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
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
insisted that dinner is our family time. No
television, no telephone. It keeps us close
as a family.”
Zachary and his mom are
making a low-fat version of his favorite—sweet
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.
- 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
- 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
Things You Can Do
Where to Find Help
Children and Food
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
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
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.