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with mixed veggies. Lentils, pinto, black and kidney beans in stew, chili or salad provide fiber, calcium, zinc and iron. Spices add zing. Tomatoes, sauce and salsa add flavor; choose glass jar products only in order to be BPA-free, due to the acidic effect on cans. Pasta, Rice and Grain: In Kansas

Sharing Our Bounty Food Drives Need Healthy Donations by Avery Mack


hat’s on the table can help lower risks

of stroke, heart attack, cancer and diabetes, ac- cording to the American Heart Association. Not all families are able to afford the healthi- est foods, but fatty, high-sugar options can be avoided. The most-needed donations are nonperishable and high in protein, but low in sodium, sugar and fats. Give the best, most affordable products, according to these tips and the food drive’s guidelines. Organic and non-GMO (genetically modified) foods are welcome. Note that not all pantries can store fresh produce, glass contain- ers or personal hygiene items. “Pantries rely on informed commu-

nity support,” explains Jim Byrnes, di- rector of Pennsylvania’s Nazareth Area Food Bank. “Area churches, schools and businesses keep us supplied. We’ll

42 Lehigh Valley

Please be generous at the holidays and year-round.

help 300 families this year, compared to 100 in 2006, balancing nutrition with practical needs.” California’s San Diego

Food Bank feeds bet- ter choices to 370,000

people each month, including military families, seniors and children. Such community efforts change lives. Meat: Tinned tuna, chicken and salmon store easily for use in salads or casseroles, on a sandwich and in whole wheat pasta, brown rice or low-fat stir fries. Avoid the bisphenol-A (BPA) asso- ciated with cans and plastic containers. Instead choose BPA-free pouch packag- ing and cans with BPA-free liners (see Soup and Stew: Containing meat

and veggies, soups and stews provide filling, hearty comfort foods. Vegetables: Yams and whole-berry

cranberry sauce turn dinner into a holiday feast. Add color to the plate

City, Missouri, Katie Thomas, owner of Crazy Daisy Cleaning, regularly organizes food drives. She says, “Pasta and sauce make a variety of dishes and extend the number of meals.” Whole grain pasta, brown or wild rice, quinoa and couscous are better choices than white pasta. Bulgur provides nearly 75 percent of a day’s fiber requirement when added to soup or salad. Cereal: Steel-cut or rolled oats, farina (Cream of Wheat) and grits are low-calorie and nutritious options for a warm start to the day. All can be found as organic; farina in whole wheat or white wheat that is certified kosher. Cold cereals should list whole grains as the first ingredient and be high in fiber and low in sugar, like organic Oat O’s. Snacks: Unsalted nuts, full of

fiber, protein and vitamins, are highly prized at food pantries. Packed in juice, fruit cups make a healthy treat. Dried fruit and sunflower seeds are another favorite. Low-salt, low-sugar peanut or sunflower butter packs protein. Honey is a healthy sweetener. Collecting Party: “A group of us collected and donated 600 pounds of food for babies, pets and adults to Extended Hands Food Bank,” says Dee Power, in Fountain Hills, Arizona. For babies, include food without added sugar or salt and single-grain cereal. Alternative Giving: Especially pop- ular during the December holidays, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank offers prepacked bags to grocery store patrons,

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