Nutrition Habits for Healthy Teeth
As we grow, it’s important to eat the right foods to stay healthy. Food is what gives our bodies the energy and nutrients to run, play, and think. Exercise is essential to overall health, but the foundation for a bright future starts with what you eat. When deciding on a meal, it can help to think about the nutrients that your body needs. For example, carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyesight, but they’re also crunchy, which helps your teeth. Read on to learn more about what food can do for you!
Overall Nutrition Tips for Kids
Different types of food affect your body in different ways, and your body needs a good mix of these types in order to work properly. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, which keep your body strong. Starchy foods, like bread and pasta, provide your body with energy. Proteins, like meat, fish, and eggs, are important to repair and build bones and muscles. Try to eat some of these different types of food for every meal.
- Kevin’s Build-a-Meal Game
- Blast Off to Nutrition Game
- Eat Healthy Foods (PDF)
- Arthur’s Nutrition Tips
- Nutrition Facts: Read the Label! (PDF)
What to Eat
Vegetables get a bad reputation, but they can actually be really tasty, and they have a lot of vitamins. If you only like a few types of vegetables, don’t worry. Fruits have many of the same health benefits. When you combine fruits and vegetables with proteins and starches, you can create cool, flavorful dishes with interesting tastes and textures. For example, pairing sliced bananas with a bowl of cereal can help make the cereal tastier while sneaking in a serving of fruit at the same time.
- How to Build a Healthy Sandwich
- Go, Slow, and Whoa!: A Kid’s Guide to Eating Right
- Healthy Eating Plate for Kids
- Are You Eating Right?: Quiz Booklet (PDF)
What to Drink
Many kids like to drink soda. This treat can be fun and fizzy, but it’s not a very healthy option. Soda contains a lot of processed sugar and little to no nutritional benefits. Instead, drink water or milk.
Water makes up a big part of our body weight, and we need a lot of it to function. Drinking water helps replace the liquid that’s naturally lost in sweat or saliva, keeping your body hydrated. If you miss the flavor of soda, you can add some freshly squeezed fruit juice to water. That way, you can still enjoy a fruity, sweet drink while making a smart decision for your health at the same time.
- Healthy Kids: Choose Water as a Drink
- Water and Why You Need It
- TIME for Kids: Drink Up!
- Hey Kids, What’s That You’re Drinking? (PDF)
Good Foods for Dental Health
Your grown-up teeth are the only set you have, so it’s important to make sure that they’re clean. Sugar can cause cavities, which hurt and rot your teeth and make it harder to maintain good dental health as you get older. A cookie here or there is okay, but it shouldn’t appear at every snack time. Instead, try munching on some crisp, crunchy carrot sticks or apple slices. These snacks are fun to chew, and they help clean and strengthen your teeth while you’re eating.
- MouthHealthy Kids: Nutrition
- Healthy Picnic Printable Puzzle (PDF)
- Snacks and Dental Health Hints for Parents & Kids (PDF)
- Looking After My Teeth
- Healthy Snacks Quiz
Types of Foods to Avoid
Foods with a lot of sugar are bad for your teeth and body, but they can be hard to spot, especially when it comes to junk food. Junk food is the name used to describe food that doesn’t have a lot of nutrients. Junk food can include a lot of foods that taste good, like soda, potato chips, or French fries. Desserts are awfully tasty, but they’re also a type of junk food since the main ingredient used to make them is sugar.
Sugar isn’t good for your teeth, and too much of it can make your internal organs work harder to process it. It’s okay to have a piece of cake at a birthday party, but eating two or three slices of cake isn’t good for your body. Eating a smaller serving of dessert will let you enjoy the sweet without putting too much stress on your body. You can even make your own healthy desserts at home. Fruits have natural sugars, so they still taste sweet, but they also have nutrients and vitamins, which makes them a great ingredient to use. Being smart about the food you eat will keep your body healthy and happy for many years to come!