N1 A healthy diet

Good food is important for good health. Most people depend on one or two staple foods for much of what they eat. This may be a cereal (such as rice, wheat, maize or millet), a root crop (such as cassava, yam or potato), or starchy fruits (such as plantain or breadfruit). However, several other foods must be eaten with the staple food in order to meet our energy and nutritional needs. The types of foods that fill these needs best are:

  • pulses (such as peas, beans, lentils and groundnuts) and oil seeds (such as sesame or sunflower seeds).
  • foods from animals and fish. These are rich sources of many nutrients but are often expensive. Also, some people do not eat meat because of their religious or personal beliefs.
  • vegetables and fruits, particularly dark green leaves and orange-coloured fruits and vegetables.
  • oils, fats (such as margarine, butter, ghee) and sugars.

Ensuring a good mix of a staple food with several of these foods at each meal will result in a healthy diet. 


  • What are the main staples we eat in this area? Which other foods do we normally eat with the staple food each day?
  • How often do most people in our community eat meat or fish? What prevents them from eating more of them?
  • How much is lack of money a barrier to a good diet? Discuss ways in which people could improve the variety of foods eaten at little or no cost. Do people who have plenty of money always eat a good diet?