Food is the fuel that enables people to function and maintain health. The world’s population depends on a wide variety of foods to get the nutrients they need, including cereal grains; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products; and processed or fortified foods. The type of food a person eats depends on the environment and culture where he lives. Diets also vary within countries, as weather and farming techniques affect which crops grow best and what kinds of food are available.
A person’s diet can change over time as he learns about new foods and techniques for cooking. In addition, people’s food choices can be affected by social or political events. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic reduced incomes and travel restrictions increased food prices worldwide, many people struggled to access enough food to survive.
People eat meat in varying amounts around the world. Cattle, pigs, lamb, goats, poultry, and seafood are the most common animal sources of meat. Poultry is a staple food in many cultures, and it is the primary source of egg-laying hens for most people. Poultry is also raised for its skin and fat, which are used in a variety of ways to prepare food.
Cereal grains are the seeds of grasses that people have grown since the beginning of agriculture. Wheat, rice, maize (maize), sorghum, and barley are the most common varieties of cereal grain. People use these seeds to make bread, beer, and whiskey. They may also be cooked and eaten raw or fried.
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals—plant chemicals that are good for a person’s health. They are rich in antioxidants and can help fight disease. They are also low in calories and provide essential nutrients. Many people enjoy eating them in juice, salads, smoothies, and casseroles. People can also eat them raw, dried, or canned.
Other important food groups are legumes, fish, and meat, both red and white. Legumes are beans and lentils, while fish and meat are the major sources of protein for most people. People also eat some types of mushrooms, tofu, yogurt without added sugar or artificial sweeteners, cheeses, tea, and coffee.
Processed and fortified foods are a part of many people’s diets, though minimizing their intake is recommended. These foods have been minimally processed or have undergone processing such as freezing, canning, drying, salting, and smoking. They may contain nutrients that are not available in unprocessed or minimally processed foods, such as iron, folic acid, and vitamin C.
When writing about food, try to avoid adjectives like “flavorful” and “rich.” These words weaken the tone of an article. Instead, focus on the characteristics of a particular dish or ingredient that make it stand out from its competitors. Describe the appearance of the food, its aroma, and how it tastes to you. If possible, highlight the history of a food and its place in a culture’s cuisine. This will add depth to the article and interest readers.