A Young Person's Guide to Good Food!

Guide E-112

Revised by Martha Archuleta, Extension Food & Nutrition Specialist

College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF)

This publication is scheduled to be updated and reissued 8/03

Nutritious food and physical activity can help you:
  • Feel good.
  • Enjoy friends and family.
  • Have pep and energy for sports and activities.
  • Develop strength and endurance.
  • Show interest and enthusiasm.
  • Assure lifelong health.

The foods you eat now will affect your health as an adult. Begin eating well today for your good health tomorrow!

Let's Eat Breakfast Every Morning

In too much of a hurry? It really doesn't take long to have some orange juice, a bowl of cereal, and a glass of milk. Want an egg and toast? OK, that only takes a little more time. You can make your own, having the toast just the right shade of brown and the egg to meet your own exacting standard.

You've Got It Made With a Good Hot Lunch At School

Maybe it won't feature your favorites every day, but remember, the Food Guide Pyramid guides the school lunch selection every day. For variety make a brown bag lunch. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit, a couple of cookies, and a thermos of cold juice or milk provide a nice change. Make ice cubes of milk or juice to keep your beverage really cold.

Snacks Can Be as Nutritious as Meals

Before you buy that next snack, stop and think what you are going to get out of it-some snacks will give you a lot more nutrition for your money than others. Peanuts and popcorn cost about the same as a candy bar. Apples, oranges, and bananas are full of vitamins and minerals. Cheese sandwiches and pizza have lots of protein. Yogurt and milk drinks furnish a lot of calcium.

Dinner With the Family?

How else will you be able to keep up with what they're doing, much less thinking? And that's a good time to tell what's been happening to you. Be sure to eat some of everything. Help with the meal by setting the table, making a simple dish, and even planning menus and shopping for groceries.

Choosing Good Food

The Food Guide Pyramid will help you make decisions about the foods you need to grow up healthy. To achieve your greatest potential, choose more foods from the groups at the base of the Pyramid and fewer from the groups at the top. Select a variety of foods from the Pyramid each day. The five foods groups include:

BREADS and CEREALS ... Make this group the foundation for your daily food choices. Choose 6-11 servings each day. A serving includes 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, or 1 ounce of ready to eat cereal.

VEGETABLES ... Choose 3-5 servings from this group. A serving is 1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables, or one cup of leafy raw vegetables.

FRUITS ... Choose 2-4 servings of fruit each day. A serving is one piece of fruit or melon wedge, 3/4 cup of juice, 1/2 cup of canned fruit, or 1/4 cup of dried fruit.

MILK, YOGURT & CHEESE GROUP ... Choose 2-3 servings from this group. A serving is 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS & NUTS GROUP ... Choose 2-3 servings each day. A serving is 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish. One-half cup of cooked beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as a 1 ounce serving of lean meat.

FATS & SWEETS ... LIMIT calories from this group. Drinking lowfat or skim milk instead of whole milk and choosing lean meats will help reduce your fat intake.

Food Guide Pyramid

A Guide to Daily Food Choices Key

These symbols show fats and added sugars in foods.
Fat (naturally occurring and added)
Sugars (added)
Food Guide Pyramind

Fats, Oils, & Sweets
use sparingly
Milk, Yogurt,
& Cheese
Meat, Poultry, Fish,
Dry Beans, Eggs,
& Nuts Group
Bread, Cereal,
Rice, & Pasta

Foods give us energy. If you are very active, choose the higher number servings from each group. Foods also contain nutrients, which help your body do its work. Here are some common nutrients, what they do for your body, and the foods that provide them. Select your foods from those listed here.

Nutrient What It Does Where To Find It

Builds and repairs body tissues; helps form antibodies to fight infections; supplies energy; essential to life. Meat, lowfat or skim milk, eggs, cheese, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, peanut butter, cereals.

Helps build solid bones and teeth; helps blood to clot; helps muscles and nerves react normally; helps the body use energy. Lowfat or skim milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, dark green leafy vegetables.

Works with protein to make hemoglobin (the substance in blood that carries oxygen to all body cells); helps develop energy. Liver, egg yolk, red meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, enriched breads and cereals.

Helps keep nervous system healthy; promotes normal appetite and digestion; helps release energy from carbohydrates. Pork, other meats, enriched breads and cereals, milk, white and sweet potatoes, dry peas and beans.

Essential for healthy skin, proper function of the digestive tract and maintenance of the nervous system. Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, beans, and enriched breads and cereals.

Helps cells use oxygen; keeps vision clear; helps keep skin smooth; helps release energy from food. Milk, liver, all kinds of cheese, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin A
Helps keep skin smooth and soft; helps keep mucous membranes healthy and resistant to infections; helps prevent night blindness; controls bone growth. Liver, orange and yellow vegetables and fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, cheese, eggs, butter, whole milk.

Vitamin C
Helps to cement all cells together and strengthen walls of blood vessels; helps resist infections and prevent fatigue; helps heal wounds and broken bones. Oranges, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, green peppers, raw cabbage, broccoli, white potatoes.

Originally written by Mae Martha Johnson and revised by Jane Hendley, Ph.D., CHE Extension Food & Nutrition Specialist/EFNEP Coordinator

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

Revised August 1998, Las Cruces, NM
Electronic Distribution September 1998