Nutrition advice regarding those packaged foods in your cupboard
Question: We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables are healthy choices, but are the boxed and canned foods in my pantry really that bad? This is the question several researchers asked themselves before assessing the dietary quality of food pantry users.
Definition: Pantry User – one who receives food assistance from food banks or food aid programs
Results: After a thorough study, evaluating many dietary factors, here are the major discoveries on the diet of pantry users.
1. The majority of participates did not consume enough fruits and vegetables to satisfy their dietary needs.
2. Most did not meet the recommended intake for dairy products (leading to insufficient calcium intake).
3. Although many food pantry users did not consume enough calories, a large percentage of the participants were overweight or obese!
Application: So how does this research apply to me? Well, since many pantry users consume a large amount of canned and boxed foods, the results of their dietary intake has quite a bit to say about the quality of these foods. Now I’m not saying throw out all the boxed food in your pantry (far from it), but be conscious of your main sources of nutrition. Do you find yourself eating foods from boxes and cans on a daily basis? Are you consuming several servings of fruits, vegetables, and calcium rich foods? If you said YES to boxed and canned and NO to fresh food, you might want to make some changes to find a better balance. Remember that even though many food pantry users had inadequate energy intakes for their bodies (not enough calories), a large proportion were still overweight or obese. Just food for thought the next time you decide to go grocery shopping.
Simmet, Anja et al. “The Dietary Quality of Food Pantry Users: A Systematic Review of Existing Literature.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 0.0 (2016): n. pag. www.andjrnl.org. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.