Help­ing our neigh­bours

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - Ellen Greenan

Hunger is a deep-rooted and per­sis­tent prob­lem in Canada with four mil­lion Cana­di­ans strug­gling to put enough food on the ta­ble.

Each month, well over 20,000 Nova Sco­tians, one-third of whom are chil­dren, will turn to their lo­cal food bank for help — and that num­ber climbs even higher dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son when there are ex­tra fi­nan­cial de­mands on a fam­ily.

Ev­ery month, food banks across Canada help more than 850,000 peo­ple by pro­vid­ing food bas­kets, hot meals, nutrition and cook­ing ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nity gar­dens, chil­dren’s pro­grams and even re­fer­rals to com­ple­men­tary agen­cies.

At this time of year there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­nity mem­bers to help out their neigh­bours who may be strug­gling to put food on the ta­ble for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. If you are con­sid­er­ing mak­ing a do­na­tion to a food drive this hol­i­day sea­son and are won­der­ing what to do­nate, think about the sta­ples that your buy for your­self or your fam­ily on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Whole grain foods are an ex­cel­lent source of min­er­als like mag­ne­sium and iron. They are also very rich in fi­bre, which helps to fill us up and make us feel full for longer. Non-per­ish­able whole grain foods that are easy to do­nate in­clude oat­meal, bar­ley, whole grain pas­tas or ce­re­als that con­tain more than four grams of fi­bre per serv­ing. Re­mem­ber to choose ce­re­als with a lower sugar con­tent.

Protein helps to build and main­tain body tis­sue while also con­tribut­ing to sati­ety. Nut but­ters are a great source of protein and are ver­sa­tile for both snacks and meals. Food banks love to re­ceive do­na­tions of peanut but­ter. Other non-per­ish­able protein sources in­clude canned fish such as salmon and tuna, canned chicken, as well as beans and lentils. When buying canned items, look for those with no added or re­duced salt.

Canned veg­eta­bles and fruits are an­other great do­na­tion op­tion as th­ese are a great source of many vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and fi­bre. Look for fruits pack­aged in water or fruit juice rather than syrup, and veg­eta­bles that are free of added salt.

Shelf-sta­ble milk al­ter­na­tives like pow­dered milk, al­mond milk and soy milk are also great do­na­tion op­tions. Be sure to check the in­gre­di­ent list to make sure prod­ucts are for­ti­fied with cal­cium and vi­ta­min D.

As one-third of Cana­dian food bank re­cip­i­ents are chil­dren, baby ce­re­als and baby foods and for­mula also make good do­na­tions.

If you a grab­bing a do­na­tion from your own pantry, be sure to check the ex­pi­ra­tion date be­fore putting it in the food col­lec­tion bin.

Lastly, money is an­other help­ful do­na­tion op­tion to your lo­cal food bank. Money helps food banks to be able to pro­vide fresh foods, and to dis­trib­ute food to those who need it.

Dur­ing this busy sea­son, a sim­ple way to do­nate to your lo­cal food bank is while gro­cery shop­ping.

From now un­til Dec. 24, our lo­cal At­lantic Su­per­store is sup­port­ing lo­cal food banks in our com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the Pic­tou County (East) Food Bank and the Pic­tou West Food Bank. This is part of a na­tional ef­fort by Loblaw stores across the coun­try to help lo­cal food banks in their own com­mu­ni­ties stock their shelves through­out the hol­i­day sea­son and for the up­com­ing win­ter months.

Dur­ing the At­lantic Su­per­store Hol­i­day Food Drive, non-per­ish­ables can be do­nated in the food drive bins in-store, and cash do­na­tions will also be ac­cepted at the check­outs.

This tuna and white bean salad is a great ex­am­ple of a nu­tri­tious and fill­ing meal that can be put to­gether with some key non-per­ish­able food items that are great choices for a food drive do­na­tion. Try it as a packed lunch that will get you through the work day.

Tuna and White Bean Salad In­gre­di­ents:

1 cup (170 g) PC Solid White Al­ba­core Tuna in Water, drained

1 can (540 mL) No Name White Kid­ney Beans, rinsed and drained ½ cup (125 mL) red onion, diced 1 sweet red pep­per, diced 2 stalks cel­ery, thinly sliced ½ cup (125 mL) PC Mediter­ranean Vi­nai­grette

Direc­tions:

1. In a bowl, stir to­gether tuna, beans, red onions, red pep­pers, cel­ery and vi­nai­grette. Serve im­me­di­ately. Re­frig­er­ate left­overs promptly.

Chef’s Tip: Sub­sti­tute chick­peas, if you pre­fer.

Makes 4 Serv­ings

Per serv­ing: 250 calo­ries, fat 8g, sodium 510 mg, car­bo­hy­drate 27 g, fi­bre 8 g, protein 18 g

Recipe Source: pc.ca

Ellen Greenan is a Reg­is­tered Di­eti­tian with At­lantic Su­per­store in New Glas­gow. Have a nutrition ques­tion? Want to book an ap­point­ment or shop with the di­eti­tian? Book on­line at www.at­lantic­su­per­store/di­eti­tians or con­tact her by phone at 902-921-0700 or by email at [email protected]

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