20 Foods That Food Banks Need The Most

20 Foods That Food Banks Need the Most

The Season of Giving is nearly upon us, and while most of us have plans to spend the holidays with friends and loved ones, now is also the time to think of those less fortunate. But if you're going to donate to food banks, some foods are better than others. Here are 20 foods that food banks really need.

All-Natural Juice

All-natural, 100-percent juice is a great source of vitamins (and the juice boxes are great for kids), but make sure that it's all-natural; high-fructose corn syrup shouldn't be an ingredient in anything that you donate.

Baby Formula and Food

Don't forget about the babies! Formula and baby food are always needed.

Broth and Stock

Cans of beef, chicken, or vegetable broth and stock are some of the most versatile foods out there because they can be used as foundations for soups and sauces or eaten on their own.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is much more nutritious than white rice, as it is filling and a great source of soluble fiber.

Canned Fruit in Juice

Canned fruit makes for a great non-perishable snack; just make sure it's not packed in syrup, which is all sugar.

Canned Tuna, Salmon, and Chicken

Protein, protein, protein. Many food banks struggle to provide those in need with enough protein. These can be easily added to many other dishes to create a balanced meal.

Canned Vegetables

Vegetables are a vital part of a nutritious diet, but fresh ones can easily go bad. Canned vegetables are a great and versatile choice; low-sodium canned vegetables are even better.

Canola and Olive Oil

Cooking oils are always in high demand at food banks, so canola and olive oil (it doesn't need to be extra virgin) are good options because they're the highest in mono-unsaturated fats.

Condiments and Spices

Would you make a tuna sandwich with just a can of tuna and nothing to mix it with? Some mayo, salt, and pepper go a long way.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit also makes for a filling and nutritious snack, but just make sure that it's no sugar added.


Honey is a great item to donate because it is an ideal all-purpose sweetener and it never expires.

Mixed Nuts

Also a great source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats, nuts make for a wholesome and nutritious snack. Just make sure that they are unsalted, raw nuts. Otherwise, they might be filled with sodium or sugar.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

Full of fiber and protein, oatmeal is easy to make and fills you up. The individually portioned instant packets are among the best items to donate.

Low-Sodium Pasta Sauce and Soup

Soups are a no-brainer, but make sure that they're low in sodium. Same goes for pasta sauces: What good is pasta without sauce?

Peanut Butter

Not only is peanut butter high in protein and incredibly versatile, it's also a bona-fide comfort food.


Quinoa isn't just a versatile grain, it's a complete protein, in that it contains all of the essential amino acids. It's one of the healthiest grains you can eat.

Shelf-Stable and Powdered Milk

Fresh milk only stays good for a couple weeks, but is always in demand. It's a good source of protein and calcium, so shelf-stable milks like Parmalat and powdered milk are great alternatives.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Just about everybody loves applesauce, especially kids, and a cup of it can provide comfort as well as a serving of fruit.

Whole Wheat Pasta

Filling and non-perishable, pasta can feed an entire family for the price of just one box. Plain pasta is made with enriched flour, which contains little in the way of vital nutrients. Donate whole wheat pasta instead, which is full of fiber.

Granola Bars

Granola bars make for a very healthy snack. They are also filling and provide plenty of protein. Just make sure that whatever bars you choose aren't too high in sugar.