a 2000 calorie diet. Use the % daily values to see if a food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.
The amount of calories in one serving of the product is listed. Only a few nutrients are listed on the Nutrition Facts label-those that relate to today's most important health issues. The label lists total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium because people eat too much of these.
Fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are listed because people do not eat enough of these everyday. You should try to eat at least 100% of the daily value of each of these everyday.
Fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are required on the label. Other nutrients may be listed if the company would like to list them.
What Are Nutrients?
Nutrients are substances found in food that are needed for good health. Your body can't make nutrients, so they must be supplied by food. During digestion, food is broken down into nutrients, which are absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to every cell in your body. More than 40 nutrients in food are classified into six groups: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Each nutrient has a specific function and they all work together for your good health.
Carbohydrates - are the body's main source of energy or calories. Carbohydrates are classified in two groups: complex carbohydrates (starches) and sugars. Fiber, which is another carbohydrate, aids digestion and helps fight some diseases but is not a nutrient because it is not digested and absorbed by the body.
Protein - supplies energy and amino acids. Amino acids are building blocks that build, repair, and maintain every cell in your body.
Fats - also supply energy but they have many other functions. Fats transport nutrients and they are a part of many body cells. Fats provide storage and insulation for your body. Carbohydrates and proteins that are not needed for energy are stored as fat.
Vitamins - trigger many different body processes. These compounds are needed in very small amounts in the diet to regulate chemical reactions in the body. Each vitamin has a specific job in your body, so one vitamin can't replace another. Vitamins do not provide energy but they help our bodies use the energy from foods.
Minerals - are like vitamins and are used in the body to promote chemical reactions and form body structures.
Water - is a part of every cell and tissue in the body. Water carries nutrients to cells and removes wastes products. Water is also needed to help regulate body temperature. Water makes up 55-75% of your body weight.