How to think healthy when donating or shopping at food pantries | News

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How to think healthy when donating or shopping at food pantries

OLD TOWN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- During the holiday season many people donate and pick up food at area food pantries. Yet experts say its important for both groups to do that while keeping a healthy diet in mind.

Studies show that obesity can be high among people living in poverty. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consumers with lower incomes are more likely to purchase high calorie, energy rich foods.

Dieticians like Katherine Musgrave, who teaches at the University of Maine, say a good part of any person's diet should be fruits and vegetables. She says both donors and shoppers at food pantries should invest in foods like potatoes, squash and turnips. She also recommends healthy foods that are also protein rich such as beans and canned fish like tuna.

Musgrave also says that while sweets are a big part of the holiday season, some are healthier than others.

"The sweet deserts would be gingerbread if people could make gingerbread or some kind of cookie at home that has nuts in it that's really a good mixture," she said.

Crossroads Ministries in Old Town is serving more than 700 families this year. Staff there says they're looking for people to donate more healthier items such as canned fruits and vegetables.

The say it is harder to get those items this year due to lower crop yields and natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.