Non-perishable foods are those with long shelf life, which is why they’re most popular in food banks. However, it’s essential you know exactly the right non-perishable foods to give to food banks. What are the best non-perishable foods you can purchase for families that rely on food banks? We will discuss them here.
What is Considered Non-Perishable?
Non-perishable foods are the ones that can stay safe to consume for a long period without refrigeration. Some can last a few weeks to months on the shelf, while others can last for months. Military MREs and freeze-dried food can last up to 10 to 20 years.
What You Need to Know About Non-Perishable Foods
This type of food doesn’t need refrigeration. However, they need to be kept cool and dry at all times. If you see the food in a shelf at the store, then it’s also safe to have it on the shelf of your home.
They need to be kept off the floor to allow for air circulation. Remember, the number one enemy of non-perishable foods is air. So, you can consider using vacuum-sealed containers to extend their shelf life.
When buying canned foods, begin with the “best by” date. Of course, you shouldn’t get the ones with obvious signs of spoilage.
1. Canned Soup
Canned soup is the go-to food for many people who don’t have access to fresh food for whatever reason. With that, canned soups are the best choice because they’re healthy and comes in various flavors. However, make sure you choose low-sodium soups that are not cream-based. Why?
Although there’s really nothing wrong with cream-based soups, the problem is that creamier soups tend to have higher fat content and have more calories per serving compared to clear broth-based soups.
Stick to low-fat soups that have no more than 3 grams of fat per serving. Low-sodium soups should only have 360 milligrams or less sodium per serving.
Also, be mindful of added sugars! Look for soups with no or low sugar, which is four grams or less. It’s a good idea to scan labels for sodium levels and added sugar. Most major brands have their nutrition facts for their products on their website. Today, you can find plant-based soups to get a lot of nutrients.
2. Canned Fish or Meats
Most canned meats and fish are actually healthy due to their high protein content and rich omega-3 fatty acids. However, similar to canned soup, you need to read what’s on the label.
For one, oily fish, such as anchovies, sardines, and mackerel, are the highest sources of omega-3s. What’s best about them is that you can find them at a grocery store!
Also, these canned foods are not really loaded with preservatives. The truth is, canned foods don’t need preservatives because the heating and vacuum seal processes make these canned foods safe to eat and shelf-stable. However, salt, sugar, and added flavors may be added to improve the flavor that is lost because of the heating process.
3. Canned Vegetables and Fruits
These are two of the best non-perishable foods you can donate to a food bank. There is also a wide variety of these in grocery stores, which means that you can choose from many choices.
You don’t need to worry so much about their nutritional content because most of them have the same amount of nutrients as fresh and frozen products. In fact, you will even find some canned foods that have more vitamins and minerals compared to fresh options.
They are also more affordable, which means you can get as many as possible to donate to food banks.
Finally, canned fruits and vegetables are safe because they can use high levels of heat to preserve the food. In turn, this helps prevent the growth of pathogens often caused by food-borne illnesses.
Another thing you need to remember is that canned vegetables and fruits are processed within hours of harvest; therefore, this makes them healthy and great tasting as well.
When it comes to canned fruits, it’s best to store them in their own juice versus syrup because they’re lower in calories. You can also find canned vegetables with no salt added that are highly available in the market for you.
Pasta and other noodles are some of the best non-perishable items as well. What makes it a good choice for food banks is that it’s the perfect foundation for a healthy, nutritious, and satisfying meal. Moreover, it’s easy to partner it with other foods, such as fish and vegetables.
Pasta is widely available today and it’s a great source of glucose, which is necessary to fuel the muscles and brain. In addition to that, it’s an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which means it can release energy at a slow and sustained level.
It is also rich in folic acid, which is essential for women. Finally, pasta is a good part of a well-balanced diet.
5. Peanut Butter (and other nut butters)
When it comes to spreads, peanut butter tops the list, which is also why it’s one of the best non-perishable foods you can donate to food banks today. Not only does it taste delicious, but it’s actually unprocessed food. Basically, it’s only peanuts that are ground until they turn into a paste. But yes, some peanut butter sold commercially contains added sugars and even trans fat.
One of the best things about peanut butter is that it’s an excellent protein source because it belongs to the legume family. It is comprised of at least 25% protein. Next, it’s low in carbs as it only contains 20% carbs, which is perfect if you follow a low-carb diet.
Finally, peanut butter and other nut butter are high in healthy fats and its rich in vitamins and minerals.
Shop for the Best Non-Perishable Foods Today
If you’re planning to donate to food banks, these four non-perishable foods are the best ones to donate. They’re healthy, convenient, and they’re widely available.