Since an unbalanced excess of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) causes various diseases, determination of antioxidants that can counter oxidative stress is important in food and biological analyses. Optical/electrochemical nanosensors have attracted attention in antioxidant activity (AOA) assessment because of their increased sensitivity and selectivity. Optical sensors offer advantages such as low cost, flexibility, remote control, speed, miniaturization and on-site/in situ analysis. Electrochemical sensors using noble metal nanoparticles on modified electrodes better catalyze bioelectrochemical reactions. We summarize the design principles of colorimetric sensors and nanoprobes for food antioxidants (including electron-transfer based and ROS/RNS scavenging assays) and important milestones contributed by our laboratory. We present novel sensors and nanoprobes together with their mechanisms and analytical performances. Our colorimetric sensors for AOA measurement made use of cupric-neocuproine and ferric-phenanthroline complexes immobilized on a Nafion membrane. We recently designed an optical oxidant/antioxidant sensor using N, N-dimethyl-p-phenylene diamine (DMPD) as probe, from which ROS produced colored DMPD-quinone cationic radicals electrostatically retained on a Nafion membrane. The attenuation of initial color by antioxidants enabled indirect AOA estimation. The surface plasmon resonance absorption of silver nanoparticles as a result of enlargement of citrate-reduced seed particles by antioxidant addition enabled a linear response of AOA. We determined biothiols with Ellman reagent derivatized gold nanoparticles.