During this time of year, canned food drives can pop up anywhere. Schools, government buildings, and even grocery stores all seem to call to the community to look through their pantry for food to give to the needy. Even bringing a can of that popular processed meat product to the next party could get you a discount at the door and make yourself feel good, since you’re saving some dough and putting food in hungry stomachs. This time of year has the biggest push for food drives, because while some are stocking up for a glorious Thanksgiving feast, other people barely have any food to eat. But if you’re on that good karma tip and want to help folks fight hunger, try to focus on donating food that also nourishes the body. With a little research, you CAN donate healthy!
In an ideal world, we would be able to donate fresh, organic produce and whole grains to the needy, but realistically, it’s difficult to manage. Canned foods are the next best thing because they’re easy to collect, store, and distribute. The foods won’t spoil because they’re non-perishable, and the food can usually be eaten straight from the can! But just like there’s so much junk food out there spoiling our kids (and even ourselves), there’s just as much junk spoiling the needy. If someone is hungry, any food will fill up their stomach, but it won’t necessarily help anything else. Chances are, the needy don’t have access to proper health care, so providing the right food can prevent more health problems. Try these tips for donating healthier foods to the community:
- Go for fruits and vegetables. Almost every fruit or vegetable can be found in a can or jar. As always, fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals for the body. Canned foods are also great for fruits and veggies that aren’t local or in season.
- Read the label. Most vegetables are cooked in salt and water, so go for the low-sodium kind. Fruits are also usually modified with added sugars. Read the label to make sure that high fructose corn syrup is not used as the sweetener.
- If you can’t pronounce it, don’t donate it. Some canned foods use preservatives and/or artificial color for their food. These chemicals belong in a lab, not in our food.
- Look for fiber. Foods that are high in fiber will keep the stomach feeling full. Perfect for someone who needs to stretch their meals.
- Go for the O. Organic foods might cost a few cents more, but they’re pesticide-free!
While you’re out diggin’ in your pantry for donation foods, make sure you clean out your fridge this Sunday because it’s National Clean Out Your Fridge Day! Make sure to apply the same principals not only to what you donate, but also to what you eat for yourself.
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