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Just-4-Kids

Just-4-Kids

Welcome to this new section of our site designed with kids in mind!

The food and physical activity choices you make every day affect your health and how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Eating right and being physically active are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. By practicing healthy habits, you may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers, and you can increase your chances for a longer life.

The sooner you start, the better for you, your family, and your future.

The starting point for a healthier you is to learn how to make smart food choices and to balance your food intake and physical activity.

You may be eating plenty of food, but perhaps not eating the right foods, the foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Also, you may not be getting enough physical activity to stay fit and burn those extra calories.

Are you ready to learn how to be healthy?

Great! Let's start!

Make smart choices from every food group

The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs, is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day.

MyPyramid divides food into five major food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat. Each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients and energy you need. No one food group is more important than another. For good health and proper growth, you need to eat a variety of different foods every day.

To learn more about the food pyramid we invite you to visit the USDA MyPyramid for Kids and  Nutrition Explorations, a cool site with games and puzzles from the National Dairy Council.

Foods to choose more often and less often

One way to assure a varied, healthy diet is to wisely choose foods every day as indicated by this chart:

Foods

Choose More Often

Choose Less Often

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Shellfish

Lean cuts of meat with fat trimmed; poultry without skin; fish and shellfish; lean luncheon meat (e.g., turkey)

Fatty cuts of meat; bacon and sausage; organ meats; fried chicken, fried fish and shellfish; high-fat luncheon meat (e.g. salami)

Eggs and Dairy Products

Egg whites; egg substitutes; skim or 1% milk; low-fat or nonfat cheeses; low-fat or nonfat yogurt

Egg yolks; whole milk or 2% milk; whole milk products (example: cheese, yogurt)

Fats and Oils

Margarine products (made from unsaturated oils, including reduced-fat or non-fat varieties); reduced-fat or non-fat salad dressings (including mayonnaise); liquid cooking oils; seeds and nuts

Tropical oils; butter; lard; bacon fat; shortening; full-fat salad dressings; coconut

Breads, Cereals, Pasta, Rice, Dry Peas, Beans and Soy Products

Whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta and rice; dry peas; beans; baked goods made with unsaturated oil or margarine

Egg breads; granola-type cereals; pasta, rice, dry peas or beans made with cream, butter or cheese sauce

Vegetables

Fresh, frozen, or canned prepared steamed or with lemon juice, broth or small amounts of unsaturated oils or margarine

Vegetables prepared with butter, cheese or cream sauce

Fruits

Fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit; fruit juice

Fried fruit or fruit served with butter or cream sauce

Sweet and Snacks
Keep in mind that while many of these products are low in fat, they still contain calories.

Candy such as gumdrops; low-fat or fat-free frozen desserts (yogurt, sherbet, fruit ices, ice cream), low-fat cookies/cakes; flavored gelatins; pretzels; baked snack chips; air-popped popcorn

Candy and baked goods made with butter, cream, or tropical oils; high-fat ice cream and frozen desserts; doughnuts; regular snack chips

Some other easy tips to eat healthy:

  • Go lean with protein.Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your protein choices: add more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

 

  • Focus on fruits.Eat a variety of fruits. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day (for example, 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1 /4 cup of dried apricots or peaches).

 

  • Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.

 

  • Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1 /2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as “whole ” in the list of ingredients.

 

  • Get your calcium-rich foods.Get 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk, or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1.5  ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk) every day. For kids aged 2 to 8, it’s 2 cups of milk. If you don’t like or can’t drink milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.

 

  • Know the limits on fats, salt, and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners).

Now that you know how to eat healthy, you can download the Nutrition Tracker from the Nutrition Explorations Website, to track your intake and see how your diet stacks up to MyPyramid.

You can list everything you eat and drink during the day and then compare what you eat to what you need from each food group every day.

Share your Nutrition Tracker results with your parents so they can help you improve your score. 

Balance your food and physical activity

Becoming a healthier you isn’t just about eating healthy, it’s also about physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness. It also helps you control body weight by balancing the calories you take in as food, with the calories you expend each day.

Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Increasing the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active can have even greater health benefits and may be needed to control body weight. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain. 

Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes every day, or most every day.

The following are general guidelines for getting physical activity:

  • Frequency: Get active at least five times a week.
  • Intensity: Get your body revved up and your heart pumping.
  • Time: Spend at least 60 minutes doing a variety of activities.
  • Type: Do a variety of activities that work your body and fit your style.

AND, have some fun while you're at it!

Some ideas for being active while you are alone or with friends are these:

  • Play hopscotch.
  • See how long you can hop on one foot.
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Invent some dance moves.
  • Do sprints (short running races) and time yourself to see how fast you go.
  • Use a pedometer to count the number of steps between your favorite places.
  • Have a handstand contest.
  • Invent dances to your favorite songs.
  • Jump rope.
  • Ride your bike and don't forget your helmet!
  • Practice pitching and hitting a baseball.
  • Take a nature walk on a shady trail.
  • Wash your dog outside.
  • Wash your parents' or neighbors' car.

 
If you feel that you are over or underweight please talk with your parents about the best way to help you achieve a better body weight

Cool Links

Download the poster Move it and choose your fun!

Create your own calendar of physical activity with the help of the CDC’s Fit 4 Lifeprogram.

Milk Matters- Games and activities to help you to learn more about calcium, and why it’s important for strong bones and healthy teeth.

Powerful girls have powerful bones.Girl must learn the importance to have strong bones.

Healthy Hopping- Fun ways to be more active through jumping rope.

BAM Body and Mindwebsite for kids designed by the CDC. Very cool!

National Institute of Environmental Health Science Kids' Page

Department of Health and Human Services Website for Kids

Farmers Market Coloring Book- PDF File

Five a Day: Fruits and Vegetables- PDF File. A coloring book with information on fruits and vegetables.

Kids Can Cook- and learning Is the secret ingredient! - PDF File

Sources:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.

Team Nutrition, initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.

 

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