Nutritional Density with Farm to Community at Harvest Against Hunger
Nutritional density is a factor that measures how nutritionally rich a food is, using the levels of 14 different vitamins and nutrients. This is a way to effectively measure how “healthy” a food is, “health” being a somewhat nebulous concept when it comes to the complexities of people’s diets. By framing this measurement as nutritional density rather than a level of “health”, it can be easier to understand the actual benefits of certain foods.
For example, many processed foods are energy rich, but nutritionally poor. This is not always something that can be easily understood by looking at a label, so by giving a food a simple, numerical description, meal and purchasing planning can be simplified on both an individual level, and from the perspective of larger organizations like food assistance programs. It also is focused on the nutritional value of a single serving relative to the energy it provides, rather than framing it in terms of minimum daily nutrient prescriptions. This is valuable because not every person’s “healthy” diet is going to look the same (ie, 2000 calories per day), depending on age, weight, family history, etc.
Ideally, this metric can be used to help people make educated decisions about the food they are purchasing and eating, and will help with meal planning and overall nutrition, especially for youngsters. Healthy eating should be as accessible as possible, without having to employ a nutritionist to know what produce is best for your body.