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Both of my daughters' schools have held holiday food drives lately, and it makes my children and me feel good to walk through the aisles of the supermarket and pick out canned goods for families who need them. (Our go-to donations: big jars of peanut butter, 4-packs of tuna, canned soup and chili.) I also appreciate the opportunity to remind my children that there are kids right in our own town who may not have enough to eat.

But I've learned recently that I could be selecting much more nutritious picks. I fully admit that I didn't equate "food bank" with "healthy food." And I had no idea that the organization SuperFood Drive exists. Its goal: to transform every food drive into an opportunity to collect healthy, nourishing food for those in need, helping reduce the rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more--all of which are too high among the impoverished families who often rely on food banks. I cringed when I read on SuperFood Drive's site: "It is unjust to 'help' people in need with provisions that promote disease instead of prevent it."

The site has plenty of important resources, including how to host a healthy food drive. It also offers ways to donate healthy food online. What I found most helpful is the list of healthy foods I should shop for from now on. This is what'll be in my cart for the next food drive:

  • Steel-cut or rolled oats (low in calories, high in fiber and protein)
  • Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (packed with protein and fiber)
  • Black beans (a low-fat source of protein)
  • Low-sodium canned tomatoes (more beneficial than fresh!)
  • Canned pumpkin (it's high in fiber and bursting with nutrients)

Check out a complete list here.

Photo: Food donations box isolated on white background via Shutterstock.