Just Released: Nutrition in Food Banking Toolkit

by Jessica Hager, AM Director, Healthcare Partnerships & Nutrition, Feeding America

Feeding America is excited to release the Nutrition in Food Banking Toolkit, a resource which aims to support food banks and food pantry programs as you work to address food insecurity and the overlapping challenges posed by structural inequities often preventing the selection and consumption of nutritious foods 

The Toolkit – an evolving asset – is currently composed of three main sections, each focused on a different aspect of the charitable food system. Healthy Eating Research (HER) Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System provides recommendations to improve the quality of food in food banks and food pantries in order to increase access to healthier foods for households experiencingApplying an Intercultural Competency Lens provides insights and recommendations for developing nutrition-related intercultural competence at the organizational, partner and individual levelsRole of Food Bank Nutrition Policies: A Guide to Action provides food banks with strategies to achieve nutrition policies that lead to a more nutritious food supply. 

Coming Summer 2021 will be additional sections, including but not limited to an implementation guide for food banks looking to integrate HER Nutrition Guidelines into food bank inventory systems (e.g., CERES and Primarius) and agency ordering platforms (e.g., Agency Express). Feeding America will also continue to evaluate and act on opportunities that remove barriers often limiting the selection and consumption of nutritious foods, and expand Feeding America’s research and tools supporting dignity, choice and “nutrition nudges” in pantries. 

The release of this Toolkit could not have been possible without the input and expertise provided by Feeding America’s Nutritious Food Revisioning Task Force, made up of more than a dozen food banks* and national organization staff, and partnering organizations. Toolkit partners include Healthy Eating Research; CDC’s Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network; UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; University of California Nutrition Policy Institute; MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Partnership for a Healthier America; and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

Along with the publication of the Toolkit, Feeding America is awarding $1.2 million in grants to three dozen network member food banks to support the implementation of the Toolkit at the local level. We look forward to the progress that will take place in the months ahead, and then sharing new learnings and guidance through the further refinement of Toolkit sections.  

For food banks looking to engage with network member peers on this body of work, join us on Yammer. We welcome all others to sign up for the Hunger + Health Digest where future releases will be announced, or bookmark the related FAQ where updates will be shared. 

*Food banks represented on Nutritious Food Revisioning Task Force: 

All Faiths Food Bank 
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank 
Feeding Westchester 
Foodlink, Inc. 
Gleaners Food Bank 
Good Shepherd Food Bank 
Harvesters – The Community Food Network 
Hoosier Hills Food Bank 
Houston Food Bank 
Montana Food Bank Network 
Roadrunner Food Bank 


For more than a decade, Jessica Hager has been focused on social determinants of health, namely food security, and currently serves as director, healthcare partnerships and nutrition at Feeding America. Her work has centered on the development and execution of a national strategy aimed at improving food security through cross-sector partnerships, applied research, and hunger-relief sector transformation. Hager is a proponent and lifelong student of working with communities to illuminate and interrupt systemic barriers hindering humanity’s progress to ensuring dignity and basic needs for all. She served as co-lead to the inaugural diversity, equity and inclusion planning team at Feeding America, laying a foundation for evaluation and systems-level change within the organization. She also serves on the board of directors at enfleshed, a national non-profit focused on the centering of marginalized experiences, conversations and communities. Currently a resident of Chicago with her wife and pup, Hager previously resided in Texas where she was an active member of Austin’s non-profit sector. She holds a MA in Social Work from University of Chicago and BA in Communication Studies from Southwestern University.