An Introduction to Food

Food is any material consumed in order to provide nutrients for an individual organism. Generally, food is of animal, plant or fungus origin, and generally contains certain essential nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals. However, food that is consumed does not necessarily consist of all of these essential nutrients; sometimes food is just food. Any food that an individual can become food, depending on how it is prepared.


Meats, for example, can be broken down into seven different categories, including poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, dairy and grains. Animals can be hunted and killed for their meat (such as deer, bear, chicken), and their eggs (such as ducks and chickens), although other animal products may also be hunted and killed for consumption. Meat can be cooked and processed into a variety of dishes, including hamburgers, steaks and chops, as well as making milk and yogurt. Many foods may also be frozen, dried or processed into food for consumption. Fruits and vegetables may also be eaten raw or cooked, although some may be grown in soil that is not suitable for farming, resulting in food being classified as natural food.

Some types of food are eaten only once, while other types of food are eaten several times a day or for several months. Some foods may be eaten in large amounts throughout the course of a day or a week, while others may be eaten in small amounts throughout the course of a month. The most popular food types consumed by humans are those that are consumed in association with other food, as in breakfast; lunch; dinner; and snacks between meals. Snacks are usually small, prepackaged and ready to eat items that are readily available throughout the day. Some examples of common snack foods include chips, peanuts, nuts, granola bars, cotton-wool crackers, dried fruits, granola cereal, popcorn, pretzels, rice cakes, cookies, candy and chewing gum.