Eat healthy, stay healthy: Newspapers in education, week five
This article has been specially written for thousands of pupils from across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project themed on Food and Drink. During the six week project we will focus on celebrating food and drink produced in Northern Ireland, look at specific products, popular recipes, healthy eating and drinking and how food plays a big part in fictional children’s stories.
It is very important for everyone to eat healthy food.
For children, eating the right food can provide energy and help their muscles and bones become stronger.
Of course boys and girls like to eat treats like chocolate, crisps and sweets but it is best to do so in moderation.
It is important for children to have a balanced diet which delivers the vitamins, minerals and nutrients required to help the body grow.
That means eating things like bread, pasta and rice, which are called carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, protein foods such as meat, chicken and fish and dairy products which include milk, yoghurt and cheese.
Last week we told how milk was a great source of calcium, which is a mineral needed to build healthy bones and teeth.
Protein foods are also vital for healthy bones plus growth and development of the brain.
Eating food with vitamins and minerals not only helps the body grow and develop, it boosts the immune system to keep you healthy.
The food children eat when they are young can be a major factor in what they decide to eat when they are adults, so it is a good idea to make the correct choices early on in life.
There are some things that you eat that are called Superfoods.
They are high in vitamins and high in minerals, which means they are extremely good for you and can help develop children's minds and bodies.
Typically they are low in saturated fat, not highly processed and won't contain a lot of food additives.
Examples of Superfoods include salmon, broccoli, blueberries and oats.
School: Bunscoil Cholmcille, Derry/Londonderry
Favourite dinner to eat and why: Chicken and chips
Favourite food to make and why: Chips
Favourite sandwich filling: Ham
Favourite lunchbox treat: Crisps
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A: This can be good for growth and development, bones, healthy skin, eyes and your immune system.
It is in food like cheese, eggs and carrots plus milk.
Vitamin B: There are various B vitamins like B2, B3, B6, and B12 and they help with energy, circulation and the nervous systems.
Foods like meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese and beans have vitamin B.
Vitamin C: This aids healthy muscles and your skin and is found in citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes and vegetables like broccoli.
Vitamin D: This is good for bones and the formation of teeth.
It also helps your body absorb calcium and comes from milk and fish like salmon and mackerel.
Calcium: It helps build strong bones as children grow. Sources include milk, cheese, yoghurt.
Iron: This builds your muscles and is required for healthy red blood cells. You can get it in beef and other red meats, turkey, pork, spinach and beans.
Sugar is sweet but it is crucial that you do not eat too much of it on a daily basis.
Sugar is not just something that adults may put in their tea or coffee, it is in a lot of the treats that you will eat or drink such as chocolate bars, cakes, puddings, soft drinks and breakfast cereals.
Eating sugary foods may make you feel full and give you energy for a short while, but eating other foods with more protein, vitamins and minerals will make you more energetic for longer periods and be better for you.
Eating too much sugar can cause tooth decay. Always remember to brush your teeth with toothpaste in the morning before you go to school and at night before you go to bed.
And one final thing, you are sweet enough without taking loads and loads of sugary foods.