Some Easy to Eat, Healthy Snacks
In the simplest terms, food is any substance eaten to supply nutrition to an organism. It may be in the form of a vegetable, a fruit, or even a single grain. Food is generally of animal, plant or microbial origin, and usually contains vital nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or iron. All living organisms need food to survive; without it they will not survive. There are five main food groups:
Plants, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seeds, make up the majority of food that people consume. These foods are eaten to supply carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals necessary for health, and to boost the energy level of the human body. Although plant-based foods provide a wide variety of nutrients, plant-based foods are said to be the richest in vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, all of which are essential for human development. Although some plant foods, like nuts and legumes, contain significant amounts of protein, animal-based foods provide the bulk of our calories and are therefore the most important type of food consumed by us. Animal foods also contain iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
Animal foods include meat, milk and eggs, which are the most popular food groups in the US. Different animal types provide different types of nutrition. For example, white meats, like chicken and turkey, are high in protein but low in other nutrients. Beef, pork and goat cheese are rich in iron, but maize, wheat and rice are not commonly eaten by most Americans.
Fruits and vegetables are the richest in nutrients and vitamins. Some fruits, like broccoli and carrots, are rich in fibre. A well-balanced diet can provide up to 40% of daily energy requirements for people of all ages. The fibre found in many vegetables can help regulate bowel movement, which means that you avoid constipation. Because of their water-absorbing ability, vegetables are excellent for maintaining a healthy weight.
Beans and lentils are considered by most people to be a complete food, as they contain all the nutrients that you need in a whole food. However, they are also a poor food source for many nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamin B12. They are rich in protein and contain the protein and complex carbohydrates necessary for building muscle tissue. Lentils can be used in soups and stews, which can add more bulk to your diet. For the vegetarian, bean dishes are good options, as they are not heavy in protein and contain relatively little fat.
Nuts, cashews, walnuts and peanuts are spread among many American diets. A well-balanced diet including at least two nuts each day is healthy for most people. Walnuts are a good choice, as walnuts are good sources of protein, magnesium and folic acid. Peanuts contain inflammatory compounds and should be avoided, unless very small amounts are eaten.