Lesson 1: Nutrition and Health
Many people think that food is eaten only because it satisfies hunger. They do not regard food as something that keeps them healthy. One of a caterer's concern is to provide food which can help nourish the body and protect it against disease. This unit would equip you with the necessary knowledge to provide healthy and nutritious meals for your customers.
Benefits of nutrition
I am sure you have come across the saying that ‘you are what you eat’ and again that you eat to live not live to eat. Both sayings point to the fact that the foods you eat ultimately end up giving you something which keeps you alive and kicking. Good nutrition helps to keep your body fit and healthy. For young people like you, your bodies are growing and renewing their parts all the time.
Each day, you gain some height and also replace old cells. Cells of the skin, blood and bones are constantly being replaced. The food you eat then becomes part of you because it provides certain chemicals known as nutrients. These nutrients help to provide you with energy and building blocks that make you grow.
The best food for you is therefore the type that makes you grow normally and maintains strong muscles, strong bones, healthy skin and enough clean blood. They are also the types of food that reduce your chances of getting ill later in life.
A rule of thumb in your choice of food is that you should eat a variety of foods. That way you will be able to obtain all the nutrients your body needs. No one food would provide all the nutrients. Eating a variety of foods would ensure that all nutrients are obtained.
When you do not get all the nutrients you need from your food, you may develop what is called nutrient deficiency or malnutrition. These deficiencies can slow the growth of children. Again a person who does not get proper nutrition during the adolescent year may never reach full height.
Malnutrition is of two types one is caused by eating too much of foods that provide calories or other nutrients. This is called overnutrition. The other one is eating too little of the food so that you would not get the nutrient your body needs in the right amounts. This is called undernutrition. Undernutrition can be caused by several factors. Theseinclude ignorance and poverty. Both forms of malnutrition are not good for the body. Do you know that people who are hungry or poorly fed have difficulty learning and concentrating? ]] Yes they do. That is why it is not good to go to school on empty stomach.
The Six Food Groups
In order to help people to eat a wide variety of foods, the different types of foods have been grouped according to the nutrients they supply. This is to make the selection of the foods easy. These groups are called the six food groups.
- .animal and animal products
- .starchy roots and plantain
- .fats and oils
- .fruits and vegetables
In order to get a diet which contains all nutrients, it is advised that one eats foods from all the groups. Such a diet is called a balanced diet or an adequate diet.