By Katie Hurwitz, Abby McLaughlin, and Katie Soule
In today’s world, food is a major part of everybody’s daily lives. People chose their food based on its popularity, taste, appeal, and easiness to prepare. Most of the time, junk food is the easy way to fit all of these categories. However, although it may be difficult, the extra effort to eat healthy will result in better habits.
Starting a nutritious routine at a younger age is the cornerstone for a healthy lifespan. What one does at a younger age carries on into teen and adult years. Healthy eating works to prevent certain cancers, chronic diseases, and heart problems.
Most students disregard eating healthy as something they should not be concerned about. Often, they do not adhere to the nutritional guidelines they should be following.
“I don’t think most people our age are concerned about what they eat. They don’t really know how important it is,” said MJ Timilty, a 7th grade student at Johnson Middle School.
Healthy eating is especially vital to middle schoolers as their bodies are constantly changing. “Students are growing rapidly inside and out. They need to fuel their bodies with healthy foods in order to get the nutrients they need to grow,” said Lucia Olsen, health teacher at Bird Middle School.
There are benefits of packing a healthy lunch to bring school. A student who brings food from home may expose him or herself to hundreds of healthy options, instead of being limited to what the school serves. Bringing a lunch from home ensures that the student knows exactly what is in his or her meal.
Sugar in its natural form rather than processed can be just as appetizing as junk food. Fruits like strawberries, clementines, and watermelon are great alternatives to junk food. Citrus fruits are great as they are both tasty and high in vitamin C to boost the immune system.
Most students say they do not like vegetables. However, when prepared just right, vegetables such as summer squash and broccoli will surprise students. Sauteing vegetables can bring out their flavor. Baked kale chips are a popular snack choice as well, and they are a great way for kids to get their daily nutrients.
Protein includes both meat and nuts. Steak and pot roast are a great source of protein through meats. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios can be easily eaten for a snack, yet provide many health benefits.
Breakfast, often the most underrated meal of the day, is crucial for maintaining the energy kids need to make it through the day.
“A healthy, sustaining breakfast should include a protein, such as an egg, a fruit, and a carbohydrate, such as toast. However, having at least something is better than nothing,” said Olsen.
“I remember learning about nutrition labels and the perfect plate model in 6th grade,” said Timilty, “it really taught me to be more conscious about what I eat and what’s healthy and unhealthy.”
Fruit, Yogurt, and Granola Parfait
Total time: Five minutes
Ingredients: Fruit of choice, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or pineapples, Yogurt, such as Stonyfield organic french vanilla yogurt, Granola
Put half of the yogurt into a container of choice, and add granola on top. Then, add fruit(s) of choice. Place the rest of the yogurt over the fruit, and sprinkle more granola over that. Finish it off with the rest of the fruit.
Total time: Ten minutes
Red = tomatoes or peppers
Orange = carrots
Yellow = corn
Green = lettuce or kale
Purple = cabbage
Dice tomatoes or peppers and carrots. Break up the lettuce, kale, and cabbage. Place tomatoes or peppers in a mason jar, and continue to add the other vegetables in rainbow order until reaching the top.