Food is the primary source of energy and nutrition for animals, and is also the basic unit of nourishment for humans. It contains nutrients that are essential for the growth and maintenance of tissues and for the regulation of vital processes.
People’s diets vary from one country to another and between regions within a single country. Geographic factors explain some of this variation, but more often than not, it’s the result of improved methods of agriculture and transportation that make a greater variety of foods available.
The field of food science studies the physical, microbial and chemical makeup of a variety of foods, from raw ingredients to processed, packaged or canned goods. Food scientists apply their knowledge to the development of safe, nutritious and innovative foods.
A person’s diet is influenced by many factors, including social, economic and political. The most important considerations are:
Access – Getting enough of the right types of food is critical to a healthy lifestyle. There are a wide range of factors that affect how much people have access to food, including pricing, proximity to suppliers and infrastructure.
Meal – The main part of a meal is typically made up of a carbohydrate, such as a grain, such as wheat, rice or corn (maize), or an animal protein, such as meat, fish or eggs. The carbohydrates provide the fuel for the body to carry out its functions, while the proteins help the body build new cells and produce hormones.
The type of grain used to make the meal is important, as are the types of fruits and vegetables served with it. Generally, a balanced diet includes a good mix of fruits and vegetables, as well as grains and meat.
Grain-based diets are healthier than meat-based ones, which contain a greater concentration of fat and calories. They are also more nutritionally complete, and they are a more sustainable option because they use less water and fuel to prepare and transport food.
Eating a diverse diet, which includes fruits and vegetables and a variety of meats and seafood, is key to a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, while meats and seafood are rich in protein, fats, and amino acids.
Portion sizes – When dining out, choose a small portion size. Likewise, if you’re cooking for yourself, don’t serve your entire plate. A half-cup of mashed potatoes, for example, is about the size of a deck of cards, while a cup of rice is about the size of a traditional light bulb.
Adjectives – Writing about food requires the use of descriptors that give readers an idea of what they’re going to taste and smell, but sometimes those words can be overused. Instead, use similes to compare two unlike things, using the verb “like” or the noun “as.”
When writing about food, remember that it’s a complex, fascinating subject, and one that is infused with a wealth of history and culture. It’s an opportunity to share your passion, to explore a topic that interests you and to create something that you’re proud of.