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‘Tis the season of giving, but will the food donations at your local turkey trot hurt more than help?
This holiday season, millions of Americans will rely on their local food bank or pantry to put food on the table. However, many of the items these organizations receive and then give out are highly processed and high in unhealthy fat, sugar and sodium. These limited options increase the likelihood of health conditions like obesity, diabetes and hypertension, in food pantry clients, an already at-risk population.
SuperFood Drive, a nonprofit committed to improving the health of the hungry, wants to ensure food pantries are not just providing food, but nourishment for their clients to thrive. And that change begins with what we are donating. SuperFood Drive challenges people to stop simply grabbing whatever it is the back of our pantries, and make a more conscious effort in what we are supplying for our neighbors in need.
Contrary to popular belief, donating healthy foods is actually rather simple and less expensive than purchasing unhealthy options. Below are 5 nourishing food items to donate to your local food bank to ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday.
- Lean protein – Quality protein can be hard to come by when relying on food banks. Donate canned tuna, salmon and sardines to provide this staple nutrient which should take up about one-fourth of each meal. Excellent vegetarian protein sources include beans and lentils.
- Whole grains – Essential for micronutrients and fiber, whole grains are the foundation of a healthy meal. Brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa and rolled oats are a few whole grains that are easy to prepare, diverse in recipe options and healthy for sustained energy.
- Holiday spices – Key ingredients in seasonal recipes, cinnamon and nutmeg help monitor blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Donating these special spices can help keep holiday food traditions alive.
- Packaged raw nuts – Nuts such as walnuts and almonds add healthy fats and protein to traditional holiday meals. They’re also a quick and easy snack option without unnecessarily high amounts of sodium or sugar.
- Coconut oil – Many holiday baking recipes call for butter or margarine. Coconut oil, which can be substituted at an equal measurement, is a great alternative can help lower the risk of heart disease.
For more information on how to give the gift of health this holiday season, visit superfooddrive.org.