Good nutrition is key to good health. You may have heard about changes made this year to the Canada Food Guide. Here at the Surrey Food Bank we do what we can to offer healthy choices.

The new guide recommends eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains — and switching more often from meats to plant based proteins (such as beans and nuts.) We find that canned kidney beans, green lentils, black beans and chickpeas are a top pick for many of our clients.

The guide also recommends limiting foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats. The food bank distributes as many healthy choices as possible, depending on what products are donated.

What can you donate?

With the new guidelines in mind, our most needed non-perishable food items include: canned soups, stews or pasta meals with low sodium. Vegetarian options such as fully vegetarian or vegan soups and meals in a can. Good quality canned protein and peanut/alternative nut butters. Also needed are canned fruit packed in juice or water.

Volunteers participate in a workshop to help them identify nutritional info included on labels

The new food guide encourages label reading to identify healthier choices. Two BCIT nursing students, Anita and Ting, did a practicum at Surrey Food Bank recently and as part of their student project, they taught a group of our volunteers how health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure can be affected by diet. They then gave the volunteers a chance to practice reading labels so they can help clients, especially seniors and others with health issues needing to watch for carbohydrate, sodium, fibre and fat content to make the best choices.