grocery bagMy boys school launched a big food drive a few weeks ago. There was even a sculpture building contest with all of the collected cans and boxes! On Halloween night, we sometimes have big kids ring our bell asking for donations to the food bank. I wanted to take a moment to thank all those that give and collect food for those in need. It absolutely warms my heart how a community pulls together and takes care of each other. I get teary eyed just thinking about it actually.

The food drive got me thinking about something. When I share something, is it out of obligation or out of a generous heart? Do I share the things that I no longer want, or do I share the things that I would like to receive?

Here is my confession… When I was pulling food from my pantry to share with the food drive, the thought entered my mind – don’t give that away, we like it and will use it. It made me stop in my tracks. That is precisely the reason that I should give it away! Sometimes we have a tendency to give away the things we no longer want or find useful. Instead we should be giving away from our best, to share with those in less fortunate situations, whether it is our time, clothing or in this case food.

Since nutrition is my expertise, I thought I would make a few suggestions for sharing with the food bank. Food should be nutrient dense and taste good. While a box of macaroni and cheese is easy and quick, it lacks the nutrient value that builds healthy bodies. It is also relatively inexpensive, which means it is likely already a regularly occurring meal in the home. Since many of the food bank recipients include children, we want to share food that supports a growing mind and body.

Food Bank Shopping List:

-Whole grain pasta
-Pasta sauce
-Canned tomatoes
-Natural unsweetened peanut butter
-Canned or dried beans & lentils
-Canned fruit in juice, not syrup
-Whole grain crackers, plain Triscuits are one of my favourites
-Canned tuna or salmon
-Brown rice
-Hot & cold cereals that are low in sugar, Cheerios, Shreddies, Oatmeal
-Jarred baby food

This post first appeared in the Elmira Independent on Friday, November 7, 2014.