In most organisms, achieving nutritional homeostasis involves a complex interplay between multiple and changing nutrient requirements and variable foods. Long-term evolutionary processes have ensured that animals are equipped with the mechanisms to deal with these complexities, but considerable challenges remain for nutritional biologists wishing to understand these processes. A fundamental question that remains in nutritional biology for example is how distributed systems, in which the components have different needs, can maintain an optimal supply of multiple nutrients essential for life and reproduction. We address this question using organised societies of ants. Discovering the mechanisms that social insects use to acquire, store and use various nutrients is necessary for understanding how they maintain nutritional homeostasis at a collective level. We try to understand how the functional attributes of individual organisms and their variability relate to the dynamic properties of the groups in which they reside.