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Nutrition Notes

Nutrition Tidbit - Vitamin C

What vitamin do you associate with oranges and other citrus fruits? Vitamin C is correct! Citrus fruits are rich in this vitamin, but did you know that strawberries, mangoes, red peppers, and tomatoes are also sources of vitamin C? Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and also keeps your gums healthy.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables

Nutrition Tidbit - Fiber

Cooked, dry beans and peas are good sources of dietary fiber and protein, and are low in fat and cholesterol-free. In addition, they provide magnesium, iron, zinc, and folate. Americans often don't get enough of these nutrients.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables

Nutrition Tidbit - Vitamin A

You've heard that "carrots are good for your eyesight." That's because carrots contain nutrient substances that form vitamin A-a vitamin that helps keep your eyes healthy. Broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are also sources of these nutrients-so are tomatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe. In addition to your eyes, vitamin A is good for your skin and also helps protect you against infections.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables

Dietary fiber… for your health

What exactly is dietary fiber? It is the part of plants that the human digestive tract cannot break down. As a result, dietary fiber keeps waste moving through our intestines to keep us healthy. Most of us don't eat enough dietary fiber, and health experts suggest we eat more. Dry beans and peas are the best sources of fiber. There are a wide variety of these tasty foods in different sizes, shapes, flavors, and colors. In addition to dry beans and peas, whole fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods are good sources of fiber. Be "fiber smart" -- serve beans and peas, whole fruits and vegetables, and whole grains more often.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables


Sugar is another name for simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates supply calories, but do not contain vitamins, minerals or fiber. They are not always easy to spot when reading labels. This is because sugar has many different names. Once you learn recognize different names for sugars, you may be surprised at what foods have sugar in them! Ingredients on food labels are listed in the order of weight (the ingredient weighing the most is listed first). Even if sugar is not listed as the first ingredient on a food label, when the weights of several different forms of sugar in a product are added together, the total amount of sugar may be the primary ingredient. Excessive sugar in the diet can take the place of more nutritious foods that young children need to grow and develop healthfully. Learning to identify sugar sources can help you to reduce the amount of sugar in the foods you serve.

All of the following words on a label mean SUGAR:

Brown Sugar
Corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup
Dextrose (glucose)
Fruit juice concentrate
Invert sugar
Natural Sweeteners
Raw sugar

Adapted from Ohio Department of Education Fun Nutrition Activities

Milk and Vitamin D

Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D and calcium, key nutrients that are essential for building healthy bones and strong teeth during the preschool years. Because their bodies are growing rapidly, it is especially important that young children get enough vitamin D during the preschool years. Vitamin D is available through exposure of the skin to sunlight and in some foods. The increased use of sunscreens to protect children from too much sun and the number of "gray" months in the northwest makes sunlight an unreliable source of vitamin D for Oregon children.

Milk is the main food source of vitamin D for young children. Vitamin D is added to all pasteurized fluid milk sold in retail grocery stores in Oregon, both cows milk and goat milk. This includes 2%, 1%, lowfat, reduced fat, skim and whole milk. One cup of vitamin D-fortified fluid milk provides about ¼ the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for young children. Egg yolks, liver, some fish and some margarines contain vitamin D, but in smaller amounts than needed to meet the vitamin D requirements of rapidly growing bodies. Milk products, such as cheese and yogurt, are excellent sources of calcium, but they do not usually contain Vitamin D.

Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs

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