When we hear the word 'diet' often think that it means you have to eat less to loose weight, but your 'diet' is also the food we take in every day to keep us healthy and make us grow.
If you eat a healthy diet it means you will eat fruits, vegetables, diary products, wheat products and meat and you will get in all your nutrients and vitamins.
We need nutrients to keep us alive and there are 7 types of nutrients that is very important to our bodies - lets have a look at each of them and why it is important to our bodies.
- In order for us to do things like ride your bike and study, we need energy. Carbohydrates such as cereals and bread and pasta will give us the energy to get us through the day.
- If you get a cut on your finger, your body needs to repair it and you also need to grow. For that you need proteins like meat and eggs and diary products.
- We also need a little bit of fats and oils in our diet to give us energy and help protect us against cold. We will find this in foods like nuts and butter and sunflower or olive oil.
- Our bodies need vitamins but also minerals (not a lot) and you will find different types of minerals in milk (here you will get calcium) and liver (this has a lot of iron)
- Your body also need some help with moving the food through your stomach and intestine and you have to eat food that contains 'roughage' like vegetables and bran.
- Water is very important to the body. It helps all the organs work properly and helps keeping your body clean.
How big or small you are or if you a boy or a girl will determine how much energy you need. If you do a lot of sports or exercise, you will need more energy than a person who does no exercise.
The more energy your body burns, the more food you can eat, but if you eat too much food and your body does not use all the energy, you will gain weight.
It is important that you eat enough food to give you enough energy, but not too much. If you eat too little food, you will be underweight, which is also not healthy.
If you follow a healthy eating plan, you will be healthy and get in enough nutrients and minerals, but if you only eat one type of food, or not enough from all the food groups, you will have a 'deficiency'. That means your body is missing something and can not operate the way it is suppose to.
You can either have a mineral or a vitamin deficiency and it can cause things like having not enough red blood cells to carry the oxygen in your body, you can get bleeding gums or blindness or something called 'rickets' where the legs bend to the outside.
It is very important to eat healthy so that your body gets what it needs and you stay healthy. If you body lacks vitamin, you will easily get sick.
Nobody says you may NEVER eat some sweets or cake, but you cannot live from that alone. Most of us love to eat something sweet like chocolate or salty like crisps now and then, and that is fine. You must just not forget to eat healthy food as well like your fruits and vegetables to help you grow big and strong and healthy.
- Keep a 'food diary' for at least a week where you write down everything that you eat that you can make sure you eat enough and regular and from all the levels of the food pyramid.