Food banks will only take longer life products that they can store for those in need - fresh food can spoil quickly and not all banks have chiller facilities.
Popular with all ages, cereals are a great donation to help make sure those in need get a good breakfast to start the day. We’d recommend that you choose varieties that are low in sugar and high in fibre.
- Tinned Soups and Stew
These items provide a warm and nutritious lunch or dinner, and often come contain 3 food groups; protein (e.g. meat), carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes) and veg. Most vegetable soup will provide one of your 5-a-day but where possible, try to donate lower salt options (look out for the green traffic light).
- Pasta, rice and pasta sauce
Pasta and rice can be great accompaniments to a meal and provide a source of carbohydrates and often very little fat. Look out for whole grain / brown pasta / rice options to help support fibre intakes.
- Tinned meat and fish
These provide an excellent source of protein. They can easily be added to stews or soups to help support a balanced diet, so they make a useful donation to foodbanks. Choose tinned fish in spring water over oil.
- Tinned beans and vegetables
Vegetables are a vital part of a nutritious diet, but fresh ones are seasonal and can easily spoil while in storage at a food bank. Canned vegetables are a great and versatile choice - low-salt canned vegetables are even better. It takes no time to add extra vegetables to pasta sauces and soups to decrease their energy density and increase their nutrient density.
658,048 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust’s foodbanks in April – September this year.
- Tinned fruit
Tinned fruits make a great, non-perishable addition to a food bank’s snack or dessert offering and contribute to 5-a-day intake. Always select ones in juice over syrup to reduce consumption of added sugar.
- Condiments and Spices
Mayo, salt and pepper go a long way in improving any meal and will store for a while, so they make a good donation that may get overlooked by many when giving to a food bank. Where available, choose reduced salt, sugar and/or fat versions.
- Canola and olive oil Sprays
Cooking oils are always in high demand at food banks - canola and olive oil (doesn’t need to be extra virgin) are good options because they’re the highest in monounsaturated fats and have a relatively mild flavour. Being fats they are naturally high in energy so spray options can be an excellent choice (as well as safer for food bank storage) and ensure they are used sparingly.
You can help food banks by donating non-perishables such as tinned vegetables and fish, biscuits and sugar - which are easier to store and hand out to those in need.
- Broth and Stock
Cans of beef, chicken, or vegetable broth and stock are some of the most versatile foods out there because they can be used as foundations for many recipes from soups to casseroles. Try and opt for those low salt to create the healthiest soup foundation possible.
- All-Natural Juice
Long-life 100% fruit juice can contribute toward 5-a-day intakes and certain juices such as orange can provide a source of vitamin C - but make sure you choose 100% fruit options and the sugars are only those occurring naturally.