In Williamson County, the issue of hunger usually isn’t starvation but food insecurity. In other words, people here are much less likely to starve due to a lack of sufficient energy (calories) as is commonly shown with starving children in developing countries but, instead, are struggling with food security and a paradox of being fed, yet being undernourished (malnourished). This can be best described as nutrition insecurity.
Because of this, GraceWorks is committed to help those who receive food from its pantry make the best eating choices possible.
Education plays a large role. GraceWorks partners with groups like the Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program (TNCEP) who hold workshops to teach families how to choose and prepare nutritionally adequate diets. We also share online nutrition sites such as ChooseMyPlate.gov which is supported by the USDA.
The most common focus areas for nutrition education are in improving diet, health, and well-being along with improving food security by building healthy cooking and food management skills that empower clients to stretch their food dollars in healthy ways.
Another way to help people make healthier eating choices is for the pantry to give out food which is as nutritionally-rich as possible.
GraceWorks partners with community gardens who share their fresh produce during the growing seasons along with local groceries who donate produce, bread and meat when available.
And educating the generous donors of food drives throughout the year can also help the GraceWorks Food Pantry distribute the most nutritious food possible.
The next time you wish to donate to a food drive, remember that foods low in fat and sodium, high in protein, and rich in all the kinds of quality ingredients are the more healthier options.
Here are some nutritious food items to consider next time you want to donate:
• Shelf-stable milk
• Foods high in protein such as canned meats (i.e., tuna, chicken, salmon) and canned or dried beans
• Foods high in nutrients, such as canned fruits and vegetables (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced sugar)
• Whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereal and whole-wheat pasta
• Soups, chilies and stews (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced fat)
• 100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
• Unsaturated cooking oils
• And other nutritious, “healthy-choice” foods (preferably with reduced fat, sodium and sugar)
Want to help even more? Host a Healthy Food Drive.
GraceWorks can provide the food bins along with picking them up at the end of the drive. When you promote your drive, explain your goal is to focus on more nutritious donations so others better understand the importance of fighting nutrition insecurity with healthier food options. Email here to reserve bins or schedule a food drive pickup.