Op/Editorials 12/17/10

Good nutrition aid growth for teens

By Kyra McGarr
Roar Writer

Good nutrition is important for everyone. It is even more important to growing teenagers. However, sometimes it’s hard to know what food is good for you and what food is bad for you. 

A good source for accurate information is the Food Guide Pyramid website: http://www.mypyramid.gov. The Food Guide Pyramid is a triangle filled with helpful information that tells you what foods are good for you and how much you should eat. The pyramid separates different types of food into different groups.  There are six different groups in the pyramid: grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk/dairy, meat/beans. On the side next to the pictures of the different groups are little captions that tell you the name of the group and how many servings you should eat every day.

According the pyramid, grains, fruit and vegetables should be eaten more than milk and meat. Oil should be eaten from least. Foods loaded with sugar should be eaten only in moderation. Foods that have tons of calories usually don’t have very many nutrients. Fast food and food loaded with fat are bad for you and should not be eaten often. Baked and boiled food is better for you than food that is fried. Sodium is very bad for you and can cause you to have high blood pressure. A lot of vitamins, calcium and fiber are needed in your everyday diet. Iron is also needed in teenage boys’ and girls’ everyday diet. Supplements are all right, but the best place to get your nutrients is your food.

During the holidays it can be very hard to eat healthy. It is always important to eat healthy every day. A tip to eating healthy is to explore all of your options first, finding the healthy foods. It’s also wise to eat smaller portions of unhealthy foods and larger portions of the healthier foods.

There are a lot of questions about nutrition; these are some of the popular questions and answers from MyPyramid.gov.

Question: How much should be eaten from each of the food groups?

Answer: There isn’t one single answer, but you can get a personalized answer using the MyPyramid Plan.

Question: How much fiber should I eat?

Answer: It is recommended that for every 1,000 calories 14 grams should be consumed.

Question: Is corn a grain or a vegetable?

Answer: Fresh cooked corn is a vegetable, but if it is dried and made in to something like a tortilla it is a grain.

Question: what about people who can’t drink milk?

Answer: There are other foods and drinks that have the same nutrients; for example, fortified orange juice has calcium in it. There are also enzyme preparations that can be added to milk to lower the lactose content.

Question: Tomatoes are not fruits. Why are they included in the vegetable group?

Answer: Tomatoes are fruits botanically. However, tomatoes are commonly eaten as vegetables–salads, sandwiches, sauces–so they were included in the vegetable group.

Question: What is a whole grain?

Answer: Whole grains consist of the entire grain seed, usually called the kernel. Published scientific evidence and medical research show that whole grains give health benefits beyond dietary fiber alone. You should seek out breads with whole grains, rather than processed grains. They help your body process food.

If you would like more information you can go towww.mypyramid.gov.


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