Dusty boxes of mac and cheese, dented cans of ravioli and baked beans, creamed corn and cake mix past their expiration date. Although these may not sound appetizing, these are the types of items that are commonly donated to food pantries, especially during holiday food drives. If you’re considering donating to a food pantry this year, consider the following strategies to do so with mindfulness, intention and respect.
Four things to consider
- No glass: Food pantries cannot take products in glass containers.
- Avoid jumbo-sized products: These weigh down the bags and boxes, and often cannot be distributed.
- Check the expiration date: Food pantries cannot accept or distribute expired foods.
- Ask what’s needed: Call your local food bank and ask if they need specific items.
Donating Ochnser Eat Fit style
Just because a food is nutritious doesn’t mean it has to be pricey – or that it can’t taste good. Examples of nutritious nonperishable items include:
- Brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, oats
- Beans and lentils, dried or canned (preferably low sodium or with no added salt)
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Natural peanut butter
- Low-sodium canned soups
- Canned veggies with no salt added
- Canned fruits with no sugar added
- Plant-based oils such as olive oil or non-GMO olive oil (in plastic, not glass)
- Low sodium seasoning, dried herbs, spices
To schedule a nutrition consult, whether virtually or in-person, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 504-733-1600.
Check out the Food Dignity Podcast: Best Donations for a Food Drive, featuring Ochsner Eat Fit Acadiana Registered Dietitian Yvette Quantz.
The bottom line: What we give matters. Donate mindfully, with respect and care.
Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on WGNO.com.