Healthy Food to Donate During the Holidays

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According to a recent Feeding America “Hunger in America” study, 79% of people who visit food pantries have to purchase inexpensive and unhealthy foods just to make ends meet. When making your donation this holiday season, food banks request that donors focus on non-perishable, whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods to help people create healthy meals.

“When collecting food for your donation, keep in mind that most people can benefit from nutrient-rich food items that are lower in sodium and added sugar, and high in protein, healthy fats and whole grains instead,” says Ochsner Fitness Center registered dietitian Molly Kimball, RD, CSS.

Here’s a list of what food banks really need:


  • Canned meat (tuna and chicken)
  • Dried beans, lentils or peas
  • Canned beans
  • Canned chili
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Nuts
  • Canned soups/stews

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Shelf-stable vegetable juice
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Spaghetti Sauce without meat
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned vegetables


  • Shelf-stable unsweetened almond milk
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Dry Milk

Cooking Oil:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut Oil


  • Low-sugar/high-fiber cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta: whole grain, lentil, chickpea
  • Whole grain rice
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole wheat flour

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