You see it at the grocery store and feel it at the pump. Rising food and fuel prices are impacting your budget. We’re feeling the pinch, too. While the need for basic, everyday foods is at an all-time high, their prices are also skyrocketing. Rice and cereal are two of these staples, with prices that have increased by 25% and 6%, respectively, over the last six months. Second Harvest uses your donations to buy the foods needed to round out a nutritious plate, but more expensive food means smaller portions. You can help us keep basics in the mix by donating these March foods of the month.
Rice is a global grain that knows no borders when it comes to enriching the health content of meals across the world. Rice comes in many shapes, sizes and colors – it’s as diverse as the populations that consume it! In addition to providing carbohydrates to fuel your body, it also contains several key nutrients, which is why the USDA has reserved a portion of MyPlate to be exclusively devoted to grains like rice. The USDA recommends 6 ounces of grains a day as part of the nation’s dietary guidelines.
Our Community Nutritionist Janet Hung explains, “It’s no surprise that rice is thrown at newly married couples during weddings, as a symbol of fertility, luck, and wealth. After all, rice is the primary dietary staple for more than half of the world’s population. Since brown rice is high in fiber, it gives a satisfying full feeling, and also eases digestion. It is also nutrient-dense and has over 15 vitamins and minerals.”
Many say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and among Americans who eat it, cereal is the most popular choice. Like rice, cereal fills the important grain section of MyPlate or, perhaps, MyBowl. Hot cereal is easy to prepare and cold cereal can be enjoyed with milk, yogurt or by itself. Cereals also contain many important vitamins and minerals. Low-sugar options offer a quick and healthy start to the day, so it’s no wonder that the food pantries we serve call cereal a most-wanted food.
Unfortunately, with these price increases we have to buy smaller packages, and fewer of them, which is leaving MyPlate unbalanced.
How can I help?
You can help by donating rice and cereal, or hosting a drive to collect them where you live or work. All varieties, especially whole grains and low-sugar options, are welcome. Although 20-pound bags of rice are accepted, we do prefer smaller portions that can be distributed to individuals and families. You can also donate online to help Second Harvest buy more of the basics that keep our neighbors in need healthy.
Thank you for helping to fill the plate and keep basics in the mix!