The most recent U.S. Census figures estimate 43 million Americans live in poverty with one in five children going hungry each day. The Ottawa County Health Department reminds us that eating healthy is a challenge for low income families. Eating right can be an expensive proposition. The foods that are easiest to come by and often the cheapest lack nutrients and are packed with empty calories.
“You know obesity is such an issue that continues to be brought up and so we can help people make healthy choices by making those options even more readily available in those areas, those food pantries, for those people who are already struggling financially and may not be able to afford healthy foods.”
Shannon Felgner is with the Ottawa County Health Department. She asks that folks be mindful of healthy options when considering a food donation to their local food pantry or charity.
“We’re not trying to be picky by any means.”
But if you’re going to shop for yourself – and those in need – Felgner provides us with a healthy shopping list.
“Any canned vegetables and fruits that are in 100 percent fruit juice are good options. If you’re buying things that are grains keep in mind whole grains, whole grain pasta, maybe a can of old fashioned oatmeal. Things that are low in sugar like whole grain cereals an high fiber cereals. Also, when you’re looking at proteins think about tuna fish packed in water. Canned chicken is a good option, maybe even canned chili. Low sodium soups. And peanut butter is always a good option.”
Providing healthy food options can improves health and for low income children, improve classroom performance.
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