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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Hardy

Healthiest Foods to Donate to Food Banks

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

In recent weeks you may have seen more calls for donations to food banks or food parcels for refugees. There’s lots of guidance online as to which items are needed and can be accepted by different organisations, but in this blog we are summarising some of the most commonly asked-for items and sharing some info on their nutritional value.

Most of these options can be consumed without cooking facilities (aside from dried grains, beans, etc). If you are thinking of donating food to help others, please also consider donating foods that you would like to eat yourselves.

  • Tinned Fruits & Vegetables: These provide lots of vitamins and minerals and can be just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to opt for low or no added salt/sugar options.

  • Dried or Tinned Beans & Pulses: These are a great source of protein that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians too. They help keep us full and are also a good way to include fibre in the diet, and also count towards our five-a-day.

  • Rice, Grains & Dried Pasta: These can help keep energy levels up. Whole Grain varieties (e.g. brown rice) also boost fibre intake and release energy more slowly and evenly across the day, helping to avoid an energy crash. Quinoa is also high in protein and is naturally gluten free (rice is also naturally gluten free), so could be beneficial in feeding more people with dietary restrictions or allergies.

  • Tinned Fish or Meat: Tinned versions have a much longer shelf life and boost protein intake. Tinned oily fish, such as salmon, is also a source of omega-3.

  • Long-Life Milk or Plant-Based Alternatives: Dairy milks provide many vitamins and minerals including calcium, which is essential for bone health. Dairy milk also contains important nutrients such as protein. If choosing plant-based milks, ideally choose options that have been fortified with calcium, B12, iodine and vitamin D.

  • Olive Oil: A source of monounsaturared fats, olive oil is super versatile and energy dense.

  • Nuts, Nut Butters & Seeds: Suitable for vegans, these are great for fats and proteins. Whole nuts and seeds also contain fibre. Milled linseeds can also be added to a variety of foods to increase nutrient content.

  • Dried Fruits & Dates: Contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are great for a quick energy boost. They can also be added to a meal or consumed as a snack.

  • Tinned Soups: Helpful for those with a lower appetite and also count towards fluid intake so can increase hydration status. If possible, try to look for options that are lower in salt and higher in protein.

The team at CityDietitians send our support to all those struggling at this time. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at


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