What is Food And Nutrition?


Food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel, providing energy for our bodies.Water is an important component of nutrition. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are all required. Maintaining key vitamins and minerals are also important to maintaining good health.There are different groups of foods.Each group performs specific functions in the body. Some supply the body with energy, while others helps the body to develop and grow. Others even help to protect our body against disease and illnesses.

Foods that we eat contain proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins, water and minerals. You must eat a combination of foods which contain each of the items listed above. Eating foods which contain these items in the right proportion gives you what is called a balance diet. Eating of a balanced diet assures good health.

In this article, the following topics will be discussed:

  • Food groups and their functions;
  • Snacks and fruit drinks

Food groups and their functions

Learning objective

At the end of this module, pupils should be able to:

  1. Mention the kinds of foods that we eat;
  2. Mention and know the different food groups and their functions;
  3. Explain the meaning of food nutrients;
  4. Mention the sources of food nutrients and state their functions

 Different types of foods

Image result for food nutrition

The food we eat are obtained from two main sources, which are (i) plants and (ii) animals

There are however different types of food. These are listed below:

  1. Grains: corn, rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, acha, cous cous.
  2. Tubers: yam, cassava, irish potato, cocoyam, sweet potato, water yam
  3. Pulses: cowpea (beans), soya beans, peas, lima beans.
  4. Nuts: groundnut, cashew nut, almond nut.
  5. Diary products: milk, yoghurt, butter, cheese, ice cream
  6. Eggs: egg (chicken eggs or guinea fowl eggs)
  7. Meat: beef, pork, bacon, sausage, goat meat, bush meat, rabbit, snail, chicken, turkey, duck, fish (fresh, smoked) stockfish.
  8. Oils/fats: palm oil, groundnut oil, melon oil, shea butter, coconut oil, corn oil, margarine, butter.
  9. Beverages: cocoa drinks, tea, coffee, fruit juices (orange, tomato, pineapple, mango, guava, lemon, apple), soft drinks (coca cola, pepsi cola, 7cup, sprite, club soda, tonic water), palm wine.
  10. Fruits: oranges, mango, grapefruit, pawpaw, banana, guava, lemon, grape, water melon, cherry, tangerine, apple, pineapple.
  11. Vegetables: okro, spinach (tete), bitter leaf (ewuro), water leaf (talinum sp), lettuce, cabbage, carrot, pepper onion, tomato, avocado, squash, pumpkin leaves, carrot.

Food groups

Foods are grouped into categories of their kinds and the functions that they perform in the body. Some foods supply energy, some cater for growth, while others are for the maintenance of the well-being of the body.

  1. Body building foods (proteins): these are found in meat (beef, pork lamb, ram, chicken, turkey, goat, duck), fish, shrimp, milk products, pulses and nuts.
  2. Energy giving foods (carbohydrates): these are found in grains (rice, wheat) bread, bagel, corn (cornflakes, pap), yam (pounded yam, yam flour), cassava (gari, lafun, fufu), plantain, palm oil, groundnut oil, shea butter.
  3. Body protectors (vitamins and minerals): these are found in vegetable (spinach, okra, bitter leaf) and fruits (orange, apple, lemon, pineapple, pawpaw, watermelon, mango, banana, grapefruit, guava, tangerine.

Meaning of food nutrients

Nutrients are materials found in varying quantities in the foods that we eat. They are needed by the body for different functions namely:

  1. They help to supply energy for our activities.
  2. They help us to develop and grow
  3. They improve our memory
  4. They protect our bodies from diseases and illnesses
  5. They help our wounds to heal

Nutrients are classified into six categories

  1. Carbohydrate
  2. Protein
  • Vitamin

  1. Fat
  2. Minerals
  3. Water

Sources of food nutrients

Grains and tubers are good sources of carbohydrates; while fish, pulses and nuts have high protein content.

Fruits and vegetable contain a lot of mineral nutrient, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, lycopene, as well as vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6, B12 and folic acid. Milk products are a rich source of calcium.

Functions of food nutrients

Protein foods help to build muscles and tissues of the body. In addition to this, they help to carry out repairs and replace worn out tissues.

Carbohydrate supply the body with heat and energy. If too much of this is eaten and less of protein, children develop kwashiorkor, on the other hand, if one were to eat less of carbohydrates and more of protein, this could result in marasmus. The foods that we eat must be in the right proportions. Vitamins and minerals are of different kinds and they perform various functions in our bodies, but in general, they help in preventing diseases

General functions of food

  1. Good health: Food makes us healthy
  2. Energy: it gives us energy for our daily activities
  • Growth and development: it helps us grow and develop properly
  1. Body building: food nutrients (i.e protein) help in building our body and repairing worn-out tissues.
  2. Warmth: fat and oils help keep our body warm

Evaluation questions

  1. Mention six kinds of foods eaten in your homes
  2. Sort foods displayed in the class into their food groups
  3. Explain the meaning of food nutrients
  4. Mention three sources of nutrients
  5. Stat three advantages of eating good food


  1. Pupils to bring different kinds of food to the class
  2. Pupils to identify each food item according to their nutritional values