How much attention do you pay to what you put ON your body? Probably a lot, right? After all, wearing clothes we like helps us look and feel good.
Now, how much attention do you pay to what you put IN your body-in other words, FOOD? As we get older, we start to think about this stuff more and more. Maybe you've started making more of your own eating choices or even preparing your own meals. Maybe you've just become extra-aware of how food affects you inside and out. You're not alone!
Brian, 11, told us: "I just wish I would eat healthier. I'm not exactly on the skinny side." Jessica, 12, says, "If I could eat better, I would choose to eat less junky stuff and eat more healthy foods. I would also treat myself to candy only once a week."
Melissa, 11, writes that she would like to change how much she eats for dinner. "I always eat like 2 or 3 servings of dinner," she says. Allie, 11, wants more variety: "I would make myself like more foods."
The truth is, food adds yumminess to our lives, and it's no fun to deny ourselves something we want to eat. On the other hand, eating lots of junk food and sweets can make us feel a little gross, and maybe guilty that we're not being good to our bodies. Somewhere, there's a middle road, but it's hard to find it through all the rumors, personal opinions, and fad diets out there. IML is here to give you the facts you need to be Food Smart, along with advice on gaining good eating habits that actually work in the real world-and will hopefully stay with you for the rest of your life.
Remember: This is not a guide to losing weight! If you feel you are overweight, talk to a parent, doctor, or school nurse about (a) whether you really do need to shed some pounds and (b) finding a safe, sound way to do it.
First, let's look at the basics: The Food Pyramid
Our thanks to Mary McKenna, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for her contribution to this topic.