Providing more healthy options at food pantries

To the editor:

It’s more important than ever to make sure food pantries across the North Country are well-stocked, not just with the essentials that families need to get by but also nutritious options to improve health.

The state Department of Health’s recently released report, “Self-Reported Food Insecurity Among New York State Adults,” reveals that almost one in four adults statewide experience food insecurity. This status is characterized by limited or uncertain access to adequate food due to limited economic resources. Not only is food insecurity a growing concern, so is nutrition insecurity. Nutrition insecurity occurs when an individual or family does not have access to nutritious foods or cannot afford them.

It has been shown that adults experiencing food insecurity are at increased risk for chronic diseases. The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant, funded by the New York State Department of Health, aims to increase the availability of healthy foods by implementing food service guidelines strategies in both worksite and community settings — food pantries included. This strategy allows us to apply standards for choosing healthier food and beverage options, and behavioral design techniques to ensure that healthy options available are highlighted.

We encourage you to assist at your local food pantry, whether it is by donating healthy foods, beverages and supplies or volunteering in your free time — anything helps. You can also host your own food drive. When donating please consider choosing healthy options such as:

– Reduced sodium foods (canned vegetables, soups and beans)

– Canned fruit and other products with little or “no added sugar”

“Low fat” foods

– Shelf stable 1% or skim milk

– Whole grain breads, cereals, oats, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice

For a list of food pantries in the North Country and more information on how to help, please visit regionalfoodbank.net/agency-list-by-county/franklin.

Arriana Patraw

Community health improvement coordinator

The Heart Network

Saranac Lake

Starting at $1.44/week.

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