Babas Cupboard

Healthy Eating Starts at the Food Shelf

Babas Cupboard
Dedicated to helping the food shelves of America become healthy and dietary restriction-friendly
Babas Cupboard
Having a healthy weight is important for everyone. Help us provide that option to beneficiaries of food shelves around the United States.

About

Contact

Donate

Where Do Tomatoes Come From?

Have you ever wondered where do tomatoes come from? They’re one of the most common vegetables used in food preparation, so why not dive into there whereabouts?!

History of The Tomato

red tomato

Tomatoes can be found in numerous varieties, but they were originated in South America. Although the native people of South America originally perceived tomatoes as poison, so no one ever consumed them.

The taste of the tomato was first discovered in Peru, but as the South Americans moved there way north to Mexico they came upon a bunch of tomato plants that were being cultivated by the people of Mexico. It’s unknown how the Spanish explorers knew of the tomato plant, but when they were ready to head back to Europe they didn’t forget to bring it with them. Europe embraced the beauty of the tomato and it eventually was featured in a Nepalese cookbook.

Where’s The Tomato Now?

Since we’ve overcome the fear of considered poisoned tomatoes, Americans have fallen in love with them. The USDA reports that each American consumes about 20 pounds of tomatoes a year and most of this consumption comes from fresh gardens.

Is The Tomato a Fruit or Vegetable?

Of course the tomato would be considered a fruit by definition, but why do we consider it a vegetable? Well, it dates back to 1887 when a tariff imposed a 10% tax on vegetables and not fruit. You would think that tariff would have favored the tomato, but keep in mind the government considered the tomato to be a vegetable.

It all started with a tomato importer named John Nix. Nix changed it all when he sued the tax collector on claims that the tomato was actually a fruit and he should be exempt from the taxes. Nix was defeated by the government and they ruled the tomato to be a vegetable. So, the question still remains; is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

Whether you categorize the tomato as a fruit or vegetable its nutrients are the same. They are healthy, great tasting and are a good food to incorporate into your diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to consider adding a supplement and tomatoes into your diet. Supplements such as Garcinia Active or Herba Life are great for living a healthy life.

So now if you ever get asked where do tomatoes come from you are full of knowledge on the topic and can answer that question with confidence. Although, some do not care for the taste of a raw tomato you can still get the benefits of it from foods such as pasta or pizza sauce. Happy healthy eating!

 

Save

Save

Save

Does Organic Ice Cream Exist?

Everyone’s got a sweet tooth, but you may be trying to lose wright and/or trying to eat healthier, so is there alternative options? As just mentioned, everyone’s got a sweet tooth, so of course someone has come up with a recipe to fulfill the craving. Ice cream is one of the largest money making industries of sweets in the United States, so is ice cream an option if you’re trying to eat healthier?

Does Organic Ice Cream Exist?Organic Ice Cream

The answer to that question is, YES! So now that you’ve gotten the answer you were waiting for how exactly is this delicious treat organic?

Ice cream that has been labeled with the word “organic” on it has to be made with all organic ingredients. There are a number of organic ingredients that can go into a tub of organic ice cream, but some of the main organic ingredients include: cream, milk, agave, vanilla and egg yolks. Keep in mind all of these ingredients are of course organic.

How Do I Make Organic Ice Cream?

So, now that you know the answer to the question. “Does Organic Ice Cream Exist?” you should definitely know how to make your own! There are many organic ice cream recipes, but the following organic vanilla ice cream recipe is our favorite:

Ingredients:

2 cups organic cream
1 cup organic milk
Agave to taste
Organic vanilla to taste
2 organic egg yolks

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a bowl and use a whisk to mix. Pour into an ice cream maker and turn on for 25 minutes. Scoop desired amount into a bowl and grab a spoon and enjoy!

If you’re the type of person that enjoys more flavor you can simply add in a small amount of fruit into the ice cream maker in the last few minutes of churning.

What If I Need Sugar?

Agave Nectar for Organic Ice CreamThe agave is added as a sweetener, but you can also use honey or -gasp!- sugar. It’s all up to you and we’re not here to dictate what anyone can eat, but if you’re the type of person that just can’t let sugar go you might want to try Max Slims to help get you past the cravings. This supplement is known to help relieve cravings of sugars that are a nuisance in your diet and it promotes weight loss. Eating healthier without the sugars will allow you to loose more weight in a healthier manner.

We’ve talked to plenty of people that have tried this organic recipe and they say they don’t feel the need for sugar in their diet any longer. Organic ice cream has helped a lot of individuals battle their sugar cravings while remaining to eat healthy. If you’ve tried this organic ice cream recipe or have tried others we would love to hear what you think about it in a comment below. If you think more people should know about organic ice cream then you might want to consider sending this recipe along with a couple ingredients to your local food shelf. Let others know sweets can still be enjoyed without the sugar!

 

 

Save

Save

How Organic Foods Affect Your Body

Over recent years eating organic has become very popular. Knowing what is actually organic and how to read food labels is the confusing part. Making a commitment to eating organic is a great way to starting a healthier life. Knowing how organic foods affect your body can really have an impact on your health and the environment.

What is Organic Food?

There are many factors that come into play when labeling a food product as organic. In order for a product to be labeled as organic it must meet the following requirements:

  • Grown in safe soilOrganic Stamp - How Organic Foods Affect Your Body
  • Have no modifications
  • Must remain separate from conventional products
  • No use of synthetic pesticides
  • No use of bio engineered genes (GMOs)
  • No use of petroleum-based fertilizers
  • No use of sewage fertilizers
  • Livestock must have access to the outdoors and be fed organic feed
  • Livestock may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal-by-products

The Benefits of Organic Food

Organic foods provide an abundance of benefits. Studies have shown that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients than conventionally grown products. The following are a list of some of the benefits of organic food:

Cow - How Organic Foods Affect Your BodyOrganic produce contains fewer pesticides – A lot of pesticides are used in conventional farming and because of this residues are left on and in foods we consume.

Organic farming is better for the environment – Organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy. Farming without pesticides is also good for the wildlife, people who live near farms, and farm workers.

Organic food is often fresher – Organic food often tastes better, because it doesn’t contain preservatives.

Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts – In conventional farming the use of antibiotics creates antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. When someone gets sick from these strains they become less responsive to antibiotic treatment.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients – Omega-3 fatty acids were up to 50% higher in organic meat and milk.

Organic food is GMO free – GMO foods are plants or animals whose DNA has been altered in order to be resistant to pesticides. Organic crops contain no GMOs and organic meat comes from animals raised on organic GMO free feed.

How Organic Foods Affect Your Body

A lot of people strongly believe organic foods are better for your body, but how exactly do they affect it?

Antioxidant Impact

Foreign chemicals are not negatively affecting the vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that impact organic products in the prevention of things like cancer, heart disease, and visions problems. Choosing organic can lead to increased intake of desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic metals.

Pesticide Reduction

The reduction of pesticides in organic food is one of the main reasons a lot of people have been buying organic. Pesticides are used to keep pests away from crops and they are composed of powerful chemicals such as organophosphorus. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems like autism and ADHD. Many people choose to eat organic to insure their children grow up healthy and avoid toxins during developmental years.

Immune System

In animal testing, GMO foods have been shown to reduce immune system strength, increase birth mortality, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. GMOs might increase the size of tomatoes, but it will only increase the chances of these things from happening.

These things listed above are just some of the many ways how organic foods affect your body. If you are interested in organic food a great way to start is organically growing your own vegetables indoors. This way you can control what happens to the product and donate the excess to your local food shelf! With a little research and studying how to spot organic products in your local grocer, you can be on your way to a healthier life.

 

Dehydrated Camping Food

Summer is in full force and I’m sure you or your family will be breaking out the camping equipment and planning a trip. While planning that trip why not think about what kind of food you will bring ahead of time instead of the night before! Last minute shopping for camping food most always results in quick and unhealthy choices, but by planning ahead of time you can choose healthier options that are just as quick. With a little preparation beforehand, dehydrating your camping food may be an option that is right for you.

Choosing a Dehydrator

If you don’t already have a dehydrator there are a couple options you can consider when buying one:

Vertical Flow Dehydrators
These dehydrators have the fan at the top or the bottom of the unit. Dehydrated Camping Food - Vertical Flow DehydratorAlthough there are two options, the most efficient is the bottom because hot air rises to provide the best heat distribution. The only drawback to dehydrating camping food with a bottom drying element is that drippings from the food can get into the fan and make cleanup difficult. The issues with the top drying element is that the food that is placed on the top will dry quicker than the food at the bottom. Although this issue may work in your favor, because not all foods have the same dry time.

Dehydrated Camping Food - Horizontal Flow Dehydrator


Horizontal Flow Dehydrators
These dehydrators have the fan in the back of the unit. This type is considered better because the heat is distributed evenly throughout the unit and it allows the food to hold more of its flavor than dripping down into the fan or becoming overly dry. Although this type is more favorable it is usually larger and more expensive.
For the purpose of dehydrated camping food either of these types of dehydrators will work, so do a little research and determine which is the better fit for you.

Dehydrated Camping Food

Apples
Cut the apples into 1/8 inch thick slices and immediately place onto drying racks at 135° for 8 hours. Most fruits go through an oxidation process where they start to brown, so the faster you do this process the more nutrients the fruit will hold.

Bananas
Chose bananas that have little specks of brown on them, not too brown or green. Peel the bananas and slice them into 1/8 inch thick pieces and place them on the drying racks at 135° for 8 hours or until they are chip-like.

JerkyDehydrated Camping Food - Jerky
Almost any kind of meat can be made into jerky, but we find that lean beef stands up the best. If you decide to try out other kinds of meat be sure to use fresh and lean cuts. Prior to cutting the  meat into slices you should cut all the fat off, because fat does not dehydrate well and will only make the meat portion of the slice become very dry. For maximum flavor marinade the meat in your favorite marinade or season with your favorite spices. Cut the meat into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on drying racks at 135° for 8-12 hours.

Potatoes
Peel desired amount of potatoes and blanch them in boiling water for 8 minutes. After blanching immediately place potatoes in ice cold water for 15 minutes. After they have been submerged in ice cold water take them out and pat them dry with a paper towel. Use vegetable oil spray on the racks before placing the potatoes on. Allow the potatoes to dry for 3 hours, but after the first hour turn them over, then flip them every 30 minutes after that. When done they should look pale white with a hint of yellow; don’t allow them to get brown, because they will become too dry.

These foods are just a few of the many things that can be dehydrated camping food. There are many dehydrator recipes that you can try with other kinds of food, but these types are our favorite. If you have a favorite dehydrator recipe don’t forget to share the outcome with your local food shelf and share with us what it is below!

 

Juicing Recipes that Burn Belly Fat

Any expert will tell you the hardest place to lose fat is the stomach. If you are fed up with your mid section and want to burn more belly fat you may want to consider changing your diet regime to include some juicing recipes. There are many healthy foods you can include in your diet, but consuming them all in one sitting and staying healthy is merely impossible. This is why juicing a bunch of healthy foods and consuming these daily drinks will allow you to burn that pesky belly fat.

Foods that Burn Belly Fat

Here are some foods you can incorporate into your diet that will allow you to feel healthier:

  1. Nuts
    Eating nuts suppresses appetite, so when they are digested your body signals to your brain that you are full and only a small amount of nuts are needed to make you feel this way.
  2. Milk
    Calcium has a lot to do with your body composition, because when calcium is low your body signals fat cells to hold onto fat, including the stomach area. There are some types of milk that are not as healthy as others, but low-fat milk, almond milk, and soy milk are great healthy options. If you are unsure of which milk may be right for you, an article comparing all of the options is available here.
  3. Avocado
    This popular food has a high unsaturated fat content, evidence implies that a low calorie diet with unsaturated fat can help trim belly fat.

There are many more foods that could be included in this list, but these are a few of the main ingredients that are included in many juicing recipes that help burn belly fat.

Belly Fat Busting Juice Recipes

Pear Green Smoothie for Weight Loss
 Pear Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup spinach
1 pear
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup ice cubes

 

 

Watermelon Delight Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup watermelon
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Smooth Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 cups kale
1/2 ripe avocado
1 cup ice cubes

All of these smoothie options are not only great for losing belly fat, but can be made anytime for a Juicing Recipes that burn Belly Fathealthy drink. All of the ingredients above can be purchased at your local grocery store and while you are there why not pick up a couple extra ingredients for a smoothie to share with someone at your local food shelf! I’m sure there are plenty of belly fat burning juicing recipes out there, but these are our favorites. If you have any favorite’s of your own feel free to share them below in a comment, we would love to here yours.

Save

Save

How to Grow Vegetables Indoors

A first step towards healthy eating and weight loss is to make sure you’re getting enough balance in your diet. The average American should be replacing some of the refined carbohydrates that they consume with fruits and vegetables in order to better manage their weight. Refined carbs are considered “empty calories” because they hold minimal nutritional value. These carbs are usually found in white rice, white breads, and white pastas among other things.

Carbohydrates can make us gain weight because we often eat refined carbs in greater quantities. However, the healthy carbs, those found in fruits, veggies, and whole grain foods, are extremely important for your diet so knowing the difference between refined and whole carbs is essential.

One of the biggest reasons that people hesitate to eat more fruits and veggies is because of the cost. It can be expensive to buy fresh, and organic produce and time-consuming to have to go to the store and buy them every week since they don’t last much longer than that.

The best alternative to this problem is to grow your own produce. This blog post will go over How to Grow Vegetables Indoors, the best types of veggies, and how much to grow for you and your family (and maybe some extra for the local food shelf!).

How to Grow Vegetables Indoors

When thinking about how to grow vegetables indoors, you’ll need quite a few supplies and a bit of knowledge.

Light

First, you’ll need to consider how much light your plants will need. Most types of herbs, fruits, and vegetables require similar amounts of sunlight, but if you find yourself with a couple of plants with different lighting needs, there are easy ways to combat this problem. How to Grow Vegetables Indoors using a veggie wall

There are many different kinds of lamps you could use for indoor vegetable growing. The ones we suggest are the Fluorescent Lights (good for herbs and other low light plants) and High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs, which are the brightest bulbs available. The latter bulbs will allow you to output the same amount of light as 50 40-watt fluorescent bulbs.

The light the plants received will also depend on how close you put the light to the produce. Monitoring your plants closely will help you determine if they’re getting too much or too little light or if they’re too cold or too hot.

Humidity

If you’re gardening in the winter, humidity might be a problem for you as well since the air tends to be drier. You’ll need to increase the humidity if your plants begin to look withered, if they lose their leaves, or the tips of the leaves are turning a brown color.

In order to increase the humidity, you may need to get a humidifier or begin to mist the plants every day. If you buy seed packets for your veggies, there should be information on how much light, humidity, and what temperature they need to be at.

Soil and Fertilizer

1280518.largeThe soil you decide to plant your produce in is extremely important. This goes the same for fertilizer. Don’t dig up a pile of dirt from outside to use for your plants because that dirt could contain impurities harmful to your veggies.

Nearly any store-bought soil will work well since they are packaged with helpful nutrients. Try to grab a looser mix with more aeration as this will allow your plants to breathe and get more oxygen.

If you decide to fertilize your plants (which we highly recommend), you can purchase fertilizer at any local gardening shop. Or you could make your own out of a compost made from food scrapes. We talked about composting your food in this post.

Maintaining your Plants

Remember to water your produce every day but be careful not to over water. Your plants should not be sitting in a pot of water but the soil should always be slightly moist. Pruning your plants helps them grow healthier and larger as well.

Pinch off excess foliage so that your fruits and veggies are getting more airflow. You can pinch about 1/3 of the flowering buds and it will actually increase the yield of your plant. If you see a fruit forming that isn’t up to par with the rest, don’t fret about snipping it off, this will assure that your produce is prime.

Storage

After you’ve harvested your bountiful produce, make sure you know how to store it so that it keeps fresh. If you’ve found that you’ve produced more than you and your family can consume, you can can or pickle it, or even better, you can donate it your local food shelf! As we’ve mentioned countless times, check with your local donation center and make sure they have the means to keep this product until someone can pick it up.

If you’re able to successfully grow vegetables indoors, you’ll be saving money, losing weight, and feeling mentally renewed (from having green nature around you all four seasons of the year)! Good luck with your endeavors and comment below if you have any other tips or tricks, or if you’d like to share you experience. Thanks for reading!

Does Eating Kale Help You Lose Weight?

Here at Babas Cupboard we’ve had multiple people email us with questions in relation to our blog posts, our mission, or about healthy eating in general. And since we’ve gotten so many! We decided to post a couple of those questions every so often so we can share our knowledge with all of our readers. An email we got last week that we really enjoyed was this one:

“Hi Babas Cupboard, I’ve enjoyed the posts you’ve written so far and I really admire your mission. Every time I’ve donated to a food shelf, it’s always been canned food because I’m never sure what they accept. Your blog has proved quite eye-opening.

Anyways, I have a question that I’ve been wondering for a while. I’ve heard this craze about kale lately and people that are calling it a “super food”. I’ve seen it at the grocery store and have considered even growing my own. I’m interested to hear if this is something that I can donate to a food shelf, it seems like it would be great for people who need ‘super food’.

I’ve also wondered for a while: Does eating kale help you lose weight? I want to incorporate it more into my diet but not if it’s just some fad going around! Thanks!”Michelle, 29 from Ohio

Thanks for your kind message, Michelle! Kale (or borecole) is definitely a fantastic way to improve your daily nutrient intake. Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables on earth. Just one cup of it contains over 100% of your recommended daily consumption of Vitamins A, K, and C. and this only includes 33 calories.

Does Eating Kale Help You Lose Weight?It’s considered part of the same family as broccoli and cabbage so you know it’s great for you! However, there have been no studies done that prove eating Kale might help you lose weight. Although, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid the vegetable! This curly leaf can be added to many recipes to improve your diet.

There are many aspects of kale that suggest it might assist with weight loss. One aspect is that it’s such a fibrous plant, kale helps you feel more full after eating it. Eating less is one of the first steps to losing weight.

Eating raw kale can have its disadvantages, too. The tough, fibrous stems and stalks of this food are tough for our bodies to digest but there are several ways that we can combat this.

  • First, you can massage the leaves and stems while you are rinsing it out if you are going to be consuming it raw in a smoothie or juice or even in a salad.
  • You can also add certain spices like black pepper, fennel, cumin, or ginger root to improve the digestibility of raw kale.
  • Third, you can cook the kale if you’re using it in dishes. This removes some of the nutritional value, however, you wouldn’t be getting the nutrients in the first place if your stomach can’t digest the food.

One of the most popular ways to consume this super food is to add it to your smoothie! Adding a handful of kale to a fruit smoothie will hardly change the taste but add a crazy amount of nutrients.

If you’re currently on a juice cleanse, adding kale to your juices will help you avoid feeling hungry all day. One of the reasons people advise against juice cleanses even though they are ultimately Kale Juice Cleansegood for you, is because you aren’t getting your daily intake of vitamins and key nutrients. Kale will remedy this with just half a cup added to your current juicing routine.

In terms of whether or not it will do well at a food shelf, we’ve mentioned before to check with your local shelf if they take fresh produce. However, your best bet would be to grab some organic kale chips at your local grocery store. These are still an excellent way to provide those who benefit from food shelves with a more nutritious meal.

Thank you for your question, Michelle! We hope it’s helped you decide whether or not to pick up some kale and start cooking!

How to Increase the Shelf Life of Food

One of the best ways to save money and time is to increase the shelf life of your food. You’ll save money because your food will last longer and you’ll save time because you won’t have to go to the store as much. Knowing this, you’ll be able to extend the life of some of your healthier, less preservative-packed foods and use these products rather than the sodium rich boxed meals that have already been sitting on your shelf for ages. You’ll be able to donate those to the food shelf.

There are many reasons people might want to make their food last longer. Looking around on the internet, it seems most people either want to:

  • make their fresh produce last longer so they can buy higher quantities and save money,
  • clear up pantry space by moving certain foods to the refrigerator
  • be able to survive longer should something happen

Now we’re not sure about survival or emergency meal prepping but we think many of these tips could apply to that as well. Drying and canning will make your food last an extremely long time so that would be your best bet if any of you out there have stumbled upon us looking for some ideas. This article will be more about preserving your fresh herbs and produce and meat. The steps we will provide for you will cover which foods to refrigerate and which ones to keep on the pantry shelf, some tips on canning and storing, some ideas for keeping your leftovers longer and lastly, how to tell if your food has spoiled and what you can do.

Refrigerator vs. Pantry

One of our biggest concerns while grocery shopping is whether our not we will eat the fresh food we want before it spoils. These concerns are valid and it’s a big reason why many people prefer buying frozen meat and canned vegetables. While these are perfectly fine alternatives, it’s always a healthier solution to buy fresh products whether it’s from your chain grocery store or the local farmers market. The first step to understand how to make this fresh produce last, is to know the difference of refrigerator produce and pantry produce. Many people assume that just because it’s fresh, means it must be kept in the crisper in order to retain it’s freshness. Well this is not the case.

Here’s a handy list of which items you can put in your refrigerator and which to keep in a cold, dry pantry.

Refrigerator Pantry
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Berries and Cherries
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Ginger
  • Grapes
  • Jalepeños
  • Leafy Greens and Fresh Herbs
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Citrus
  • Garlic
  • Kiwi
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
An organized fridge shows where you should keep your different foods
from SquawkFox

This excellent visual from SquawkFox provides a great visual on where to keep your refrigerated goods.

1. Set the temperature to 40 degrees or below
2. Check humidity settings on produce crispers and deli drawers to ensure correct levels according to produce
3. Store leftovers for up to 4 days in clear glass containers so that you can see them and remind yourself to eat them
4. Don’t mix fruits, veggies, and meat in crisper. It spoils food and leads to cross contamination
5. Don’t place milk or quick-to-expire perishables in fridge doors because the temperatures there fluctuate greatly
6. Store raw meat and seafood on the bottom shelf so that any drippings don’t contaminate other food
7. Make sure there is enough room in your fridge so that the cold air can get around
8. Don’t slice food until you’re ready to eat it, if you need to do so, freeze it
9. Take stock of your fridge before each grocery trip to ensure you’re using everything
10. Clean your refrigerator often. Spills and messes can lead to mold and mildew and contamination

Canning and Storing

Canning helps to increase the shelf life of many foods

In addition to learning where to place your foods and produce in your kitchen, there are also different ways to store them to increase the shelf life of food. Depending on how long you’d like your food to last, there are several methods that will increase the freshness of produce by a couple of days and there are methods that will keep your food for months like canning and dehydrating.

The important thing to remember about produce is which give off ethylene gas, a natural substance that impacts any other fruits and vegetables you might have near. Real Simple has an excellent list of foods and how to correctly store them. Here are a couple of other tips:

  • Storing your food in glass mason jars will help keep it fresh for a couple more days and prevent ethylene from escaping.
  • Make sure you’re removing spoiled food from contact with other food to prevent those from going bad as well.
  • Keeping your leafy herbs like flowers in your fridge will keep them fresh longer. Just put the herbs stem down in glass jars filled with water and cover with a plastic bag. You could use this method for asparagus as well.
  • A mixture of water and a bit of vinegar will keep your berries from going moldy for a couple of weeks. Having a smaller portion of vinegar ensures that the berries won’t infuse with the taste. Just give them a quick soak, then put them in a container in the fridge.

Other ways of making food last is canning and dehydrating. Canning or pickling will allow you to preserve many types of foods and recipes for months to years. Canning is done by creating a vacuum seal with heat that prevents air from getting to the food and aging or spoiling it. Pickling is soaking foods in brine or vinegar through fermentation. Using either of these techniques will vastly improve the lifetime of your foods. Food dehydrating is a way of using heat to quickly dry out different types of foods, mainly fruits and vegetables. A food dehydrator is used for this task and you can make anything from fruit leathers to beef jerky, to homemade dog treats.

Lasting Leftovers

Leftovers are good for a maximum of four days before they risk growing bacteria and start tasting bad. The other option is to freeze it for up to four months. But how should you store them so that they still taste as fresh as possible? There are a couple of things you can do to guarantee your delicious food doesn’t go to waste.

  • Make sure that the containers you use to store the food is airtight so that no harmful bacteria can get in and spoil it.
  • Thaw your food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never let it sit out on the counter.
  • Store your salads and breads with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  • Reheat chicken, pizza, and breads in the microwave a microwave-safe glass of water to prevent sogginess from setting in. If you have access to an oven, even better.

Spoiled Food

The food that goes bad in your fridge and leftovers from a meal that you might decide to throw away make up about 25% of your garbage. Taking this 25% and using it to compost can be very beneficial for your waste bills and your yard or garden. Adding compost to your garden reintroduces much needed minerals and nutrients into the ground and acts as a fertilizer. Vegetable waste, fruit seeds, peels, and cores, eggshells, nut shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, even paper towels (just leave out towels you have used with household cleaners or bleaches).

All of these tips will help you create a healthier, and long-lasting pantry and fridge. Hopefully now you can start cooking up some fresh food and donate your prepackaged meals to the food shelves! Comment below for additional tips or questions!

 

10 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

10 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

At Babas Cupboard, our mission is to make donors aware that food shelves accept more than just cans of beans or boxes of rice that has been sitting in your pantry. We really love that you guys are donating, but we want to make you aware that our recipients need to eat healthy too. To increase this awareness, today we’re going to talk about Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating.

When many of us think of pantry food, the first things that come to mind is carbs and canned soups and preserved veggies. In reality, there is much more that food shelves need to be donated for recipients to lead a healthier lifestyle. We’re going to look at 10 pantry staples for healthier eating that can be donated and that are in short supply. We hope our list is helpful not only to get an idea of what you can donate, but it might make you a bit more health conscious as well.

1. Canned Tuna
Cans of Tuna are great Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

Canned meat is in high demand and while it may not come to mind that canned tuna might be healthy for you, it’s actually very nutritious and easy to mix into a variety of salads or sandwiches for a little extra nutrients and flavor. Canned tuna is packed with protein and contains less than 1 gram of fat. Tuna also contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids which support brain health and development. Niacin can also be found in this fish. Niacin promotes a healthy digestive system, and keeps in your skin and nerves in tip top shape. Canned tuna has a combination of nutrients that is hard to find anywhere else. Taking vitamins isn’t always an option for those who frequent the food shelf so getting a healthy dose of canned tuna is especially important.

2. Peanut Butter

While on the topic of protein, according to Care2.com, peanut butter has many health benefits. In addition to having quite a long shelf life, it also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, it’s a huge source of vitamins and nutrients, and it helps protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Peanut Butter is a valuable pantry staple for healthy eating because it’s extremely versatile and delicious. If you plan on donating peanut butter to a food shelf, try to buy a jar with the lowest amount of added ingredients and especially look out for sugars and hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

3. Granola Bars

This is something that should be in everyone’s cabinet for when you’re running late to work in the mornings or you just need a healthy midnight snack. It is very common for people to overall have a sweeping assumption that all granola bars and cereal bars are healthy. What’s healthier than a bunch of nuts and oats, right? Well the danger comes in what the producer uses to stick those oats Every KIND granola bar includes dried cane syrup in itand nuts together. If you look closely at the ingredients, many will include hydrogenated oils like we suggested to avoid above. Don’t trust a box that tells you it’s healthy, read the ingredients list to really get the lowdown on what’s in that bar. Another ingredient to look out for is dried cane syrup, or evaporated cane juice. It’s a type of sweetener that’s just as bad sugar. KIND brand granola bars are considered one of the healthiest type because they believe that no product should have ingredients you can’t pronounce. It seems like a good trade off but simply replacing a big word with a couple of smaller words isn’t going to change the fact that there are still sugars in the product. Also keep in mind that most food shelves prefer bars without peanuts so that those with peanut allergies can still eat them.

4. Almonds

Almonds have the longest shelf life of any other nut and are loaded with fiber and calcium. More so than most other nuts. The great thing about almonds is that they can be used for anything from cooking, baking, or just a snack! They’re a great source of nutrition so those who utilize the food shelf will find almonds fill many of their needs. This nut is excellent for managing weight because just a handful will help you feel more full. The best type of almonds to give are raw and unsalted, as those are healthiest, but roasted almost also have a high amount nutrients, some are just lost in the roasting process.

5. Condiments and Spices

Some extremely important things to bring to a food shelf that you don’t think about are condiments and spices. These add flavor and excitement to cooking meals. Many people don’t cook their healthy pantry food spicesown food at home because they don’t feel their cooking tastes as good as a restaurant’s. It’s because most of them either can’t afford to buy spices to add taste to their meals or they don’t think to buy them when they’re at the store. Having them in your own home will also encourage you to cook more at home as well. Having a good grasp on which spices go with which kind of food and what kind of taste will help you make more delicious foods on your own and get you out of that nasty habit of going out for dinner. Gourmet Garden has a great Herb Pairing Guide which will help you get a good idea of which spice are most common and for which kind of food. If you know you have a large ethnic population that uses your local food shelf, consider what type of herbs that population might be using in their everyday cooking.

6. Popcorn Kernals

These are a fantastic treat because it’s a low calorie snack. A cup of seeds is only 55 calories and making sure you get an organic, non-flavored type is important so that you can add your own, healthy spices. However, kernels can be limiting as they’re not usually used in cooking and as only a snack but you can eat them as just the kernels or you can pop them in your favorite flavored oil.

7. Oats and Oatmeal

We already went over granola bars but some old fashioned oats are even better. Oats are extremely versatile and can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Oats make sure you get your daily intake of fiber which helps lower cholesterol. Keep in mind to look at the nutrition labels, however. Some of a pile of oats is a pantry staple necessary for healthy eatingthese flavored instant oatmeal packets are loaded with sugars and discount the nutritional value that oats provides on its own. All Recipes has a huge list of recipes you can use to create a meal with oats. Grab one of these recipes for an example of other things to bring to a food shelf.

 

8. Whole Wheat Pasta

While it’s true that food shelves receive a lot of pasta and noodles, it’s rare that they get healthy options like whole wheat, veggie pasta, or gluten-free. Whole wheat pasta is much better for you than regular, it’s a great pantry staple for healthy eating because it hasn’t gone through the nutrient-stripping refining process that white pasta has. This process removes some of the most nutritious parts of the wheat. One downfall is that whole wheat pasta does have a shorter shelf life than white, but we guarantee this pasta won’t last long on shelf because it’s delicious and healthy.

9. Fresh vegetables and fruit

Although some food shelves don’t accept fresh produce, it’s welcomed at large, high volume donation centers. Check with your local food shelf. It’s very uncommon for people to donate fresh ingredients and food and when it is donated and it’s usually picked up right away when it is.

10. Holiday Staples

For this one, we suggest checking with your local food shelf because although it is popular for food shelves to have a holiday themed donation drop-off, some don’t have the resources to keep these foods from perishing. However, if your shelf does accept these items, they’re an excellent addition and we highly recommend donating them because recipients enjoy celebrating holidays just like you. Some examples include pantry non-perishables like stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes. Some food shelves even accept turkeys or hams during this time!

We hope our post has not only encouraged you to widen your horizons on your own pantry but also to reconsider what foods you bring to your local food shelf. If you have any questions about food that can be donated, comment below or contact us.

About

Baba’s Cupboard is an online-based non-profit devoted to informing the public about food shelves and donation centers in the United States. We aim to not only increase overall donations, but also to broaden the average person’s views of stereotypical food shelf donations. Donations can be more than just canned food, Even though those who utilize the offerings provided by these food shelves are grateful for anything they can get, we should still keep in mind certain dietary restrictions caused by someone’s health, religion, or beliefs.

Food Shelves

Mission and Vision

Mission

Our mission is simple. We want to expand the public knowledge on food shelf donations. We need to have more dietary-specific donations being made. We aim to keep healthy, organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, etc. restrictions at the top of mind.

Vision

We hope to spread our message and get others involved in broadening the public’s knowledge. Unlike many programs that have large events in which they draw in a majority of their overall donations, most local food shelves simply accept constant donations without promoting a time in which it’s especially important to donate. We are on a quest to change this. Our vision to do so includes several goals that we wish to accomplish:

  1. Create an unofficial “Week of Giving” to go viral on various social media.
    1. We expect this day to be in the same week as Thanksgiving.
    2. By encouraging people to buy an extra meal when they’re doing their grocery shopping for the holidays, it will put consumers in the mindset of buying quality food specifically for the intended purpose of going to a food shelf instead of grabbing whatever they have at home.
    3. Around this time of the year, people are in good spirits and the good will of Thanksgiving is tied into donating.
    4. Those who are in need will see a surplus of food and will be able to celebrate the holiday accordingly.
    5. By promoting this event on social media, it will become widespread and social users who share will not only feel validated by others’ thoughts of their post, but they will also feel the need to follow through with donating.
  2. Involve more local events to use food shelf donations as a form of entrance fee or discount
  3. Provide trucks that pick up donations from houses
  4. Ask local businesses to provide food shelves with coupons to their establishment after donating

Our message speaks to those who are good-natured and well-meaning, but feel they don’t have the time or knowledge to donate to the food shelf. By having a large event in which they can see themselves as part of a tangible, measurable goal, they will be motivated to give to the cause.

Staff

Our mission is driven by seven individuals, two of which are volunteers. We consist of tech personnel, blog writers, grant writers, social media experts, and community liasons. If you’re interested in helping us get the word out, please share our message on social media. Or contact us.

History

Although Baba’s Cupboard does not yet have much of a history, we have a lot of heart and hope to pass on a legacy that made a difference in the lives of many Americans in need. As a non-profit founded in 2016, we have the future in mind and we will utilize current technologies, trends, and medias to get our message out there.

Save

Contact

Please contact Baba’s Cupboard if you’re interested in getting involved through volunteering, sharing, or any way! Also if you have questions about our non-profit or about the work we do, we are happy to answer anything you might send our way. We will return your message within 1-2 business days. Thank you!

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Donate

Thank you for your interest in helping out!

Donating to our cause makes sure that we can keep our non-profit up and running. Our administrative costs include staff salaries, upkeep costs like rent and website hosting and implementation of our marketing campaigns to raise awareness of our organization and goals.

How you can help

We gladly accept many forms of donating that people can offer. Even if you don’t have the resources to donate money, we are always in need of volunteers.

volunteer

Volunteering

We have a host of volunteer opportunities and you can even work from home while you’re doing it! Currently we are in need of:

  • Web designers and developers
  • Social media experts and Community Outreach
  • Staff writers
  • Administrative staff (in house)

If you are interested in any of our volunteer opportunities, please contact us.

Donating

Our donation plans include a one-time payment, or a monthly gift plan. Any amount helps our cause. After donating, we will send you an email with an image certifying that you donated to our program. You could share this on social media or email to your friends and family to get them involved.

Donation Information

I would like to make a donation in the amount of:

$50$20$10$5Other

I would like this donation to automatically repeat each month

Donor Information

First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Please do not display my name publicly. I would like to remain anonymous
Phone:
Facebook633
Twitter23
Follow by Email