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Healthy Meals and Nutritious Snacks for Kids and Teens

When you're hungry, you might be tempted to reach for chips or candy, but before you do, you should know that food isn't just tasty: It's fuel for our bodies. Our bodies need the right kind of fuel to work their best, including different types of nutrients that come from lots of different foods. Eating the right stuff helps us grow and have all of the energy we need to do all of the things we like to do. A diet that's rich in healthy foods with lots of nutrients can help our bodies build strong bones and muscles and keep our minds sharp. Eating right can even boost your immune system, meaning that you won't get sick as much or stay sick as long when you do.

To work well, our bodies need protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Protein is like the building blocks for our muscles and helps our bodies repair themselves. You can get protein by eating things like chicken, eggs, and beans. Carbohydrates are the body's energy source. Healthy carbohydrates include whole-grain bread and pasta, fruit, and vegetables. Fat is something you've probably heard people talking about as if it's bad, and it is, if you get too much of it or too much of the wrong kinds of fats. But your body does need some fat, which it uses to protect your organs and help you absorb some vitamins from food. You can get healthy fat from avocados and nuts.

You also need to make sure that your body gets lots of different vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. The best place to get most vitamins and minerals is in colorful fruits and vegetables. You may have heard people say that you should "eat the rainbow," and this is why. Trying to eat all of the different colors of fruits and vegetables will help you to get a good variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet, from the potassium in tomatoes to the vitamin K in blackberries.

To keep your body healthy, it's important to eat a balanced diet. That means that you need to eat all of the different types of foods all day. For example, you might make a healthy breakfast by eating scrambled eggs, whole-wheat toast with avocado slices on it, a cup of yogurt, and some berries. Lunch could be a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of carrot sticks and an apple. And dinner might be spaghetti and meatballs with a salad and a glass of milk. Snacks should be healthy, too. Instead of reaching for the chips and candy, have some crackers and cheese, or celery sticks with hummus, or yogurt with berries.

Healthy eating should also include healthy drinking. That means drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. Skip the soda, which isn't good for you; it's just sugar and chemicals. And be careful not to drink too much juice; it's a lot healthier to eat the whole fruit than it is to just drink the juice, which is mostly sugar.

Healthy Meals

Nutritious Snacks

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