Our Vegetable Advisor makes personal recommendations using a 5-step process:
STEP 1: We take each of your vegetable selections, the frequency you eat each selection, and convert each selection into servings/day. For example, if you eat green peas once per week, we convert that frequency into 0.14 servings/day (1serving/7 days).
STEP 2: We add up your total vegetable servings per day and each of your subgroup servings per day. Subgroups include green vegetables, yellow/orange vegetables, red/purple vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and allium vegetables.
STEP 3: We calculate the daily calorie intake provided by your personal vegetable selections as well as daily intake levels for 18 nutrients provided by your selections. These nutrients include 11 vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, choline, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E) and 7 minerals (calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc).
STEP 4: We determine which nutrient intake levels fall below 60% of our WHFoods recommended daily amounts, and exactly how far below 60% they fall. For example, a person's current vegetable intake might provide 45% of our daily recommended calcium, but only 5% of our daily recommended zinc. In this case, current calcium intake from vegetables would fall 15% below a 60% level, and current zinc intake from vegetables would fall 55% below. Our Vegetable Advisor takes these current intake levels into account and evaluates how helpful different vegetables can be for bringing all nutrient percentages that fall below a 60% level up to that level.
Some people have asked us why we don't use 100% of daily recommended intake as our standard in the Vegetable Advisor. Our reason here is simple: the Vegetable Advisor looks exclusively at a person's vegetable intake. At WHFoods, we develop our recipes and meal plans not only from the vegetable food group but also from 7 other food groups (fruits, beans & legumes, nuts & seeds, seafood, poultry & meats, eggs & dairy, and grains), and we believe that most people will not have trouble getting 40% of their total nutrient needs from these additional food groups. Of course, these percentages also demonstrate just how much we rely on the outstanding nutrient richness of vegetables!
STEP 5: We divide up our vegetable recommendations into two categories: vegetables that you currently eat, and vegetables that you describe as "never or almost never" eaten. By separating all vegetables into these categories, we are able to recommend the most helpful new vegetables for you to try, as well as the best vegetables for you to increase from the group of vegetables that you already eat.
On our website you can find complete profiles for all of our WHF vegetables. You can also find complete profiles for all of our nutrients, including our WHF recommended daily intake levels.