Yesterday I wrote about buying groceries and the agony of going to a grocery store for Thanksgiving shopping. Sadly, there are many out there who would love to go to the grocery store but don’t have the means or money to do so. Although I detest going grocery shopping, I’m forever grateful that I am able to buy all the food my family will share and enjoy on Thursday.
As with so many of you, I’m also cooking for those less fortunate. The holidays are a popular time to do so and the menu is pretty much set this time of year, but the hungry and the homeless need food 12 months a year so if you’re not buying turkeys and potatoes, here are some recommendations of what’s best to pick when giving groceries.
For a protein, think canned tuna packed in water. The cans are inexpensive and small and three ounces of tuna supplies a whopping 20 grams of protein and other heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients.
Vegetables are hard to come by in food banks but one sure winner is canned pumpkin. As opposed to other canned veggies that are high in sodium, canned pumpkin is very low in salt and is a good source of fiber. No need to bake it either, as it can be added to oatmeal, yogurt, and a host of other foods and provides more than 200 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A. And, it’s not for Thanksgiving only!
Like vegetables, fresh fruits aren’t often found on a food bank shelf. So, instead of donating a can of sugar and syrup-filled canned fruit, how about choosing a jar of sugar free applesauce?
Water is of course an always in-demand beverage for donations and milk is always one of a food bank’s most requested items, but as I wrote yesterday, it’s hard to keep fresh for long periods of time. Instead, think about giving unsweetened boxed almond milk, which can stay on a shelf until it’s opened and has both Vitamin D and calcium, two nutrients people who are hungry lack most often.
Finally, don’t forget condiments but in this case skip the ketchup, which has added sugar. Instead, go for mustard, which doesn’t have sugar and through the mustard seed, has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
So as you sit down to gobble on turkey and all the trimmings this Thursday, remember the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, but also the “giving.”