Vitamins and minerals are found in many different foods including vegetables, nuts, whole grains, dairy, meat, and poultry. Many vitamins, like vitamin C, cannot be made by the body, or are made in amounts so small that we must get them through the food we eat. Vitamins help us turn the foods we eat into energy so we can be active, grow, and maintain our body tissues like our bones and muscles.
Minerals, like calcium and phosphorus, are also not made by the body and have to be provided through the food that we eat. Minerals help our body tissues, like our bones and muscles, grow and remain strong throughout our life. In addition to this, vitamins and minerals help protect us against getting sick, help give us good eyesight, and maintain overall body function.
Since vitamins and minerals are not made by our bodies, it is very important that we get them through the foods we eat. If we do not get enough through our diet, we can become sick, which is called a “deficiency.” Because vitamins and minerals are found in so many different types of foods, the best way to make sure we are meeting our needs is to eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, dairy, meat, and poultry. Many vitamins and minerals are also added to breakfast cereals and baked goods to make sure we receive enough of them.Handy Tip:
Long storage and cooking times can decrease the amount of vitamins and minerals found in your fresh fruits and vegetables. To get the most vitamins and minerals out of your fruits and vegetables, keep them cool in the refrigerator until eaten and minimize cooking time by lightly steaming, microwaving, stir-frying, or sautéing.
When a menu item has the Vitamin and Mineral icon, it means that the item provides 20% or more of the Daily Value for at least one vitamin or mineral.
Parents, have your kids play this game
to boost their knowledge about vitamins and minerals!
Use this nutrient tool
to learn more about vitamins and minerals and learn the recommended amounts for each age group. Recipes
Parents: Try the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook
with 54 recipes created by junior-chefs across America for a fun way to incorporate more food sources of vitamins and minerals into your diet with your child!