Eating Well

Eating well means eating small portions of many different healthy foods every day. A good diet gives you energy and helps you feel good. It also helps prevent serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and cancer.

It is often hard for families to find time to eat together. Many have given up the family dinner because they are busy with work, school and other activities. But recent studies show that children who eat dinner regularly with their families tend to be happier and more successful in school.

Eating Well
“We’ve always insisted that dinner is our family time. No television, no telephone. It keeps us close as a family.”


Choosing Healthy Foods
Zachary and his mom are making a low-fat version of his favorite—sweet potato casserole.

Choosing Healthy Foods for Your Family

  • Fruits and vegetables in any form—fresh, frozen, canned or juiced—help prevent cancer and heart disease. Try to eat at least 5 servings a day. Steam or stir-fry vegetables to keep in vitamins. Visit www.5aday.org.
  • Grains and grain products like rice, bread, cereal, tortillas and pasta should make up about a third of what you eat each day. Whole grains, like oatmeal and brown rice, can lower the risk of cancer.
  • Water and fruit or vegetable juices are better than sodas, coffee and alcohol.
  • Liquid vegetable oils like olive and canola are healthier than margarine, lard or butter. But limit their use.
  • Use low-fat meats, fish or skinned chicken or turkey to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Broil or bake instead of frying.
  • Learn how to read the Nutrition Facts labels on packaging. They tell about the fat, fiber, protein, sugar and salt in foods. Call a nutritionist at your county Health Department. Visit www.nutrition.gov or www.heart.org.

Things You Can Do

Where to Find Help

Learn More

Children and Food

  • Eating Well

    Help your children learn to shop for and prepare healthy meals.

    Children’s appetites vary. One child may eat a lot more than another. And your child may eat a lot one day and less the next. Studies show that children usually eat what they need as long as they are offered healthy choices.
    Make mealtime relaxed and enjoyable. Encourage your child to eat but don’t force her. Try not to use food as a punishment or reward.

Getting Enough Calcium

  • Getting Enough Calcium
    Calcium helps children’s bones and teeth grow and keeps bones strong throughout life. Give your child plenty of foods rich in calcium, such as milk products, beans, tofu, broccoli, dark-green leafy vegetables and calcium-enriched orange juice.
 
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