As we come up on the holiday season, we have many opportunities to give to food drives and our local food pantries. The recent issues, however, are not the quantity alone, but the quality of the food donated.
Not to fear, however! Healthy donations do not need to be pricey. Instead of tossing a package of Ramen noodles in a food drive cart, trade it in for low-sodium canned soup or pinto beans for the same price!
Many commonly donated items are very high in sodium, sugar and calories. More and more folks consistently depend on these donations, many of whom have diet-related health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Take Dorothy Jones, a 63-year-old diabetic who relies on food donations to get by in Milwaukee. She asks that we resist the impulse to lift spirits with cookies and treats.
“To be honest, I’d rather have fruit.”
Although perishables aren’t accepted at many food pantries, these produce needs are being met through suppliers, rather than by individual donors. Instead of things that can spoil, grab something from this list of recommended donations this year!
- Low-sugar cereal such as Cheeriors or Chex;
- Peanut butter;
- Cans or plastic containers of juice (make sure it’s 100% juice, though!)
- Canned vegetables, any variety, marked light or low-sodium;
- Bags of pinto or black beans;
- Canned tuna fish;
- Powdered milk fortified with Vitamin D.
Donations to Avoid
- Foods high in sodium, fat, oils, or sugar;
- Chips, candy, cookies, and crackers;
- Sugary beverages;
- Items in glass bottles;
- Items that are expired or in damaged packaging.
All in all, when you donate to a church, school, or grocery store food drive, ask yourself, “Would I serve this to my family?”
Happy Holidays and Happy Giving!