A list of preferred food items to bring to local food banks is featured at Mother Nature Network, Oregon Food Bank and Austin Food Bank. The best type of foods for food banks are nonperishable canned and dry goods. Cans that have pop-top lids and packaging that are easy for kids and older people to open are good choices. Donors should also consider the usefulness of each food item, and whether the item is beyond its expiration date.
Food bank donation lists feature foods that provide a good level of nutrition for the average person. Canned fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines are rich sources of protein, as are canned chicken and turkey. A can of stew offers a mixture of meat and vegetables. Canned soups are okay, but the low-sodium varieties make better choices, and donors should read labels for sodium content. Likewise, go for low-sodium or no-salt varieties of canned vegetables.
Dried beans and legumes come in bulk packages and make tight food budgets stretch further. Whole-grain pasta and rice are used for main meals and side dishes. Food banks appreciate donations of healthy cereals that don't have high sugar content. Instead of cookies, donors can give cans of fruit packed in 100 percent juice. Refrain from donating homemade foods, beverage mixes, and cans that are unlabeled, dented or rusty.