Kids should know good nutrition is important to keep the body healthy, active and strong. A healthy diet supplies the body with carbohydrates for energy, protein for building muscle, fats to maintain brain and cell health, and vitamins and minerals. Unhealthy eating habits raise the risk for many health problems.
A healthy diet contains plenty of vegetables and fruits, which provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but are low in calories and fat. Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke. Whole grains are another important part of a good diet as they supply dietary fiber, which helps the digestive system stay healthy, and carbohydrates. Meats and dairy products are good sources of protein. Calcium is especially important for growing children, who need this mineral to build strong bones and teeth, and dairy products are a good source.
The best foods to eat are dense in nutrients. Candies, sodas and similar foods offer very little nutrition and provide mostly extra calories. When the body takes in more calories than it needs, it stores the extra as fat. Too much body fat raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Severely restricting food intake can cause headaches, dizziness, sleep problems and even death.