Nutrition and Fitness
Good nutrition leads to great academic performance
Your body needs healthy fuel to perform, grow, and ward off illness and disease.
Good nutrition has a positive and direct impact on your ability to do well in school. When your nutritional needs are met, you have the cognitive energy to learn and achieve. You will be better prepared to learn, more likely to attend school, and are more apt to take advantage of learning opportunities.
Elements of a Healthy Meal
Always choose fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Milk and dairy products are especially important to bone health during school aged years, when bone mass is being built. It provides important sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D, and help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and help to lower blood pressure in adults.
Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Eating fruit provides health benefits — people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body.
Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Eating vegetables provides health benefits — people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body.
Make half of all the grains you eat whole grains
Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. Dietary fiber from whole grains, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including several B vitamins, magnesium and selenium.
Choose a variety of foods with lean protein
Protein is an indispensable nutrient and can be found throughout every tissue in our body. Protein is a vital source of energy but the most important function of protein is building and repairing tissue. We also need protein for our immune function, proteins transport vitamins and minerals throughout our body.
Tools for Healthy Living
What Are Nutrients?
Nutrients are substances found in food that are needed for good health. Your body can't make nutrients, so they must be supplied by food. During digestion, food is broken down into nutrients, which are absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to every cell in your body. More than 40 nutrients in food are classified into six groups: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Each nutrient has a specific function and they all work together for your good health.
Carbohydrates - are the body's main source of energy or calories. Carbohydrates are classified in two groups: complex carbohydrates (starches) and sugars. Fiber, which is another carbohydrate, aids digestion and helps fight some diseases but is not a nutrient because it is not digested and absorbed by the body.
Protein - supplies energy and amino acids. Amino acids are building blocks that build, repair, and maintain every cell in your body.
Fats - also supply energy but they have many other functions. Fats transport nutrients and they are a part of many body cells. Fats provide storage and insulation for your body. Carbohydrates and proteins that are not needed for energy are stored as fat.
Vitamins - trigger many different body processes. These compounds are needed in very small amounts in the diet to regulate chemical reactions in the body. Each vitamin has a specific job in your body, so one vitamin can't replace another. Vitamins do not provide energy but they help our bodies use the energy from foods.
Minerals - are like vitamins and are used in the body to promote chemical reactions and form body structures.
Water - is a part of every cell and tissue in the body. Water carries nutrients to cells and removes wastes products. Water is also needed to help regulate body temperature. Water makes up 55-75% of your body weight.
Reading Food Labels
In order to plan a healthy diet, we must know how to read a food label. Food labels show us if a food has a little or a lot of certain nutrients. Look on the side of a product to find the Nutrition Facts title.
You will find the serving size of the food below the nutrition facts title. Similar food products have similar serving sizes. The servings per container are also included to let you compare what you actually eat with the serving size of that product. So remember, if the serving size is 1 cup and you eat 2 cups, then you will need to double the numbers on the label.
% Daily values are listed to give you an idea of how one serving of a product contributes nutritionally to a 2000 calorie diet. Use the % daily values to see if a food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.
The amount of calories in one serving of the product is listed. Only a few nutrients are listed on the Nutrition Facts label-those that relate to today's most important health issues. The label lists total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium because people eat too much of these.
Fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron are listed because people do not eat enough of these every day. You should try to eat at least 100% of the daily value of each of these every day.
Fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron are required on the label. Other nutrients may be listed if the company would like to list them.
Teaching About Nutrition
Students must be healthy to learn but they also need to learn to be healthy.
We encourage and support health and nutrition education in the classroom. Teaching nutrition to students will help them to grow and learn to their fullest potential and we believe it is the key to promoting lifelong health and wellness. Nutrition Education establishes the basic skills for making healthy eating and lifestyle choices that will carry them into adulthood.
Our school’s breakfast and lunch programs help students to establish the healthy eating habits that they need to grow, learn and play. School lunches contain 1/3 of the recommended daily nutrient allowance and school meals include nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich low-fat milk.
Visit SuperKids Nutrition for lesson plans, resources, and nutrition-related classroom materials!
Healthy at Home
Starting a garden is a great way to make nutrition tangible. Food gardening allows you to see, touch, smell and taste "nutrition". A garden is also an excellent way to learn about the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. Gardens can help you gain a better understanding and appreciation for the environment.
Gardens produce results you that can see, touch and taste. Children are eager to try the "fruits" of their labor. There is nothing like the taste of fresh and flavorful vegetables you have grown yourself!
Eat Your Vegetables! Research in children's food preferences indicates that simple exposure to a food will enhance willingness to try it. Familiarity tends to increase the perception that food tastes good. Children also like to eat foods eaten by those they admire.
Parents find that children involved in gardening projects are more interested in nutrition and food labels. It is an excellent opportunity to help them understand the importance of eating different colored fruits and vegetables, and how they will help them to stay healthy.
Gardens come in different flavors. There are a lots of ways to start a garden and lots of different kinds of gardens you can start. There are raised bed gardens, greenhouse gardens, garden plots, and even container gardens. Container gardens can be as simple as a single pot, to planters, troughs, or wheel barrels. Plant some flowers too! You don't need much to start a garden!
Great for the family. Gardens are a great way to spend time with your kids and teach them about the importance of planning, preparation & caring for something that will reward them for a job well done.