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Plant Parts You Eat

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

The Science of Plants

During this activity, students observed the following key properties of food.

Consumers depend on producers for food. Green plants and similar organisms produce food for all other living things on Earth. Food provides energy and nutrients for organisms, such as animals, that cannot trap energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Some animals, called primary consumers, eat only plants. Others, known as omnivores, eat plants and animals. Most humans are omnivores. However, some people chose to eat only foods that come from plants. Plant-based foods supply vital nutrients that our bodies cannot make for themselves. These nutrients include vitamins (necessary for the proper functioning of the body), sugars and other carbohydrates (which provide energy), amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), oils (another concentrated energy source), and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.

People rely on many different plants and plant parts for food. Humans consume a remarkable variety of plants and plant parts. The wide variety of foods we eat today originated in different parts of the world. Many foods are derived from plant roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or grains.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932