Skip to content
 

11 Best Healthy Foods to Donate to a Food Pantry

Expired foods and specialty foods don’t make the cut

  • People donating food
    Getty

    Donate Smart, Donate Healthy

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    1 of 14
  • Bag of spinach
    Getty

    1. Fresh food

    Healthier oils — olive, canola and sunflower — can be used for cooking food and also to make a homemade dressing for salads. Health benefit: Good fats are essential to a nutritious diet, Chou says, and the healthier, unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils.

    2 of 14
  • Oats bags
    Getty

    2. Dry or low-sodium canned beans

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    3 of 14
  • 502111968
    Getty

    3. Brown rice or whole wheat pasta

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    4 of 14
  • Canned Tuna
    Getty

    4. Canned tuna or salmon

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    5 of 14
  • Peanut butter
    Getty

    5. Peanut or almond butter

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    6 of 14
  • Healthy Living Tips and News
    Istockphoto

    AARP Offer: Healthy Living Tips and News

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    7 of 14
  • Spices
    Getty

    6. Dried herbs and spices

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    8 of 14
  • 169001346
    Getty

    7. Cooking oils

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    9 of 14
  • 92912189
    Getty

    8. Canned fruit (in juice)

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    10 of 14
  • 490664675
    Getty

    9. Canned tomatoes

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    11 of 14
  • Oatmeal
    Getty

    10. Steel-cut or rolled oats

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    12 of 14
  • Baby food
    Getty

    11. Healthy baby food

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    13 of 14
  • Health endslide

    View More Slideshows

    En español | Food pantries desperately need donated groceries to help struggling seniors and families, but some things just don’t make the cut. Take, for example, the 440 pounds of candy the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Md., was given last fall by dentists off-loading sweets turned in by kids during a Halloween campaign to help them cut back on cavities. The organization threw it all away. What's needed are nutritious products that clients can easily turn into hearty meals - like these items.

    14 of 14

You can help end senior hunger.  Learn ways you can take action today.

(Video) An Oasis in a Food Desert: Jeff Brown is a businessman who specializes in opening large grocery stores in underprivileged neighborhoods.