Foods not only provide us with energy they help to keep our bodies strong and healthy
There are four main types of food:
- Vitamins, minerals and fibre.
To have a balanced diet we need to ensure that we get the right amount of these foods every day.
It is not easy to say how much of each food we need because it depends upon how much energy we use for our health at that time.
Here is a quick review of the main food types, what foods contain them and what those foods do for us.
Carbohydrates provide us with energy quickly. This means that the body can convert the energy in carbohydrates to energy for the body rapidly.
(You will notice that they are also very filling in meals).
The following foods contain carbohydrates:
These foods contain other things as well but mostly contain carbohydrates.
Proteins help us to build up our bodies.
Lots of proteins can be found in:
Meat: beef, lamb, chicken, pork
All fats contain lots of energy (like carbohydrates) however they can take a long time or the body to covert to energy
The following foods are high in fats:
Vitamins, Minerals and Fibre.
These foods do not provide any energy but are vital to the body to keep it healthy.
Fibre helps to keep our digestive system healthy
Many vitamins are found in the following foods.
When we are getting the right amounts of these foods that we need each day, we say that we are eating a balanced diet.
I hope you can now see why you are always being told to eat your vegetables.
Next time you look at a meal see if you can spot the foods that are high in
Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Here are a couple of questions so that you can see why too much of some foods mean you are not getting a balanced diet.
Tommy enjoys eating chips for his lunch, but he leaves everything else.
1. Is Tommy eating a balanced diet?
2. What types of food is Tommy getting too much of?
3. Name one type of food that Tommy is missing out on.
1. No, this is not a balanced diet.
2. Tommy is getting too much carbohydrates and fat (chips are cooked in fat).
3. Tommy is missing out on Proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Tommy's mother decides that Tommy needs more protein in his diet. She decides to give him an orange for after his lunch. If Tommy eats his orange will he be getting more proteins?
No. Tommy will be getting much-needed vitamins (Vitamin C) but he will not be getting much more protein. If you want to increase the amount of protein for Tommy you could get him to eat cheese, eggs, lentils, nuts or fish and meat.
Sometimes our foods do not contain enough vitamins. This is why we often take extra vitamins.
If you look on a breakfast cereal packet you will find the vitamins that the food contains listed.
There is often the initials R.D.A. shown. Can you find out what RDA stands for?
A clue would be that it helps you decide what you need for a balanced diet.
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