20 Items Food Banks Need the Most (and 3 Things to…

first_img Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Second Harvest Food Bank, photo from 2017 Please enter your comment!  When you give to your local food bank, make sure you’re stocking their shelves with what they really need—and avoid what they don’tBy Elizabeth Russell and published on the Second Harvest Food Bank blog page LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here TAGSSecond Harvest Food Bank Previous articleThoughts and prayers should be followed by actionNext articleFlorida Hospital Apopka still hiring Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Anatomy of Fear ‘Tis the season for thanks and giving. As you gear up for your own feast, help others who are struggling to fill their pantries each day. Next time you’re at the grocery store, use the food bank wish list from Feeding America to fill your cart with a few non-perishable items for others, and thanks will surely come your way.1. ApplesaucePlastic jars of unsweetened applesauce provide a quick snack, fiber and vitamin C. Applesauce also keeps well on food bank shelves.2. Canned BeansLoaded with protein and fiber, canned beans provide an excellent, nutritious way to fill a hungry tummy. Opt for the low-sodium varieties whenever possible.3. Canned ChickenIt’s simple to toss this non-perishable item into soups and casseroles or add it to a sandwich or cracker. Its versatility and high protein content make it a popular item at food banks.4. Canned Fish (Tuna and Salmon)Canned fish has vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and it makes for a quick and easy meal. Food banks are most in need of canned tuna and salmon.5. Canned Meat (SPAM and Ham)Grab some SPAM or canned ham and drop it into a food donation bin. It’s shelf-stable, doesn’t require much prep or equipment to eat, and delivers a quick hit of protein to keep individuals feeling full for longer.6. Canned VegetablesColorful, nutrient-dense and fiber-rich vegetables are always in high demand, and canned varieties last the longest on a food bank’s shelves. Look for low-sodium options. Food banks often hand out recipes using the items they have. Consider including this recipe for a hearty casserole made with canned veggies along with your donation for the food pantry to share.7. Cooking Oils (Olive and Canola)Food banks rely heavily on these essential and pricier items being donated. Canola and olive oils are the best choices because of their monounsaturated fats and mild flavor. Our guide to cooking oils can help make sure you’re buying the healthiest options.8. CrackersPerfect as a snack or as a base for canned meats, crackers are shelf-stable and portable, making them ideal for snacks and lunches. Whole grain crackers are the best bet.9. Dried Herbs and SpicesIt’s hard to cook a tasty meal without herbs and spices, so drop some in your cart to donate. Stick to the basics, like oregano, basil, cumin, pepper, rosemary, thyme and cinnamon.10. Fruit (Canned or Dried)Fruit, whether dried, canned or in plastic cups, makes excellent snacks for kids and adults and provide some nutrition and fiber. Choose those that are packed in water or fruit juice rather than sugary syrups.11. Granola BarsFood banks are always in need of quick and easy items that families can toss into lunches or eat on the go, and granola bars are just the thing. Look for ones with less sugar made with oats or other whole grains.12. Instant Mashed PotatoesInstant potatoes last longer and require minimal tools and ingredients to whip up. They’re also a favorite of every age group, making them a popular item. Pass on this recipe for instant potatoes jazzed up with garlic powder for the food bank to share with its visitors (and send along some garlic powder too).13. Meals in a BoxAn entire meal that’s shelf-stable and in one package—dinner doesn’t get easier than that, which is plus for those without stocked kitchens. Look for pasta, rice and soup kits, especially those that are lower in sodium and higher in fiber and protein.14. NutsA handful of nuts provides protein and nutrients in a hurry and is perfect for snacks and lunches. Food banks have a hard time finding them due to their higher price, so donations are essential. Opt for unsalted varieties when possible.15. PastaThis is a food bank staple since it’s easy to turn into a meal. Whole grain varieties offer more fiber and nutrition than white pasta.16. Peanut ButterKids and adults like it, and it’s high in protein, making peanut butter one of the most popular items at food banks. Look for varieties that are lower in sugar, and check out our editors’ list of the best tasting picks.17. RiceIt’s filling, versatile and easy to prepare and store. Skip the white stuff and donate brown rice when possible, because it provides more fiber. Quinoa is also a great item to donate.18. Shelf-stable and Powdered MilkBecause no fridge is required to keep this milk fresh, it’s accessible for everyone. Plus, it provides much-needed calcium and protein.19. Soup, Stew and ChiliThese canned or packaged items acts as a warm and filling lunch or dinner and often come complete with protein (meat) and veggies. If possible, try to find reduced sodium options.20. Whole Grain CerealHere’s another popular item with all ages, since whole grain cereal makes a healthy breakfast or snack. Select varieties that are low in sugar and high in fiber.Photo: Shutterstock / mangostockAnd three to skip? When purchasing items for a food bank, try to avoid:junk fooditems with glass or cellophane packaging, which can be broken in transitthings that need can openers or special equipment (pop-top cans–whether for veggies, meat or fruit–are a plus)Photo: Shutterstock / michelmondNow all that’s left to do is shop, donate and feel good knowing you’ve helped stock a home with nutritious and filling groceries. Thumbs way up!Find a food bank near you at feedingamerica.org. Please enter your name here Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.last_img read more