Foods & Nutrition

Special Diets and Meals for Different Categories of People

There are different types of special diet for different set of people. This post seeks to highlight those special diets for vegetarians, diets for invalid and convalescent, for those who loose weight and special diets for those with fever conditions.


Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians are those people who do not eat animal flesh or fish. There are three different types of vegetarians viz:

Lacto Vegetarians

These are people who do not eat the flesh of animals, fish or poultry but take milk products and eggs in addition to vegetables which they consume in large amounts.

Strict Vegetarians

These people are also known as vegans. They do not eat the flesh of animals, poultry and fish as well as the animal or dairy products. They eat only vegetable i.e. plant foods. While it is easy to plan a balanced diet for the lacto vegetarian because of the inclusion of eggs, milk and milk products respectively in their diets, it is not easy to plan a balanced diet for a vegan. Since vegans depend solely on plant foods, their diets may lack some essential amino acids and vitamins which can only be obtained from animal foods.

However, through a careful planning and judicious combination of different plant foods, a fairly balanced diet can be prepared. For example, a combination of cereals, legumes and leafy vegetables will produce a balanced diet. Vegetarians should also consume adequate fresh fruits. For the lacto vegetarians the consumption of milk products plus eggs respectively will make their diets balanced.

Diets For Invalids And The Convalescent

An invalid is a sick person that is confined to the bed while a convalescent is someone recovering or has just recovered from an illness. In both cases, they have very weak intestines.

Therefore their diets must be easily digestible. They need plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals as well as energy foods. Though fat is a highly concentrated form of energy, it is not easily digested and therefore should not be given to the invalid or to the convalescent.

Appropriate methods of cooking that will make the food easily digestible must be used e.g. stewing, steaming and boiling.

Here are some suggested meals for invalids and convalescents.

  1. Milk flavoured with ovaltine or any beverage.
  2. Egg lightly boiled.
  3. Bean pudding with pap
  4. Soups e.g. meat, fish or vegetable.
  5. Mashed yam/potato/cocoyam/cassava.
  6. Milk pudding including custard.
  7. Fresh fruits or fruit juice.

Special Diets In Fever And Infection

A fever is a condition in which the body temperature rises above normal. It is usually a symptom of other diseases which can be due to infection.

During a fever or an infection, the appetite is always depressed and there is a possibility of the body becoming dehydrated, Thus at the onset of a fever or an infection, a clear fluid diet should be provided. This can be tea, coffee, and fat-free broth, or ginger ale, fruit juices and water gruels could be given.

Small amounts of fluid should be offered every hour or two to the patient. The primary purpose of this diet for a fever patient is to relieve thirst and help maintain the water balance. Broth provides some sodium, and fruit juices supply potassium.

Carbonated beverages, sugar and fruit juices, when used, furnish a small amount of carbohydrate to supply energy. This is then followed by a full fluid special diet which consists of liquids and foods that liquefy at body temperature.

The food can be in a puree or mashed form to ease the rate of digestion. At this stage, energy foods in the form of carbohydrates should be given so as to supply the needed energy. Generous amounts of vegetables and fruits should be consumed to furnish the needed vitamins and mineral elements.

Also meat and fish cooked by the appropriate method should be given. As a situation improves however, the normal diet can be introduced.

Special Diets For Overweight

An overweight person is one whose weight is above normal. The extra weight makes demand upon his heart, his blood circulation, his back, and the whole of the skeleton.

It is not surprising therefore that overweight people often have heart disease and hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases. The need for overweight individual to shed the extra weight can be due to excessive fat accumulation in the adipose tissue.

Gaining or losing weight is simply a question of balancing food calories with the body’s need for calories. Therefore, the diet for overweight people should be low in calories. Food items like fat and carbohydrates should be reduced drastically, while a higher protein should be consumed.

This is desirable because it helps to correct the greater losses of muscle tissue that occur during reducing. Generous amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits should be consumed to supply the needed vitamins and minerals.

Meals of a low calorie diet should be attractive and palatable. Meats, fish and poultry should be free from fat and should be prepared by boiling, roasting or stewing. The low calorie diet should be accompanied with regular exercise for it to be effective.

Introduction To Foods And Nutrition Careers

Nutrition is the science that deals with the study of foods in relations to their effects on the human body. It is the study of various nutrients in relation to their effect upon the human body.

food and nutrition

Health: is the state of being well in body or mind. It is the soundness of mind in relation to the proper functioning of other members of the body. Everybody has an ambition of becoming somebody in life. This can only come true if we are healthy.

Nutrition and health are interwoven. For example, it is only when a pupil or student is well fed that he can listen attentively and understands what he or she is being taught by the teacher. A hungry person will not be responsive to any form of training.

In fact, scientists have found that there is a strong correlation between good food and the intellectual development of human beings. Apart from its effect on the illectual development of man, good nutrition also plays an important role in the maintenance of good health.

People who are well fed have more resistance to disease than those who are poorly nourished. In a country where people are well fed, there will be less incidents of sickness and therefore less amount will be spent on health. Many diseases prevalent in most developing countries including Nigeria are caused by poor nutrition. The need for a thorough knowledge in foods and nutrition can not therefore be over emphasized.

Definition of Terms

Food: Food can be defined as that which nourishes the body. It is any substances which after consumption, digestion, and absorption by the body produces energy, promotes growth and repair the worn out tissues and regulates all the body processes.

Nutrients: Nutrients are chemical substance found in the food we eat, they are the substances that enable food to perform its function. They are classified into two namely macro-nutrient which are nutrients needed in the body in large quantity such as carbohydrates, protein and fats and oil, while micro nutrients are those needed by the body in little quantity such as vitamins and minerals salts.


Nutrition is the study of nutrients in relation to their function in the body. It also involves the study of the chemical and physical properties of the nutrients, their food sources, deficiency symptoms and their appropriate proportion in a balanced diet. The study of nutrition is very essential because of the importance of food to the survival and development of human beings.

Importance of Studying Foods and Nutrition in our Society

  1. To know the basic knowledge and principle of nutrition.
  2. To promote good intellectual development.
  3. To maintain good health.
  4. To know the kinds of food nutrients necessary to reduce the incidence of sickness.
  5. To know the kinds of food that will meet the dietary requirements of different age groups and those under different physiological conditions.
  6. To know the appropriate food processing techniques for the optimum conservation of nutrients in the food.
  7. To know how to plan, prepare and serve balanced meals for different physiological conditions and occasions.
  8. To be able to choose and care for kitchen equipment and utensils appropriately.
  9. To develop appropriate and manipulate skills in the various cookery processes.
  10. To be self reliant members of the society.
  11. To acquire the knowledge of different methods of cooking

Human Nutrition

The process of taking in and absorbing of nutrients is called human nutrition. There is an often quoted maxim that says ‘you are what you eat’. It is probably important to add this that we are what we eat and drink.

Importance of Human Nutrition

The following are the importance of human nutrition:

  1. Maintenance of good health and stamina
  2. Prevention of diseases.
  3. Helps to Increase life span
  4. It provides our bodies with all of the individual entities it requires for life to maintain growth and development.

Careers Associated with Food and Nutrition

Careers in foods and nutrition are various opportunities opened to those who have formal training in foods and nutrition. They include the following:

A. Teaching: Foods and nutrition teacher find job’ opportunities in school i.e. secondary schools, Schools of Nursing, Medical Schools etc. Where they impact knowledge to reduce the rate of ignorance about the science of nutrition, effect of malnutrition and encourage good cooking and feeding habits for the maintenance of good health.

B. Dieticians: nutritionist can be employed as dieticians in the hospital to give counselling to patients  who need diet therapy.

C. Food science: Here the nutritionist have studied the basic chemical, bio-chemical, physical and biophysical properties of foods and their constituents, which involved the application of the knowledge of food science to the processing of foods, to the preservation of food, improve flavour texture, appearance and other desirable properties and also deals with production of new local food stuffs.

D. Food Technologies: Food Scientist was involved with the application of knowledge of preservation process and of the food. And as food technologist they are involve with designing equipment and technique for carrying out post harvest storage of food, preservation of processed foods for the production of new foods and labour saving equipment.

E. Community Nutritionist: Here they are involved in enlightening people in the community about the various aspect of Nutrition to promote good health.

F. Catering: Nutritionist set up catering services for self employment and attending to the catering needs of the public during parties, ceremonial occasions and other functions.

Factors Affecting Nutrition

The factors that affect the nutritional requirements of an individual are the quality and quantity of the food they eat, the efficiency of their digestive systems in absorbing and utilizing eaten food and biological availability.

food and nutrition

Factors Affecting Nutrition

Quality Of Food

The quality of food that we cat can vary depending on the soil and growing condition of that food. The nutritional quality of our food can also be affected by the manufacturing process, storage and manufacturing of our foods.


The quality of food that we eat can also influence our traditional status. In developing countries, malnutrition is a huge problem but in developed countries, undernutrition can occur due to dependency on heavy refined processed foods.

Digestive System

The efficiency of our digestive system affects our natural status, bad condition of our intestine will reduce the absorption of digested foods into our blood stream. Metabolic faults, sensitive to certain food and the presence of substances like tea and coffee can affect the absorption rate of certain nutrients.

Nutritional Requirement

Biochemical availability of the optimum range of the intake of a person‘s essential nutritional requirement. This nutritional requirement is influenced by age, growth, sex, pregnancy and breast feeding, illness, psychological and emotional stress, activity level and other factors like smoking and drinking.


Nutritional requirement changes people at old age older because the elderly use a lot of medication. Their absorption, excretion and utilization of nutrients can be affected.

State Of Health

nutritional requirement vary depending on whether someone is healthy or ill, as diseases are unique so are the nutritional requirements needed when the person is ill.

Activity Level

A person’s activity level will affect their nutritional requirements. An athlete will need a different nutritional requirement to that of office workers. Exercise improves metabolic efficiency in some people and increases nutrient requirement.


members of the low income class are at risk of poor nutrition as they may not have access to foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and wholesome grains making it more difficult to get proper nutrition.

Availability Of Food

The availability of food too can affect nutrition when food is scarce, not readily available to individuals to buy due to low harvest or any other relevant reason.


When people are ignorant of their nutritional needs, what to eat, why and where to get it, Ignorance of the importance of nutrition can affect nutritional requirements.


Lack of proper storage facilities to store post harvest foods and even the home storage of processed foods can lead to detoriation of foods which affects nutritional requirements.