Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism for life. Basically, food is of animal, plant or fungi origin and is made up of necessary nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. There is much variation in the types of food an individual can consume depending on their needs, but all have one thing in common: they provide the body with the energy it needs to function. Humans are able to eat a wide variety of food, which is primarily categorized into three groups: food groups.
Fruits and vegetables are perhaps the most important food groups, containing several hundred varieties, from citrus fruits and grapefruit to beans, lentils, potatoes and nuts. Milk, cheese and yoghurt round out the range of foods that make up this main food group. The variety can be further divided into food groups according to their nutritional value according to the NIDDK.
Fats are an essential part of an everyday diet and are responsible for providing the body with essential fatty acids and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Fats are necessary for the manufacture of cellular membranes, as well as certain hormones and enzymes, so it’s important to be aware of the amount of fat you’re consuming. In addition, some types of fat are actually better for you than others, so see food labels and pick a fats-free variety if possible. Oils and fats are included in oils and fats are another major component of a healthy diet, and these are the basic sources of nutrition for vegetarians (though a small number of vegetarians are also known to enjoy raw fish – yuck! ).
Legumes are another food group, a great source of fiber and protein. They are high in vitamins and minerals and may even lower cholesterol (depending on how the bean is processed – most beans are organically processed, removing any trace of gluten that may have been present at the processing stage). However, the type of fiber in legumes can vary depending on where they’re grown and what type of soil they grow in. Some legumes, like the kidney bean, have a large amount of soluble fiber, while other, like alfalfa or cowpeas, have a good amount of complex, unsoluble fiber.
Finally, fruits are a solid food source with a wide range of nutritious food groups. You should aim to include fruit in your regular diet, but try and limit the unhealthy varieties to little more than two servings a day. Eating fruits that are mixed in with other food (such as a fruit salad) is an easy way to include fruit into your diet without getting too hungry throughout the day. Eating fruit regularly can improve your food security and help you achieve a healthy weight.
As you can see, a nutrition template message isn’t just about eating right. It’s also about including all the food groups you need and want. By combining the different food groups you can create balanced and healthy meals that you can eat every day. Your goal is to gradually introduce healthy eating habits and see food security has become a major part of your life.