Good nutrition for the whole family

Gender equalityNutrition

Notes to broadcasters

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Different family members have different nutritional needs. For example, children need lots of protein, energy, vitamins and minerals for growing bones and teeth, and healthy eyes, hair and skin. Young children require frequent small meals because their stomachs are small. Elderly people also require frequent small meals, including a variety of high-energy foods. Pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding, need to have carefully balanced diets that include extra iron for their own health, and the well-being of their babies. Everyone including men, women and children need to eat a variety of foods every day for good health.

Note: When translating Spot #3, try to make it sound like a rhyme or poem.

You may wish to provide more in-depth programming on related topics, such as:

  • The vitamin and mineral content of different foods. Interview a local nutritionist.
  • Methods of processing, preserving and preparing foods to preserve nutrients.
  • Traditional foods are nutritious.
  • Nutrition in schools. Find out if any local schools have special snack or meal programs for children. Interview a teacher or school administrator about nutrition at school.


Spot #1: Eat a balanced diet to grow and stay healthy

Did you know that your body is something like a crop?
A crop needs the proper nutrients to grow, and stay healthy.
So does your body.
From seed to harvest, a crop takes nutrients from the soil or fertilizer.
In the womb, as a baby, you took nutrients from your mother’s milk.
Throughout life, you take nutrients from the foods you eat.
To get all the nutrients you need, eat a variety of foods every day.
Eat a combination of meats, fish, grains, tubers, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
A variety of foods keep you strong and healthy, like a good crop!

Spot #2: Traditional foods have special benefits

Do you value our traditional foods?
Some traditional foods have been growing here in our community for a long time.
Our ancestors began to cultivate them.
Some examples of our traditional foods are cassava, yam, sweet potato, millet and sorghum. (Use examples of local foods in your region.)
And many of the foods used in relishes and sauces – legumes, oilseeds, and local fruits, and vegetables.
We should value our traditional foods.
They grow well in our climate.
And they add important nutrients to our diet.

Spot #3: Choose healthy snack foods

Boy, Mother, Grandmother:
One, two, three! What snacks are good for me?
I’m young.
I’m old.

I’m in between.

I’m young and growing rapidly.
I need a lot of energy and protein.
Some days, I stay at school to eat.
My mother packs a snack or treat.

I give my family healthy foods.
Among the snack foods, I include:
Roasted yams and sweet potatoes
Roasted nuts and legume seeds

Don’t forget groundnuts and chickpeas,
And fried cakes of cowpea or melon seed.
Cooked breadfruit and bananas,
Mangoes, guavas and papaya!

Mmmmm. Delicious!

Boy, Mother, Grandmother:
One, two, three!
All snack foods should be healthy!

Spot #4: Pregnant women need extra food energy

If you are pregnant, you need to eat plenty of nutritious foods.
These foods will supply the nutrients for the baby growing inside you.
You need extra energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Your body also needs iron.
And when you’re pregnant it’s usually difficult to get all of the iron you need from the foods you eat so you might need to take iron supplements.
Ask your health worker or a nutritionist or doctor about how to get extra iron.
If you are pregnant, eat well, and get regular medical checks.

Spot #5: Eat well when breastfeeding




Hello, Kali! Dear, are you alright? You look exhausted.

I have so little energy, Mother. After I feed the baby, all I want to do is sleep.

Hmmm. Are you eating well? It’s very important for you to eat a lot of nutritious foods, especially when you are breastfeeding. I learned that lesson when I was breastfeeding you.

But, I thought proper eating was only important when I was pregnant. You’re saying it’s also important now.

Yes. You need the most nutritious foods now – when you are breastfeeding. You see, your baby is taking nutrients from your breastmilk. So it is very important that you eat well from a variety of nutritious foods, and drink enough water, to keep both you and the baby well nourished.

Mother, you have always been so wise. I can see that I need to think again about my diet.

Lucky for you I brought some sweet potato soup, and some fruits and vegetables from my garden. You must take the time to eat well, for the health of you and your baby.



Written by Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada.

Reviewed by Hélène Delisle, Department of Nutrition, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.