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Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

What's That Food?

Food gives your body the fuel and raw materials it needs each day. Just like a car needs gasoline, your body needs energy to move, think and grow. The usable energy you get from food is measured in calories. The more calories a food has, the more energy it can supply. The amount of calories a person needs depends on his or her activities. The body stores extra calories as fat.

However, food provides more than just energy. It supplies the building materials, such as proteins and minerals (like calcium), for muscles, bones and other body parts. Food also has small amounts of other minerals and vitamins that help make energy available for muscles and the brain, and make other body functions possible.

No matter what your age or lifestyle, eating the right foods can contribute to good health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that people select a diet that includes a variety of foods in the proportions indicated on the student page. In addition, it is important to balance the food you eat with physical activity; consume plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits; choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol; and moderate your intake of sugars and salt.

This activity can be used as a pre-assessment of students’ knowledge about nutrition and food needs.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education