March is National Nutrition Month and Feeding America Food Banks like Second Harvest in Grand Rapids MN are taking this opportunity to promote the healthy food choices that food shelves and other hunger relief providers have to offer. People are usually surprised to learn that fresh produce is almost always available from local community food shelves. The amount of produce available from food banks has exponentially increased in the last several years greatly increasing the quantity and variety of fresh nutritious food given out to food shelf recipients.
This year USDA has partnered with 80+ national organizations to promote healthy eating messages to their constituencies. Feeding America is a National Strategic Partner in the MyPlate program and we are pleased to have the tools available to promote healthy eating to our clients. Check out all the great information on healthy eating at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
Many food shelves are able to provide nutrition education to participants thanks to the University of Minnesota Extension Community Nutrition Educator program called Simply Good Eating. Nutrition educators work right in the food shelves and provide samples and recipes that encourage participants to try new foods and learn cooking techniques.
Food banks are providing much more than the cans of donated foods that were traditionally distributed. These days we are diversified into fresh produce, perishable dairy, meats, frozen foods and the non-perishable canned and boxed food. Healthier diets lead to healthier children and adults. This is an outcome we all can benefit from.