Written by Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND
Here’s a peak into my fridge. I’m lucky to have nutritious food on hand always. In addition to what you see here, I have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, salmon, eggs and a packed freezer and pantry. Yet there are many in our community who have little to eat and even less health-boosting foods. Over the years, I’ve worked with many patients and clients who rely on donations for food. Though grateful for what they were given, many have indicated that they wished for the foods they knew to nourish their bodies and those of their families. Boxes of macaroni and cheese, leftover Halloween candy and the like are not what food banks need.
Pick up some groceries for a local food drive or food pantry. Here are several that I recommend.
Nuts and nut butters: Peanut butter, almond butter, bags of mixed nuts, pistachios, almonds or any nut.
Canned (or pouched) fish and meats: Tuna, salmon, sardines and chicken.
Canned or dried beans: Select both regular and low sodium varieties.
Hearty soups: Include those with lots of health-promoting beans and vegetables.
Canned fruits and vegetables: Choose fruits with little or no added sugars and vegetables without sauces.
Vegetable juice: Be sure that it’s 100% vegetables.
Dried fruit: Choose either one type of dried fruit or a mixture, but avoid those with added sugars.
Breakfast cereals: High fiber, low sugar options are best. Oatmeal is always a winner this time of year.
Grains: Brown and wild rice, quinoa, barley and wheat berries are whole grains packed with nutrients. Feel free to select a few processed grains too like pasta and white rice, but leave the seasoned, sauced and high-sodium varieties in the store.
Pasta sauce: Look for those with little added sugars and only moderate sodium content.
Milk: Fluid milk isn’t ideal for a food drive, but your donation to The Great American Milk Drive is a way to make it available to those in need.
Thanks for your generosity.
Happy, healthy eating!