The human body is like a machine. It therefore needs fuel to do its work. It also needs good maintenance and regular repair. These needs are met by the food we eat. It is therefore important that you know the different types of food nutrients, their functions and sources, so that you can combine them well to have a balanced diet. You should also form healthy eating habits in order to remain healthy. Healthy feeding habit is part of good grooming.


Meaning of food

Food is any liquid or solid material which when eaten and digested can provide the body with nourishment.


Functions of food

Food performs the following functions:

  1. It provides the body with heat and energy.
  2. It helps in the growth and repair of body tissues.
  3. It protects the body from diseases.
  4. Roughage in food helps bowel movement and prevents constipation.
  5. Food is necessary for good health and vitality.


Food Groups

Foods can be grouped according to the nutrients they contain and the functions they perform in the body. Therefore we have the following classes:

1) Body building foods: These are proteins. They include meat, fish, eggs, milk, beans, etc.


2) Energy foods: These are carbohydrates and fats. Proteins can also supply energy but not as much as carbohydrate and fats.

Examples of energy foods are starchy foods such as yam, potatoes, cassava, bread, rice, palm oil, groundnut oil, etc.


3) Protective foods: These protect the body from diseases. They are vitamins and minerals. Sources include vegetables and fruits.


4) Roughage: This is an important food item. It is indigestible part of foods such as cellulose. It has the following uses:

  • It increases the bulk of food.
  • It helps digestion and bowel movement.
  • It therefore helps to prevent constipation.


Meaning of feeding habits

Feeding or eating habits are your everyday patterns of eating. It involves the tendency to reach out for the same foods whenever you are hungry. Some feeding habits are developed when you are very young. Other habits develop from factors in your current life style. It is very important to understand your eating habits as a first step in managing them.

Healthy feeding habit: results from choosing nutritious food in a conscious way.

Unhealthy feeding habit: results from making poor food choices over a period of time. Food affects your health over along period time. Wise choice of food is therefore very important.


Importance of healthy feeding habits

  1. Healthy or proper nutrition and habits can help you:
  2. Look and feel better.
  3. Have more energy.
  4. Prevent you from getting some diseases later in life, eg diabetes, obesity, heart disease.
  5. Have body better equipped to heal fast and properly, than a poorly nourished one.


Guidelines for health feeding habits and table manners

  1. Eat a variety of foods. Eat food from all the food groups.
  2. Balance the food you eat with physical activity.
  3. Always eat three balanced meals every day.
  4. Choose nutritious foods in a conscious way.
  5. Choose diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits.
  6. Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat, and cholesterol.
  7. Choose a diet that is moderate in sugar.
  8. Choose a diet that is moderate in salt and sodium.
  9. Sit upright at the dining table but do not allow your body to touch the table.
  10. Always wash your hands before and after meals.
  11. Do not hurry over meal or eat too quickly. Eat slowly, Chewing and sipping of water or beverage should be done gently.
  12. When eating, take just enough food that can easily go into your mouth.
  13. Chew your food properly.
  14. Do not talk with food in your mouth.
  15. Close the mouth when chewing the food.
  16. Never use the knife to put food into your mouth.
  17. Avoid picking your teeth with your finger nails.
  18. Use tooth pick decently.
  19. Do not put too much food into the mouth at a time.
  20. Do not stretch your hand over someone’s food in order to reach for salt, water, etc.
  21. Do not take food directly form the serving dish into your mouth, except with traditional service.
  22. Do not be greedy. Consider others when helping yourself with the food.
  23. Always be polite when eating or serving others.

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