Food Meals and Nutrient Content
Food is any material taken from a living organism to supply vital nutritional support to an organism. Most food is of animal, plant or fungi origin, and often contains vital nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or other minerals. In humans, the diet mainly comprises of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, whole grain bread, potatoes and some other foods like milk products. Food processing has made food available in different forms like ready-to-eat breakfast packs, ready-to-eat and prepackaged food, frozen food, etc., and increased its popularity. These products not only supply the energy and necessary dietary support but also do away with the problems of waste disposal and thus are environmentally friendly.
The major task of the food manufacturer is to make food products that fulfill the required nutritional requirements of individuals by meeting their daily diet needs. The manufacturers formulate balanced food systems according to the requirements of individuals. They have to keep in mind that the right balance of nutrients should be maintained between the basic food groups. For instance, if a person is on a fat-reduction program, then fat content should be reduced and fat should be replaced with high fiber vegetables and other foods rich in fiber, like beans. To meet the daily energy requirements, protein should be added in appropriate quantities to the daily diet. Thus, there are specific food components like vitamins, minerals, fat, carbohydrates, etc., which have to be considered for an optimal healthy eating pattern.
The nutrition label of most packaged and processed foodstuffs provides the details about the calories present in each serving and the percentage of these calories which should be served with food items of other nutrients. However, it is difficult to figure out a serving size as the serving size varies according to the type of food item. Hence, the nutrition labels also provide information about percentage of calories per serving and this helps people in knowing the amount of food intake per serving. The labels also indicate the fiber, crude fiber, dietary fiber, total fat, protein, and salt levels in the food. A portion of the daily energy intake can be provided by a proper diet pattern, which can be achieved by a combination of the above mentioned food elements.