The Choose Healthy Options Program (CHOP™) is a comprehensive program to promote the acquisition,
distribution and consumption of healthy food through food banks.
There are 4 main goals.
- Optimize quality and quantity of healthy food available through food bank distribution channels.
- Increase consumption of healthy food among nutritionally at-risk food recipients.
- Utilize the CHOP food analysis tool to identify healthy food for acquisition and distribuiton.
- Educate stake holders: consumers, volunteers, agencies, donors, vendors, staff, everyone, on the value and use of food as part of a healthy diet.
The Choose Healthy Options Program (CHOP™) is centered on two main components: the promotion of science-based nutrition as it relates to food bank food and a nutrient analysis tool that calculates a rank for a food based on nutrient quality. Product procurement staff can evaluate a food’s nutritional quality when making acquisition decisions, and agencies can be taught to use the ranks to maximize healthy choices when ordering from the food bank’s inventory. CHOP™ ranks track with each item to provide an easily understood and effective measure that can be used to plan, track and achieve inventory goals for healthy food.
How is Food Analyzed?
CHOP™ analyzes nutrients on the FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label in relation to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and calculates a rank. The concept is a simple one: a food is awarded points for nutrients to encourage and loses them for those to discourage. The rank allows comparison of ‘like foods’ – veggies to veggies, grains to grains, meat to meat, etc. based on the levels of nutrients found in the food.
How can CHOP™ be used at a food bank?
- CHOP™ can be used to develop nutrition policy, set food procurement goals, and measure progress to those goals.
- It can be used to transition donors and vendors from supplying nutritionally poor food to a healthier choice while maintaining costs.
- The nutrition rank tracks with the item and so can be used on an inventory list or menu, in print, on-line, in reports, etc.
- Acquisition and distribution of healthy food can be analyzed by year, month, item, pound or program, by the goals that are set.
- Agency order history with ranks can be used to show agencies how nutritious their distribution is and guide them to making healthy choices when ordering from inventory.
CHOP™ has 3 basic messages:
- There are everyday and sometimes foods.
- Food choices can contribute to health or illness.
- You can learn how to make healthy choices.
1 – choose frequently
2 – choose moderately
3 – choose sparigly
MC – minimal contribution
NR – not rated
NF – non food