According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, almost 80% of premature heart disease and stroke are preventable with healthy lifestyle behaviours. But people living in poverty often have limited access to healthy foods that can help reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and diabetes.
When you’re choosing items to donate to your local food bank, consider donating nutritious foods, particularly those that are considered heart-healthy. These items are desperately needed to help food banks provide good, nutritious options to the Canadians who have to make 1.3 million visits to food banks each month.
While perishable (fresh and frozen) foods cannot be collected for food drives, there are plenty of healthy options readily available in the canned and packaged food aisles of your local grocery. Here are some suggestions.
Fruits and Vegetables
Canada’s Food Guide recommends filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit at mealtime. Best choices:
- Fruit canned in water or fruit cups with no added sugar
- Low-sodium vegetable soups
- No-salt-added canned vegetables
- Sodium-reduced tomato sauce
Grains, Beans, Pulses
High-fibre foods can help with weight control and blood cholesterol management, which are risk factors for heart disease. Look for:
- Whole grain items such as oats, quinoa, or brown rice
- Whole grain cereals and pasta
There are plenty of healthy options that provide protein at a lower cost than meat. The items in this list are low in saturated fat, and each contains at least one heart-smart nutrient such as fibre, omega-3 fat, vitamin E, or potassium. Choose:
- Canned tuna, salmon, or sardines
- Dry or canned no-salt-added chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Peanut butter or other nut butters
- Unsalted nuts or soy nuts
CP is on Board with Heart-Healthy Donations
Our leadership partner Canadian Pacific is committed to improving heart health for all Canadians. In 2014, CP launched their community investment program CP Has Heart to help generate greater awareness about the importance of heart health and raise money towards cardiovascular research, equipment and care for cardiac patients. Since then, CP Has Heart has helped raise over $29 million to improve the heart health of adults and children across North America.
Thank you, Canadian Pacific!