October 28, 2008

A Nutrition Minute: What's in our Food Pantry, anyway?

by Sharon Gruber, Nutrition Consultant.

We’re truly excited about the progress we have made in providing healthier food to our food pantry clients. And the bags are only going to get healthier. Today, you’ll see that each bag has fresh produce, and that we’ve cut down on the processed carbs, heavy syrups, sodium, and transfats. We’ve still got a ways to go, as it takes time to find consistent supplies of healthier items in the quantity we need, but the progress is undeniable. (Can you tell we’re proud?)
In a bag I checked at random last week, I found the following:

2 oranges
1 apple
2 lbs of ham (uncured, naturally smoked, nitrate-free)
1 lb of pineapple in pineapple juice
1 lb of enriched white rice
18 oz of peanut butter
14.5 oz of turkey broth
15 oz of cut yams
14.5 oz of sliced carrots
15 oz pizza sauce
15 oz mixed vegetables
14.5 oz green beans
16 oz sliced chicken bologna

In the coming months, all or almost all of the vegetables should be low-sodium or salt-free, the broth will be replaced by a healthier and lower sodium item, and the chicken bologna will be replaced by a less processed meat (the kind of ham already in the bag, ground turkey, or something of the like).

Using some of the items in the bag, clients could make a variety of simple, healthy dinners. For example, for a tropical dinner, they could mix ham, carrots, and pineapple and serve it with a side of white rice.

We look forward to making even more positive changes for the health of our community.

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