What is Healthy Food?

Minnesota Food Charter participants have different ideas about healthy food and what it means to them. It’s important to have a food supply that can meet these diverse needs, definitions, and interests. Here are ways that people think about the question, “What is healthy food?”
Almost all packaged food products in the grocery store are required to follow FDA (Food and Drug Administration) nutrition labeling regulations. These regulations include a specific definition for the term “healthy.” Any food labeled as “healthy” must meet criteria for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and contain beneficial nutrients.
Amy Loew
Registered Dietitian and Senior Nutrition Scientist, General Mills
Healthy food works in an intricate, complex way with not only our bodies, but also with our culture, ceremony, traditions, family, and societal structures. It is a daily partner in everyday life, taking care of us as we take care of it.
Simone Senogles
Food Sovereignty, Safety and Health Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network
Healthy food means access for everyone to a diverse selection of nutritious foods that are sustainably grown, harvested and minimally processed close to home. Healthy food nourishes our bodies, cultures, communities, animals, soil, and environment.
Mary Jo Forbord
Farmer and Registered Dietitian
Healthy food means fresh, unprocessed, local foods that you have to wash to eat. It means foods that have less than 10 ingredients and no ingredients you can’t pronounce. It means a connection to the source of your food, having access to beneficial, culturally-specific foods and having a safe place to enjoy them with your family and loved ones.
Devon Nolen
Food Activist; Farmers Market Manager, West Broadway Farmers Market
Broccoli, beans, vegetables and fruit, and not sugar. It’s just the opposite of unhealthy food. It’s good for you, because it makes you healthy. It makes you have a healthy body.
Age 11

Some Food Charter participants look to government definitions, others look to their cultural traditions and teachings, or to favorite thinkers whose vision mirrors their values and perceptions.