Stable foods, such as canned, frozen and dried products, are cheaper and last longer. Unfortunately, some of these foods can be unhealthy. Canned, prepackaged, and frozen foods often contain large amounts of salt (sodium). They may also have hidden sugars and other additives.
Canned, non-perishable foods, such as chicken, tuna, and salmon, are great options that are full of protein and other essential nutrients. When reading labels, look for donations that are canned in water, low in sodium and without added oils. These protein products come in cans with hinged lids, bags or regular cans; all are necessary and are used in delicious recipes such as tuna or chicken salad. Of course, if you have ground beef and some basic spices lying around, I highly recommend that you try making your own veal jerky at home.
This is my recipe for how to do it. Canned sardines are the perfect, healthy and stable food. They're inexpensive, last for years and are absolutely packed with nutritional value. Sardines are a great source of omega-3 fats, calcium, phosphorus and healthy proteins.
In addition, they are low in mercury and other heavy metals, especially compared to larger fish, such as tuna. There's nothing more practical than a packaged bar that you can take with you in case you're hungry. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “healthy” energy bars out there that are full of sugars and soy. I love making my own protein bars, like these chocolate and coconut energy bars and chia seed bars with dates and coconut oil.
However, homemade products do not have the storage stability that packaged products have. So how do you find a packaged healthy snack to go? Kion energy bars are my first choice, since they don't use any unnatural preservatives, just sea salt, vitamin E and chia seeds. In addition, they use quality ingredients and are sweetened only with organic honey. You can hear the opinion of why Kion is a great company in my interview with CEO Angelo Keely here.
I love that they're prepared in portions and full of healthy ingredients, so I continue to consume my nutrients while taking care of others. In addition, they have excellent flavors such as strawberry + peach or mint + cocoa. Of course, this is a practical option that can be an investment, so it's on my list of things to write down to try to make my own smoothie cups for freezing soon. I recently learned to love canned fish (especially in the form of a tuna and anchovies salad).
It's not news that fish is one of the healthiest, but unfortunately the most expensive foods out there. Canned fish is a way to beat the system. Try soft fish, such as salmon or tuna, to dip your toes and expand them to sardines, anchovies, and more once it's converted. They can be enjoyed cold in (or on) a salad, or hot like our Easy Salmon Cakes.
Not only are foods such as sardines truly nutritious and rank very low in the food chain, but there are also several brands that are affordable and dedicated to sustainable fishing practices. My personal favorite is Wild Planet. Don't get me wrong, I love fresh tomatoes more than most. However, especially here in Vermont, the growing season is very short.
During other times of the year, I take advantage of how affordable and versatile canned tomatoes are. Do you have eggs? With tomatoes, you can prepare a delicious shakshuka, which is one of my favorites during the week. Pasta? Diced tomatoes are also useful here for a quick sauce. Keeping some on hand is an easy way to increase the flavor of your food and increase the amount of vegetables you eat in a day.
Cookies are a great vehicle for other things you may have on hand, such as nut butter or cheese. Whole grains will be more satiating. Always ready with spoons, in Pb&js, in cookies or with apples. These aren't the only foods in my kitchen or the only food I buy, and they're certainly not the only foods you should eat.
While you can easily prepare your own bone broth at home (recipe here), it takes a few days and is not stable in storage. You can use these ideas to organize your own food drive or see ways to use these great non-perishable options in recipes prepared by the Food Bank's nutrition education team. . .