Food is an essential part of everyone’s lives. It gives us the energy and nutrients to
grow and develop, be healthy and active, to move, work, play, think and learn.
The body needs a variety of the following 5 nutrients – protein, carbohydrate, fat,
vitamins and minerals – from the food we eat to stay healthy and productive.
Protein – is needed to build, maintain and repair muscle, blood, skin, and bones and
other tissues and organs in the body.
Foods rich in protein include meat, eggs, dairy, and fish.
Carbohydrate – provides the body with its main source of energy.
Carbohydrates can be classified into two kinds; starches and sugars. Food rich in
starches include rice, maize, wheat and potatoes and food rich in sugars include fruit,
honey, sweets and chocolate bars.
Fat – This is the body’s secondary source of energy. Fat actually provides more
energy/calories per gram than any other nutrient, but is more difficult to burn.
Food rich in fats are oils, butter, lard, milk, cheese, and some meat.
Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamins and minerals are needed in very small amounts
and are sometimes called micronutrients, but are essential for good health. They
control many functions and processes in the body, and in the case of minerals also
help build body tissue such as bones (calcium) and blood (iron). To learn more about
specific vitamins and minerals see the Vitamins and Minerals information sheet
In addition to the above nutrients, Fibre and Water are also essential for a good healthy diet.
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