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September is Potato Month

Each year, the Foodbank distributes roughly 800,000 lbs of potatoes to families in need. We know how to celebrate a potato around here!

Potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins like B6. They’re also extremely versatile, and an easy addition to any meal. September is National Potato Month, so we’re giving our spud friends some love. Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates a simple and tasty potato salad recipe in our latest recipe video.

Easy Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of baby red potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup onion (red or white), finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  2. Combine onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise in a bowl.
  3. Once potatoes have cooled, combine potatoes with mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Give the recipe a try, and let us know what you think!

After School Snacks

When students come home hungry, keep the learning going by teaching them about healthy eating habits.

Kelly, our Registered Dietitian, shows some simple snacks that will fill your kids up and keep them from added sugars, sodium, and preservatives.

Ants on a Log

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raisins
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and place raisins on peanut butter.

Snail Snacks

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • pretzels, broken into pieces
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and press an apple slice into peanut butter.
  2. Place pretzel pieces at the end of the celery in the peanut butter, so they look like snail antennas.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:
  • 1 cups cereal
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup granola
  • 3/4 cup raisins
Instructions:
  1. Mix together and enjoy!
The best thing about this recipe is that it is completely customizable based on what you and your family like. This recipe contains 4 ingredients, but feel free to add multiple kinds of cereal or several dried fruits. If your child has a nut allergy or doesn’t like raisins, feel free to make the trail mix they will most enjoy by adding their favorite snacks.

Trail Mix Tips

Here’s a break down of different trail mix components and what each item will add to your snack. Happy mixing!

Nuts

  • Nuts are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Whether they’re raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.
  • Our healthy favorites: Almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. Higher-calorie macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and pine nuts are also good options in moderation.

Seeds

  • Seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts.
  • Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.

Dried Fruit

  • This sugary treat can easily become a danger, so pay attention to the ingredient list and serving sizes. In moderation, dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible. It’s also pretty easy to make your own dried fruit at home in the oven.
  • Our Favorites: Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, and pineapple chunks.

Grains

  • Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.
  • Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like Cheerios or Chex, bran flakes, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.

Sweets

  • Sometimes we all need a little something sweet to round out the mix. Just remember to add treat-like options sparingly. Add a sprinkling of M&Ms, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, or chocolate-covered nuts. Choose dark varieties for extra antioxidants.

Savory Extras

  • Once the building blocks are all set, adding spices is a great way to change up the flavor a bit. Season lightly with sea salt, curry, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or cayenne pepper.

Combinations

  • Simple and Sophisticated: Almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, sea salt, cinnamon.
  • Old-School GORP: Peanuts, raisins, M&Ms.
  • Tropical Mix: Cashews, Brazil nuts, dried mango, coconut flakes, banana chips.
  • Fall Flavors: Pecans, dried apples, maple granola, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • Savory Seeds: Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper.
  • Beachy: Macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, dried pineapple, coconut flakes.
  • Nuts for Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans, raisins.
  • Chocolate Lover: Hazelnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate-covered almonds, M&Ms, cacao nibs.
  • Monkey Munch: Banana chips, peanuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips, raisins, coconut flakes.
  • Movie Night: Popcorn, peanuts, M&Ms, dried cranberries.

Kids always come home from school with an appetite, so make sure they have healthy options to choose from to keep their minds and bodies in shape for this school year.

Zucchini Day

Happy National Zucchini Day from the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable that is good for you, so we’re celebrating today with zucchini fries. Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates this easy recipe in our latest video below.

Zucchini is full of vitamin K, which helps support blood and bone health. It’s also a light vegetable that’s perfect for summer meals because it won’t make you feel weighed down.

The recipe for zucchini fries and a recipe for zucchini corn salad are below. Try them out and let us know what you think!

 

Baked Zucchini Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Working in batches, drop zucchini in flour, then dip into eggs, then place in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat.
  4. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Zucchini and Corn Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

We’re Under Construction!

If you’ve been out to our facility recently, you may have noticed a few changes.

It’s not uncommon to see bulldozers, shovels, and cranes hanging out around the front of our building these days. We’re in the middle of some big changes that will help us fight hunger in our community. We’re adding a second-floor addition to house our new Hunger Engagement Center.

The Hunger Engagement Center will provide a versatile space for meetings and classrooms to help us engage with the community. We’ll also have a kitchen prep space for cooking demonstrations and other food-related outreach.

The first floor is also being expanded to include more rooms and storage for our growing company, and wonderful volunteers. We’re very excited about our expansion, and we can’t wait to put it to good use soon. Below are some photos that show the big changes we’re making.

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This area used to house our Agency Relations team.
May 24, 2016 (2)
The area was cleared of all non-structural furnishings.

 

 

July 12, 2016 (4)
New steel was installed to support the second floor.
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Wall supports are being added to the first floor.

Hot Weather Hydration Tips

As the temperatures get higher, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, shares some tips to keep you hydrated and feeling your best throughout the summer.
Hydration Do’s:
  • Eat fresh produce.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat lighter meals.

Hydration Don’ts:

  • Eat processed meals and foods.
  • Drink sugary beverages.
  • Eat greasy or heavy meals.

Bank of America Volunteers

A core group of ten Bank of America employees has volunteered once a quarter at the Foodbank since 2011, with as many as 29 people volunteering overall.

They chose the St. Louis Area  Foodbank because they wanted to volunteer for an effort that they knew would help as many families as possible in the greater St. Louis area. Several of these volunteers are parents or grandparents of Cub and/or Boy Scouts and became familiar with the Foodbank through the annual “Scouting for Food” drive. These volunteers perform repackaging tasks for various items and programs such as senior food boxes, fresh produce and items donated by local grocery stores.

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The St. Louis Area Foodbank is grateful for the ongoing commitment of these volunteers, as well as other volunteer groups. They make a real impact on our ability to keep costs down, to stretch our resources further and to benefit clients in need. If you have a group of people interested in volunteering at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, please visit our website. 

Pantry Spotlight: Bread For Life

Bread for Life Food Pantry in Troy, MO, focuses on the needs of families, including children and seniors.

Bread for Life Food Pantry, located in Troy, Mo., has served residents in need from Lincoln County since 2003. It began as a mission of the Greater Troy Ministerial Alliance, who recognized the need for a community food pantry. Today, the pantry operates as an independent nonprofit organization, distributing food to clients every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., except on the last Wednesday of the month, when hours are from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The Salvation Army uses the Bread for Life facility each Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. until noon, assisting clients needing help with housing and utilities.

bread for life

Clients can come to the pantry once each month. Back in 2003, it served approximately 50 families per month. Today, 390 families on average are served each month. In 2015, the pantry worked with a total of 5,563 families; 34 percent of those receiving food are children 18 and younger.

Working Together to Feed More People

Seniors are also a significant focus for the pantry. Bread for Life partners with the Lincoln County Council on Aging (LCCOA) in many ways. Each month, the pantry’s delivery of product from the St. Louis Area Foodbank includes a pallet of produce for LCCOA. Their drivers come to the pantry and take these produce items to the ‘Nutrition Site’. In addition, Bread for Life partners with LCCOA on the ‘Senior Box’ project. Thirty clients per month receive a box of food from the pantry – the boxes are delivered by the Nutrition Site drivers. The thirty recipients are chosen by LCCOA and they are not pantry clients, but are identified as in need of food. The program will expand to 50 boxes within the next six months.

The pantry also shares product with LCCOA on a regular basis. “If we have extra bread or other perishable items that need to be distributed before the next pantry day, LCCOA accepts the product to use in their daily operation,” says Harriet Zuroweste, Bread for Life co-director. “These blended programs have been very helpful to both agencies.”

Building Lives Through Community

For many clients, the Bread for Life Food Pantry provides not only food, but also a sense of community. “We have clients who live alone and have no family in the area,” Zuroweste notes. “First, they may come to the pantry as a client. After a few visits, they begin to know the workers who they see every month. And then it is not unusual for them to ask about volunteering – and they  become a part of the pantry family. We are often told they look forward to Wednesdays and coming to work with familiar faces. The pantry becomes an anchor for them.”

Bread for Life has obtained food from the Foodbank for more than a decade. “When donors ask if we would rather have food donations or cash, we always tell them cash,” says Zuroweste. “Cash donations go a long way in securing produce, canned goods, pizzas, chicken, pasta and all kinds of staples from the Foodbank.”

 

All for Food Safety and Food Safety for All!

This summer, we’re distributing kits to ensure food safety is a top priority.

In 2014, we received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to purchase food safety items for our partner pantries. The items distributed included thermal blankets, a thermometer, and bungee cords. All of these items are meant to keep food the correct temperature while in transit from our facility or from our retail grocery store partners.

High Standards for an Important Cause

According to AIB (the American Institute of Baking) and Feeding America standards, these items should be used to safely handle food. We take food safety very seriously and are held to high standards to provide quality food for our community partners.

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Food safety kits like these will be distributed to all of our partner agencies by the end of July.

 

Getting the Job Done

Thanks to a generous donation from the Walmart Foundation, we were able to purchase and distribute these kits to our partner Illinois pantries this year. By the end of July, we will have distributed these kits to all of our partner pantries in Missouri and Illinois. We take these measures to ensure the food we distribute stays in the best condition possible, so it’s ready for a hungry family to take it home.

Summer Vegetables

We have some good tips for how to include vegetables in your diet inexpensively.

Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, explains the importance of eating different types and colors of vegetables. In our most recent video, she explains how the color of a vegetable can indicate which vitamins are in it. She also has some great tips to save you money and keep you healthy by shopping locally.

Members of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs receive a convenient abundance of fresh, local produce and they build a relationship with their local food system.  Many members also appreciate the opportunity to try new types and varieties of vegetables.

If you’re interested in joining a CSA, here are three good recommendations in the area:

Gateway Greening 

Earth Dance 

Fair Shares 

If you’re interested in shopping at farmers markets, you can find a map of St. Louis area markets here.

If you want some tips on home gardening, check out our blog from April that has helpful resources.

Find more recipes and ideas for using vegetables on our website stlfoodbank.org.

June is National Dairy Month

Whether you’re enjoying a delicious yogurt parfait or a glass of milk, you’re doing yourself a favor with dairy!

Dairy is a great source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D – all necessary for strong and healthy bodies. Our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, put together a couple recipes for delicious, dairy-based snacks that are perfect for summer snacks.

We’d also like to thank the Midwest Dairy Council for their partnership in helping us get dairy to families in need.

Fruit Dip

Ingredients

¾ cup part-skim Ricotta cheese

½ cup vanilla low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice, or half of an orange, juiced

1 tablespoon finely shredded or zested orange peel

Assorted cut-up fresh fruit

Directions

  1.       Combine ricotta cheese, yogurt, sugar, orange juice and orange peel in a blender or food processor or mix by hand.
  2.       Blend or mix until smooth.
  3.       If desired, cover and chill up to 24 hours. Serve with assorted fruit like apple, pear, peach and orange slices to dip.

Fruit & Granola Parfait

Ingredients

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

½ cup crunchy granola or low fat cereal

½ cup fresh fruit, sliced (i.e. strawberries, blueberries, bananas)

Directions

  1.       To assemble parfait, begin with spooning half of the yogurt in the bottom of a bowl or tall glass.
  2.       Add 2 tablespoons granola and ½ cup fruit.
  3.       Spoon on the rest of the yogurt.
  4.       Top with remaining 2 tablespoons of granola.