Home Read Our Blog March 2016 Nutrition4All - How do food banks provide nutritious items?

Nutrition4All - How do food banks provide nutritious items?

Nutrition4All - How do food banks provide nutritious items?
Did you know March is Nutrition Month? Food banks across Canada recognize the importance of health eating. People living in poverty often struggle to access healthy food choices, and nutritious items from food banks can go a long way towards ensuring a complete diet.

Take a look at the efforts food banks make to provide the essentials. 

Following Canada’s Food Guide 
Canada’s Food Guide plays a key role in how food banks put together essential food hampers they distribute. Hampers will often include the main essentials found in the food guide including: 
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Grain products
  • Milk and alternatives
  • Meat and alternatives            
Weekends may be challenging for children who cannot be supported by school breakfast and lunch programs. This is why the Calgary Food Bank has a hamper which provides 2 days’ worth of easy to eat/prepare snack items that help to cover the weekend. These have 2 items each of dairy, protein, grain, fruit and vegetables.

Garden Programs
Food banks recognize the importance of fruits and vegetables in order to provide nutritious food. Many food banks have their own growing programs that help to increase the access and amount of produce. With the support of volunteers, donors and farmers, they are a great way to increase a food bank’s produce offering and add fresh items to hampers.

For example, the Ottawa Food Bank has a 7-acre farm it operates in its community. Last year, they grew over 101,700 lbs. of food including:
  • Zucchini, squash, carrots, tomatoes, and cabbage     
Filling in the nutrition gaps
Food banks depend on grocery stores, food distributors and monetary donations to supplement hampers. This is particularly relevant in the winter months when it is difficult to access seasonal produce. In order to make each hamper as nutritionally balanced as possible, food banks will purchase most-needed items. Edmonton’s Food Bank spends $160,000 to purchase eggs to supplement hampers – and eggs are a healthy source of protein, easy to prepare and fit in many culturally appropriate diets.  
This Nutrition Month, consider helping others in your community who are struggling with hunger by donating funds or healthy food items. Find out from your local food bank the times of items that are most needed. You can find your local food bank here

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)