Healthy Food Donation Ideas for Heart Month — and All Year

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 8 out of 10 cases 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, try to select 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 1.1 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 meal time. 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 pastas


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 heart health for all Canadians. Over the holiday season, the CP Holiday Train brings music and good cheer to towns across the country while encouraging people to donate healthy food to food banks. This past December, the CP Holiday Train supported food banks across Canada by raising $1.3 million and 200,000 pounds (90,000 kg) of food! Thank you, Canadian Pacific!