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All of us need food, but some of us need more than others. This depends on the age, sex, size, growth rate and activities of the person. Healthy food is needed for a person to grow and develop well, work hard, and stay healthy, many common diseases come from not eating enough of the kind of food that the body needs.
Foods that give us energy (carbohydrates)

The following foods are simple and affordable sources of energy:

  • Cereals and grains - wheat, rice, maize, jowar, ragi
  • Starchy roots - potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca
  • Starchy fruits - banana, plantain, breadfruit

Foods that promote growth and development (proteins)

Protein rich foods are body building foods. They are essential for proper growth, for protecting and helping the body fight against diseases, and are also needed to repair body tissue.

Examples of protein rich foods are:

  • Animal products - milk, curd, cheese, eggs, meat and fish
  • Vegetable products - pulses, nuts, peas. beans. soybeans, groundnuts, dark green leafy vegetables.

Foods that give us extra energy

Fats and sugars store concentrated forms of energy. Our bodies change fats into sugar when more energy is needed.

  • Fats - oil, butter, ghee, meat fat
  • Fat rich foods - nuts, oil seeds, paneer
  • Sugars - white sugar, honey, jaggery (gur)

Foods that prevent illness and diseases

Vitamins are found in many foods. They help protect you from all sorts of problems and diseases. Minerals are needed for making healthy blood, bones and teeth.

Vitamin rich foods

  • Green leafy vegetables-spinach, drumstick leaves, amaranth
  • Yellow vegetables - carrots, tomatoes, yellow pumpkin
  • Fruits - papaya, amla, orange, mango, lemon
  • Animal products - eggs, meat, fish, chicken, milk

Mineral rich foods

  • Calcium: Millets like ragi and bajra, milk
  • Iron(it makes healthy blood): Jaggery, tamarind, beetroot, green leafy vegetables
  • Iodine (to prevent goitre): Sea weed

When you decide your diet keep the following points in mind:

  • Rice, wheat and other grains-they are more nutritious if they are not polished. Moderately polished rice and whole wheat contain more vitamins than the white, over polished product.
  • Ragi and bajra are very rich in minerals especially iron and calcium. They are more nutritious and also cheaper than rice and wheat
  • A mixed cereal diet is better than just one cereal, as different cereals provide the body with different proteins.
  • The protein in wheat, rice, maize or any other grain can be better used by the body if they are eaten with beans and lentils.
  • Beans peas, lentils and other legumes are good sources of protein. Allow them to sprout before cooking and eating, so that they are more rich in vitamins.
  • Green, leafy vegetables are nutritious. The green leaves of raddishes and tapioca are also very nutritious and should be eaten together with their roots to provide extra nutrition.
  • Jaggery contains a lot of iron, so try to use this instead of white sugar. 
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