(Information obtained from Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Handbook for Skill Development, Massachusetts Department of Social Services – click here to visit website)
To make sure that you get all the nutrients your body needs, it is important to eat a variety of foods. Look over the following facts about nutrients to learn which foods contain essential protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Facts about Nutrients
Protein is needed for growth of new tissue and for repair of body cells. Proteins come from animal sources, such as meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, and cheese; or vegetable sources, such as cooked dried beans, peas, nuts, and peanut butter.
Foods that contain fats are high in calories. Fats supply energy and make foods taste good. In addition, some fats provide Vitamins A, D, E, and K and other essentials for good health.
Fats from vegetable sources include cooking and salad oils, margarine, and vegetable shortenings; butter, bacon, and lard are major sources of animal fats. Meats, poultry, fish, whole milk, and cheese contain smaller amounts of fat.
Carbohydrates include both sugars and starches, which the body changes into energy. Some starches contain minerals, vitamins, and small amounts of protein. Carbohydrates are found in breads and cereals, dried beans and peas, rice, flour, sugars and other sweets, and fruits and vegetables.
Many minerals are needed to maintain good health. Here are some of them: Iron is used for building blood. Foods that are good sources of iron and other minerals include lean meat, liver, dried peas, dried beans, dark green leafy vegetables, enriched bread and cereals, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.
Calcium and phosphorus are needed for the development of bones and teeth. Milk and milk products such as cheese are major sources of calcium and phosphorus, along with other minerals.
Vitamins are nutrients that are needed in very small amounts to help the body cells work. Each vitamin plays a different role. When daily meals do not contain enough vitamins, body cells do not develop and work properly.
Vitamin A must be present in the foods you eat for normal growth and normal vision. It is mainly found in dark green leafy and yellow vegetables.
Vitamin C is needed for healthy gums, bones, and teeth. It is found in oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, tomatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorus to develop bones and teeth and keep them healthy.
Thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin are B complex vitamins needed for healthy cells. Thiamin is found in whole-grain and enriched breads and cereals, meat, poultry, and eggs. Milk and cheese are particularly rich sources of riboflavin. Meat, poultry, and cooked dried beans and peas are good sources of niacin.
Folic acid helps protect the body against anemia. It is found in dark green leafy vegetables, liver, and many other foods.
For good health, your body needs small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. These are supplied by the foods that make up balanced meals.
Maricopa County Nutrition Services - Our aim is to provide the most up-to-date, evidence -based information to improve human health by way of nutrition.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC) - WIC is a nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, and young children eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy. WIC stands for The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.