2.8.3  Adding other foods to the staple food

In order to have a good balanced diet, people in your community will need to eat other foods in addition to the staple foods. The additional foods are important because they:

  • Provide nutrients that may not be available in the staple food. For example, legumes such as peas, beans and lentils add protein, iron and other minerals and fat; green and yellow vegetables and fruits add vitamins A and C, folate, and fibre
  • Make the food less bulky
  • Make the diet more tasty and interesting to eat.

A diet which is composed of staples, legumes and vegetables or fruits is a good, balanced diet because this combination of foods will provide most of the nutrients that the people in your community need. The problem with the diet above is a lack of animal sources of food. Animal sources are good because they contain plenty of protein, have high energy (due to the fats), and the iron is easily absorbed compared with the iron sourced from plants. Therefore adding small amounts of animal products like meat, milk and eggs to staples, legumes and vegetables will improve the balanced diet. As well as protein, animal foods will also provide fat (for energy) and vitamins (especially vitamin A and folate), iron and zinc. But these foods may not be easily available and even if they are, they are usually expensive.

  • Think about the types of foods usually consumed by your community and write a list of two groups of balanced diets, one with presence of animal foods and the other without animal foods.

  • If you are creating a diet that includes animal products ‘kocho’ may be the staple food and this could be eaten with fried meat/fried eggs, cabbage and tomatoes.

    You could create a balanced diet by mixing ‘injera’ (as a staple food), stew (‘wot’) made of beans/lentils, oil, ‘shiro’ and cabbage.

2.8.2  The mixture of foods to use

Summary of Study Session 2