Nutrition Basics: What Food is Made of…


The foods we eat contain a mix of nutrients that provide energy and other things our bodies need.

Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups:









Starches and sugars that provide the body with most of the energy it needs.

Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.

It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals are a

good way to make sure your body gets enough carbohydrates.




A naturally occurring substance found in animal products and some plant products.

Protein is in every living cell in the body.

Our bodies need protein from the foods we eat to build and maintain bones, muscles and skin.

You need to eat protein every day, because your body doesn’t store it the way it stores fats and carbohydrates.

Protein is found in dairy, meats, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.



Fat is the major source of stored energy for the body.

Some foods, including most fruits and vegetables, have almost no fat.

Other foods have plenty of fat.  They include nuts, oils, butter, and meats like beef.

Children need fat in their diets so the brain and nervous system develop correctly.

(That’s why toddlers (ages 0-2yrs old) need to drink whole milk, which has more fat, and older kids can drink low-fat or skim milk.)

Dietary fat helps a kid’s body grow and develop like it should. Fats fuel the body and help absorb some vitamins. They also are the building blocks of hormones and they insulate nervous system tissue in the body.

You should get most of your fat from lean meats, fish, and heart healthy oils.

Some fat is important for good nutrition, but too much can cause health problems.


Please review the chart below from the American Diabetes Association.

It’s important to eat a variety of foods. It’s all about balance!


This is just the beginning of our Nutrition mini-lessons…all the things we learned in school…but probably don’t remember.

In other posts we will discuss what else is in food:




We hope this is a helpful start!

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