As Thanksgiving approaches, there is no better time to appreciate and give thanks for our own health and happiness, and spread this health and wealth to others who may find themselves in a tough spot medically and financially this season.
You may be surprised to learn that food insecurity exists in every county in America, affecting millions of American families and children.
- What is food insecurity? Does food sometimes feel like an afterthought? Food accessibility within our daily environment has never been higher. But, it is the lack of reliable access to adequate quantity of both affordable AND nutritious foods that characterizes food insecurity. Did you know that more than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity?
- Food banks and food pantries in the United States now serve over 45 million people each year – including 12 million children. Many people rely on them as a regular source of food and nutrition. As a dietitian, I know that while access to any food is better than none, it is access to health-promoting, nutritious food that is necessary to support long-term health and well-being.
Often, I hear about the challenges people face especially related to equating healthy to expensive. While one can make the argument that ‘junk food’ can be less expensive than produce, there are many healthier options for pennies on the dollar and more nutrient-dense per calorie than their counterparts. One thing holds true, the discussion is complicated and multidimensional.
Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the US, has found that close to 8 out of 10 people served by its network of food banks feel like they have to buy unhealthy foods just to make ends meet. Feeding America has been on the forefront in developing tools to increase healthful food availability at food pantries.
Take Action. This year, take a second-look at your food donations, and consider following Feeding America’s Healthy Food Donation Guidelines. Downloadable PDF available here.
Get the full scoop in my latest article in Tennessee Health and Wellness Magazine!