Food and nutrients

The food groups

Home TeachersFood and nutrientsThe food groups

Food has different sources. For example:

  • Plants: fruit, vegetables, cereals
  • Animals: meat, fish, eggs

Food can be transformed. For example:

  • Bread is made from wheat flour (plant origin)
  • Cheese is made by coagulating milk (animal origin)

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Food sources

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The food we eat on a daily basis can come from various sources. For example it can come from plants or animals. When we think about food that comes from plants, we often think of fruit and vegetables.

Keywords > Fresh fruit

Fruit can be eaten fresh, for example apples, oranges and bananas.

Keywords > Dried fruit

We can also dry fresh fruit – i.e. reduce its water content. Think about a dried apricot or dried fig for example.

Keywords > Nuts (oleaginous fruit)

Nuts are also fruit (often known as 'fruit in a shell' in French) and can be referred to as oleaginous fruit as we can extract oil from nuts. Walnuts, almonds or peanuts for example.

Keywords > Fresh vegetables

Vegetables are a large and very diverse food family. Do not confuse them with pulses, the dried seeds of leguminous plants.

Keywords > Dry vegetables (pulses)

Green beans and carrots are fresh vegetables while lentils, chickpeas and dried beans are from leguminous plants.


Food with a plant origin also includes cereals. Cereals are plants that are primarily cultivated for their seeds, such as wheat, rice and corn.

Some such foodstuffs are ‘processed’. You need to understand how they are produced in order to identify their origin.

What is the origin of bread for example? Bread is produced from wheat flour and as wheat is a grain, bread is considered to have a plant origin, just like pasta.

Keywords > Wheat: bread, pasta, couscous

Cereals can also be ground; like couscous, which is wheat based, and polenta which is made from corn.

Keywords > Corn: polenta


When talking about food which comes from animals, we obviously think about meat. We can distinguish between white meat such as poultry and red meat like beef or lamb for example.

Fish is also a foodstuff of animal origin. We differentiate between white fish such as cod and oily fish, like salmon. We also differentiate between freshwater fish, such as carp and saltwater fish, such as bream. Seafood and shellfish are also food that comes from animals, for example mussels and prawns.

Finally we need to mention the food produced by animals such as eggs from hens or cow's milk. Such food can be processed. Milk is a good example as it allows us to make cheese and yoghurt.


Briefly, there are also foodstuffs with other origins. For example, salt has a mineral origin and yeast has a fungal origin.

NUTRIX is one of the games that accompany this online course. This game is all about a balanced diet. A vegetarian diet is dealt with at some levels of the game. At these levels you have to consume food with a plant origin whilst restricting your consumption of food which comes from animals.

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