The concept of variety is very much ingrained in Filipino culture. Take the Filipino sari-san store (variety store). You can find these small neighborhood retail shops in almost every street and eskinita (alley). Here you can buy all sorts of basic commodities, from food items like cooking oil, sugar, and salt to cleaning supplies like laundry detergents, shampoos, and bath soaps. The Filipino folk song “Bahay Kubo” also speaks of variety. Despite its small size, it houses a wide variety of vegetables in its surroundings. The concept of sari-sari or variety is also a valuable principle in healthy eating. This is proven by all the dietary guidelines of different countries. Dietary guidelines are primary recommendations to promote good health. All of these guidelines point toward eating a variety of foods.
The Philippine Dietary Guidelines expressed in the “Ten Kumainments” has for its No. 1 recommendation “Kumain ng iba’t ibang pagkain” (Eat a variety of foods). Why is eating a variety of foods %, important for a person to be in and health necessary nutrients your body needs? You do not have to worry whether you get your vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, and your calcium, iron, potassium, iodine, iron, and the rest of your minerals from what you are eating. As long as you eat a variety of foods with an assortment of colors from the food groups, you will obtain the necessary nutrients you need. There is no single food that contains all the nutrients. Even milk, which has been tagged as a complete food, is not complete at all. It is deficient in vitamin C and iron.
Children have their preferred or favorite foods. Their food likes, which they will choose to eat at every meal, may include fried chicken, hotdogs, and eggs. These favored foods are nutritious as they are rich in protein but, if eaten solely, will lead to nutrient deficiencies, They are also quite high in cholesterol and bad fats. Healthier options may also be detrimental if eaten without variety. Cancer patients, upon hearing of the healing wonders of carrots as an antioxidant, include them in their breakfast, lunch, and supper. Diabetic patients resort to eating oatmeal three times a day. While it is true that carrots, oats, and other functional foods have nutritional contributions beyond basic nutrition, they should never be overemphasized. Their functional effects are only beneficial if they are part of a varied diet. A supplement advertisement claims that the product provides nutrients from A to zinc, but eating a variety of foods can supply the A to zinc needs of a person in their most natural, delicious, and enjoyable form. An old rhyme [ hear from the old folks says, “Munggo (mung bean) in the coming, munggo in the evening, munggo in the noontime, and munggo every time.” Yes, murigyo is a very nutritious food, but with MUNggoO every Mealtime, who won't get tired and bloated? The concept of variety is simply not met.
So what food is best for the family? A variety of healthy foods eaten together in a happy mood! The wider the variety, the more likely you are to get adequate nutrients.