Why is Healthy Eating Important?

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why is healthy eating important?

Abigail
Ohio

Dear Abigail:

You have probably heard the saying “You are what you eat!” Well, it’s true. If you eat healthy foods, chances are that you will be healthy, too. Your body needs healthy foods to grow strong, to help you learn, to be active, and to keep a healthy weight. Plus, how you eat now helps shape the grownup you will become. Eating lots of different kinds of foods gives your body what it needs. Think of the rainbow of colors found in fruits and vegetables. Each color stands for special nutrients. If you only eat apples and oranges, you will not get the nutrients found in bananas and grapes. So, eat a rainbow of colors each day!

Nutrients: important vitamins, minerals, and natural chemicals found in foods. Nutrients help the body work well and keep you healthy.

You Can Eat a Rainbow!

Kids ages 5–7 need 2–3 servings of fruits and 3–4 servings of vegetables each day. To eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, you and your family can:

• Keep radishes, carrots, and celery sticks in a bowl of water in your refrigerator.

• Snack on berries or slices of fruit dipped in low-fat vanilla yogurt.

• Eat a fruit and/or vegetable with each meal.

• Make a fruit smoothie by blending frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk.

• Go to the grocery store together and pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try.

• Visit a farmers’ market and choose fresh corn or vegetables for a salad.

• Start your own vegetable garden—it is fun to eat what you grow!

To learn more about healthy eating, check out MyPyramid for Kids at mypyramid.gov/kids.

If you have a children's health question, Dr. Cory would like to hear from you.

Disclaimer: The Ask Dr. Cory health information is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your family doctor when you have medical questions or concerns about you or your family's health. If this is an emergency, call 911, or contact emergency services in your area.