If you hear the call to donate non-perishable foods, which means foods that do not require refrigeration, these are some items that food banks are always looking for.

Nonperishable food donations for a food bank

Food Bank Drive

It is unfortunate that almost every community in this country have people and families who go hungry – they simply do not have enough money to pay for food. Fortunately most communities have organizations that can provide free food and assistance during those troublesome times. You have probably seen or participated in food drives. If you hear the call to donate non-perishable foods, which means foods that do not require refrigeration, these are some items that food banks are always looking for.

Protein Foods

  • Canned tuna, salmon and sardines
  • Hearty meat-based canned soups or stews
  • Nut butters such as peanut and almonds butters
  • Bags and cans of dried beans and peas

Starchy Foods

  • Whole-grain cereals: oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits, Cheerios, Total
  • Bags or boxes of plain rice and pasta
  • Barley and quinoa

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Canned only: light-packed fruit and low-sodium vegetables

Many food banks are able to purchase fresh meats, eggs, milk, butter, fresh bread, fruits and vegetables to include in their food bags that go to needy clients. The nonperishable foods that I mentioned for donation are packed with good nutrition.

Dried beans and peas are the basis for many nutritious vegetarian, high-protein meals such as bean soup or beans and rice. Tuna noodle casserole or salmon cakes are inexpensive and tasty protein options using canned fish. Believe it or not, canned vegetables have the same nutritional content as the fresh or frozen varieties. If packed with salt, simply rinse off the liquid to lower the sodium. There isn’t a healthier hot cereal than good 'ole oatmeal.

So next time you see a food donation box or barrel, you will have an idea of good nonperishable donation options.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.