Nutrients in Food

9SCIE - Energy for Life

Finn LeSueur


Ngā Whāinga Ako

  • Be able to list the major nutrients found in food
  • Be able to say what each nutrient is used for

Food is a daily necessity.

Without food organisms will eventually die!

The process of acquiring, digesting and using food is called nutrition


There are four main nurtients the body needs:

  1. Carbohydrates,
  2. proteins,
  3. lipids,
  4. vitamins & minerals


  • Carbohydrates are sugars and starches which are mostly found in plant tissues
  • They provide an immediate source of energy.
  • Sugars are small molecules found in fruits
  • Starches are long molecules found in cereals, potatoes and rice
  • Starches are long repeating chains of sugars

  • The long chains of carbohydrates are broken down into the smaller sugar mocules by the body
  • The small (sugar) molecules from carbohydrates are used by the body to release energy and make the body work


  • Proteins are long chain molecules made of amino acid units
  • Proteins are used in the construction of new cells for growth and repair
  • They also control reactions in our body (enzymes)


  • Lipids include fats and oils and are made of fatty acids
  • Our bodies store energy as lipids
  • Lipids help keep the body warm and are used in making cell membranes

Which foods are rich in each nutrient?


  • Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally
  • Some vitamins can be made in our body (vitamin D and K) but most are acquired through our diet

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

  • Found in citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet and white potatoes
  • Promotes a healthy immune system, helps wounds heal, maintains connective tissue and aids in the absorption of iron

Vitamin B12

  • Found in eggs, milk, cheese, shellfish, meat and poultry
  • It is important for metabolism, the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of the central nervous system which includes brain and spinal cord

Vitamin E

  • Found in corn, nuts, olives, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and wheat germ
  • Protects cell membranes and tissues from damage, aids in the formation of red blood cells

Vitamin A

  • Found in animal sources such as eggs, meat and diary products
  • Beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A comes from green leafy vegetables and intensely colored fruits and vegetables
  • Use in maintenance of tissue in the eyes, growth and healthy of skin and mucous membranes, development of teeth and skeletal tissue

Vitamin K

  • Found in cabbage, cauliflower spinach and other green leafy vegetables as well as cereals
  • Helps blood clotting

Vitamin D

  • The body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun
  • Found in cheese, butter, margarine, fortified milk, fish and fortified cereals
  • Promotes absorption of calcium, essential to development of healthy bones and teeth


Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms other than C, H, O and N.


  • Fibre refers to the indigestible portion of plant foods.
  • Pushes food through the digestive system, absorbs water and eases defecation.

Task: Match these up!

Nutrient Use
Minerals Small amounts for cells to work properly
Proteins Energy and to make cell membranes
Carbohydrates In small amounts to make chemicals
Water Energy
Vitamins Growth and repair
Fibre Chemical reactions and for transport
Fats To keep the bowels working properly

Task: Who has the most nutritious snack?

Find a wrapped snack in your bag with a food label - have a look at the ingredients, move around the classroom and try find the person with the most nutritious snack!