This page shares our nutrition calculations and considerations for nutritionally balanced vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore meals. They are for food preparation and consumption during remote building projects requiring teams of 6 to 50+ people. These calculations are purposed to provide a template for nutritious, delicious, and diverse meals that can be reproduced affordably, sustainably, and in any location. Our project is using these ratios to build the meal plans for use during construction of the 7 sustainable villages and related infrastructure.
We discuss these calculations and the related meal plans with the following sections:
The benefits of eating healthy food are magnified when meals are nutritionally balanced. All foods contain different ratios of carbohydrates, fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water. Different people’s bodies respond differently to each of these, but there is a general quantity and ratio that research has identified as a good baseline-foundation for those interested in optimal health. Starting with this and fine tuning one’s diet based on energy levels, how long a meal helps a person to feel full, and mental clarity after meals can then help an individual identify exactly what foods and ratios work best for them.
Naturopathic Doctor Matt Marturano helped us clarify the baselines shared on this page. This was done so that we could be sure to provide everything necessary to meet these baselines when creating our daily meal plans for the One Community Transition Food Self-sufficiency Plan. We share his recommendations here and will be providing them for reference to everyone helping on the physical property. Our goal in doing this is to provide the most nutritious (and delicious!), healthy, and balanced meal options possible, with sufficient variety to meet every person’s individual nutritional needs.
While reading this information, it important to understand that there is no static answer to the question of ‘How much food is required?’ or even ‘What is the perfect ratio for me?’ aside from ‘It depends’. With this in mind, Dr. Marturano has provided guidelines and calculations to show us how much food is estimated to be necessary. The detailed calculations for how much this means One Community will need to start with are below that. For more information, we recommend Dr. Marturano’s guide on How to Get All Your Nutrition From Food. It provides an even more detailed and useful explanation on these calculations and how you can create your own low cost, nutritionally dense meal plan.
One Community is dedicated to health and vitality in all things we do. As part of this, we’ve done extensive research into all aspects of holistic and healthy living and designed One Community to be a demonstration of all we’ve learned. Open sourcing our nutritional research (and all aspects of what we do) is purposed to help others replicate and improve upon everything we’re creating and sharing. In so doing, we strive to create a better, healthier, and more sustainable world for ourselves, our friends and family, and the rest of the world too.
Here are the full explanations for the set of proposed principles we adopted in designing our food plan, as suggested by our consultant Dr. Matt Marturano, and which can be adapted to suit the needs of any group:
Meal plans should provide a minimum of 100% of the RDA for all nutrients (vitamins and minerals). For this we referenced the Dietary Reference Intakes as maintained by the United States Institute of Medicine (IOM). Diet ideologies should be discussed secondary to this foundational principle. If a proposed diet strategy is not nutritionally complete then it should be discarded.
Foods should be chosen based primarily upon nutrition density, and secondarily based upon cost per unit.
Balance should be sought between high shelf life items (e.g. dried beans and grains) and fresh vegetables and fruits. Growing/purchasing/trade for these items should be precisely calculated, and recipes optimized for minimal waste.
Each individual member of the group should be responsible for having a basic knowledge and understanding about food, including macronutrient (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) content of food groups. Individuals should also know how to calculate their caloric and macronutrient needs, and understand how these vary according to activity level. We will provide training for this on the property and visual resources/reminders at the food service stations.
Recipes should be straightforward and easily replicable by others.
Recipes should be easily adaptable to changes in group sizes and activity level. Appending different styles (i.e. mediterranean style, asian style, etc.,) can allow for variety while keeping the core recipe ingredients the same and varying the herbs and spices used.
Eating of food is inherently pleasurable, and can be enhanced further through artistry, thoughtful execution, and active appreciation.
Food policy making should seek the highest good by fostering coherence between the different individuals/groups involved in the process: planners, budgeters, growers, shoppers, movers, cooks, cleaners, and eaters.
Here were our final calculations for projected food needs for 50 active 165 pound adults. This is for a group consisting of 40% Omnivore, 30% Vegetarian, and 30% Vegan. Below these we show you the 4 phases of calculations that allowed us to reach these totals:
Below are Dr. Marturano’s four main questions to ask to identify how much food is necessary. We also included the answers that we used in devising the transitional food strategy for One Community.
As these factors will change on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly levels, the key to sustainable nutrition is to have a model that is adaptable to these changing conditions. With this in mind, we’re designing all our core recipes and menu plans to be responsive to these changes. Static answers to the above questions were used though to calculate the baseline needs of the Pioneer group that will be eating during the food transition/preliminary construction phase.
Note: Numbers used in calculations have been rounded for simplicity.
The daily protein needs of an individual varies greatly according to their level of physical activity, between 1.0 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. We will be using the daily requirement for our estimated ‘average’ pioneer, a 165 pound very active person.
Determine what ratio of plant-based to animal-based protein is needed for the group. For One Community’s purposes, initial evaluation estimated a 40% omnivore, 30% vegetarian, and 30% vegan group. Modifications will be made later to adjust for any changes in the group and/or for individual needs. This would give us the following protein requirements:
*NOTE ON DAIRY: 1 serving = 1 cup milk = 1 cup yogurt = 1 oz cheese (avg 7.5 grams of protein per serving)
Now that we see the total average protein needs for the day, we can begin the framework for an omnivore meal plan:
NOTE: This is just an example, it doesn’t need to be this rigid on a day-to-day basis.
So far that brings us to:
= Total calories from protein-containing foods: 2150 calories
and Total calories from additional carbohydrates: 600 calories
The next step is to figure out how much additional carbohydrates we need. We do this by subtracting the amount of calories delivered by the protein-containing foods from the total calories, and converting that into carbohydrate sources.
Now- divide the 600 calories equally into four categories: root vegetables, other vegetables, fresh fruits , and dried fruits.
Based on the work we did above, we add the protein list to the carbohydrate list and we get the following daily needs for an omnivore:
In order to convert the omnivore meal plan to a vegetarian plan, we simply take the 35 grams of protein coming from meat, and distribute that among the other groups:
These numbers were achieved by multiplying the above numbers times 50 people and then times 7 days.
In order to convert the vegetarian meal plan to a vegan plan, we take the protein coming from eggs and dairy, and distribute that among the other groups:
These numbers were achieved by multiplying the above numbers times 50 people and then times 7 days.
These numbers are for a group of 50 people eating for a week and consisting of 40% Omnivore, 30% Vegetarian, and 30% Vegan.
This will serve as the basic foundational framework for meal planning, and interface between the kitchen and food procurement teams, whether growing and/or shopping/trading for food.
The data and calculations for a 50-person group can be used to identify the estimated purchasing volumes for all foods needed to provide nutritionally balanced meals for any sized group with any ratio of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. What they don’t account for though are differing dietary preferences, dietary changes due to season and activity level, or actual menu needs.
To address differing dietary preferences we’ll be providing a food bar at each meal. These food bars will consist of everything needed to supplement the nutritional ratios for the meal of the day, add flavoring, and/or make a sandwich or other alternative meal. These food bars will also include leftovers from the previous meal for anyone who’d prefer that to the current offering.
All members of the team will be educated on the value of a balanced and nutritious diet, how the menus and food bars were created, and how to monitor their individual responses to foods based on their satiety (fullness) after a meal, energy levels, and mental clarity. The nutritional charts on this page will also be present at the food bars as a reminder and reference for people desiring to use them to help maximize the health of their meals.
Dietary changes due to season and activity level will be addressed by monitoring our food consumption and purchasing patterns and adjusting accordingly. The food bars will also help address this by providing additional food for anyone who wants or needs it. We’ll open source share here everything we learn from that process, and how we use what we learn to standardize our food purchasing as much as possible for the future.
To address menu needs, we’re creating and open sourcing the actual menus that will be used too. We’re creating them to be as nutritionally dense as reasonable and we’re then comparing the volumes of the different foods included (vegetables, legumes, nuts, meats, etc.) in those menus to the ratios on this page. Creating 5 days of menus and then doing this allows us to focus our remaining two days of menu creation on using ingredients that turned up as lacking in initial 5-day strategy. We then compare the complete 7-day menu plan to our nutritional-needs calculations again and use this to estimate how much of each food item should be included (at a minimum) as part of the food bars.
By providing this diversity and organizing our food this way, those interested in being proactive in the process will have all they need to make every meal they want maximally balanced and nutritious. We’d expect diversity and planning like this to provide even the people taking a completely passive approach to their dietary selections a more balanced diet than most.
By using the strategies shared above, we have the ability to create a healthy eating environment that is far more nutritions, delicious, and affordable than even most health-conscious people are eating now. This is accomplished through careful planning, providing superior food diversity, locally and homegrown foods, bulk purchasing, and prepared meals that wouldn’t be practical to prepare individually but make perfect sense to invest the time and energy when being prepared for larger groups.
Q: What if someone doesn’t like the meal of the day?
We’ll be providing a food bar at each meal to address this. These food bars will consist of everything needed to add flavoring and/or make a sandwich or other alternative meal. These food bars will also include leftovers from the previous meal for anyone who’d prefer that to the current offering.
Q: What about food allergies?
All foods containing possible food allergens will be labeled as such.
Q: What about snacks?
The food bar foods will be put away but available at all times to make a snack.