The Food Bank is committed to ensuring our communities have the resources they need to promote and access healthy foods. Below are our nutrition team’s videos, recipes and tips for eating healthy on a limited budget.

Don’t forget to download our very own free cookbook, The Flexible Pantry>

Video Tutorials

Peach Salsa With Frozen Peaches >


Nutrition is back at it again. ? This time crafting a delicious Peach Salsa using the same frozen peaches that are provided to our member agencies! That means you can get your hands on these too and try it out yourself. Be sure to let us know what you think ?? If you’d like the recipe, you can screenshot it, or use this link:

♬ original sound – Food Bank of Western Mass

Easy Shifts to Eat Better

Eating on a Budget

Eating on a budget is difficult and can be overwhelming at times. From the Food Bank’s Own Cookbook, to Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap Cookbook (Bueno y Barato) here are many ways to make a budget work to fit your needs!

The Flexible Pantry: a Food Bank Cookbook

Cooking on a Budget

Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning with SNAP

Microwaves are one of the easiest cooking tools to use. They can also do much more than just heat frozen dinners or leftovers. Affordable and healthy meals can be prepared with access to a microwave and a refrigerator.  There’s no need for a stove or oven to make a wide variety of tasty dishes.

Making the Most of Your Microwave

Buying spices may not be your first priority; they can be expensive and do not help keep you full or give you energy. However, small bottles can last for many meals, so invest in them when you can — check with your local dollar store or discount grocer for good deals.

Spending on Spices

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Fed up with limited healthy meal options?  Tired of eating leftovers all the time?  If you usually cook for one or two people, you probably face these frustrations.  Small-quantity cooking can be made easier.

Cooking for One or Two

Cooking on hot summer days can sometimes feel like a dreaded chore, because using an oven or stovetop can make the house hot and uncomfortable. But there are ways to prepare hot meals without the use of an oven. Microwave ovens and slow cookers can help you prepare budget-friendly, delicious meals!

Cool Cooking

No-Cook Recipes

By planning ahead when you food shop, you can prepare many balanced, healthy dinners in less than 30 minutes, with less sodium, calories, fat, and chemical additives than processed foods. Usually you will also be spending less money to feed yourself and your family a healthy home prepared meal.

Stocking a Healthy Pantry

Simple Breakfast Ideas

Got Lunch?

Healthy Packed Lunches

Easy Dinners

Besides costing more money, restaurant and takeout meals often pack enough calories, saturated fat, and sodium for the entire day!  Try keeping restaurant and convenience food to a minimum. The next time you’re in need of a quick meal out, consider your choices carefully– some are much better than others.

Eating Out

Next time you’re about to toss that bunch of browning bananas, or empty the produce drawer that’s full of zucchini or spinach, you could consider freezing them instead. Many foods can be frozen for months!

Freezing Fruits & Veggies

These days, there’s lots of talk as well as confusion about “Gluten free foods”.  What foods contain gluten?  Why do some people need to avoid eating them?  Many foods labeled as gluten free are naturally gluten free anyway.  Here is “Gluten 101” to help shed more light on this topic.

Gluten Free Foods

As the weather gets colder, it’s time for comfort foods. Often high in fat, sodium and sugar, here are some lighter options for you to cozy up with.

Healthy Comfort Foods

How do we “Recycle” food? We can use leftover foods creatively, and not just reheat and eat.

Enjoying Leftovers

Rotisserie Chicken Leftovers

Kids (and also adults) can be very picky when it comes to eating all the different food groups they need. Here are some sample healthy recipes that the kids will love without knowing they are getting their servings of fruits and vegetables!

Kid-Friendly Recipes

Picky Eaters

Do you skip breakfast because you feel you don’t have enough time? Easy, nutritious smoothies could be right for you.


Slow Cookers (often generically referred to by the brand name “Crockpot”) have been around for decades, and come in a variety of sizes from 1 to 6 quarts.  They are an efficient appliance for someone who will be gone all day but wants to serve a substantial home-cooked meal at dinner.

Slow Cooking

Healthy Eating

If you are looking to eat less added sugar and saturated fat, try making a healthier versions of some favorite recipes by making some simple substitutions.

Baking Substitutions

People with diabetes need to regulate their carbohydrate intake to try to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Knowing what things to look for on a food label can make managing your diabetes through your food choices much easier, and will help you to keep your glucose levels in check.

Diabetes and Label Reading

Diabetes y Datos Nutricionales

Many studies suggest that “you are what you eat” when it comes to preserving and improving memory. There is also a major benefit from regular physical activity in maintaining cognitive abilities and memory.

Eat Right to Stay Sharp

Fad Diets come in many types of forms but all of them claim fast weight loss. However, these claims are usually false with little to no scientific evidence supporting these diets, and some of these diets can even be harmful to a person’s health.

Fad Diets & Misleading Claims

Water makes up about 60% of the human body. Taking in sufficient water through food and beverages is essential to good health.

Healthy Hydration

Research shows that healthy lifestyle adaptations at any age can significantly improve your health.

Is it too Late for Good Health?

Nutrition and Seniors

It is important to get the daily recommendation of vitamins and minerals, but some nutrients compete for absorption, meaning it isn’t always possible to get the most out of these foods. Two minerals that Americans do not get enough of are calcium and iron.

Iron and Calcium Absorption

Protein is a must-have nutrient. Every cell in the human body contains protein. While most Americans eat enough protein, many protein sources like meats and cheeses provide too many calories and saturated fats.  Try to substitute healthier choices for some of the red meats you eat.

Protein Power

Food Safety

With the various dates we see on food packages, it can be tough to know when to keep food and when to toss it. Paying attention to these dates, in combination with storing foods properly, can help reduce risk of contracting a food-borne illness.

Expiration Dates

Our bodies work extra hard during extreme heat to regulate temperature, which can result in fluid loss, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Be aware of the signs of heat related illness, and exercise caution. Eating easy-to-prep summer meals are important too. See recipes.

Extreme Heat

Most of the organisms in food that can make you sick don’t create slime or bad smells.  Focusing on food safety can help prevent you and your family from getting sick from food borne illnesses.

Food Safety in the Kitchen

In case of an emergency, this tip sheet will help you figure out which foods are OK to eat, and how to keep your foods safe longer while the power is out and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Food Safety in a Power Outage

Nutrition Tips by Food Group

Beans & nuts

Beans are very low in cost when compared to other high protein foods like chicken or pork, and are a great, easy-to-use protein option for many meals or side dishes.

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Garbanzo beans (commonly called chickpeas) are a great, inexpensive, and easy-to-use protein option for many meals or side dishes. Chickpeas are used around the world, including in the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.

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Peanuts are actually a legume, not a tree nut, and are in the same plant family as peas, lentils, chickpeas, and other beans.

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Dairy & Eggs

Dairy is an easy way to get a whole host of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, and niacin. Here we have some tips for choosing the best kinds of dairy products, and some quick and easy recipes.

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Eggs are an inexpensive, source of 6 grams of high-quality protein as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Despite all of their health benefits, many people still hesitate to eat many eggs. Here are some common myths and facts our nutrition staff would like to share with you…

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Fruits & Vegetables

Apples are a great source of fiber, providing 4 grams per apple (including skin), and about 100 calories.  Apples are very versatile for cooking, and are the most cultivated tree fruit in the world.

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Berries contain antioxidants, which are essential to the body. Antioxidants act like “superheroes” in the body, and the “villains” that they fight off are called free radicals. Read why this is important for your health.

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Blue and purple fruits & vegetables; it’s recommended that adults get 4 cups of blue and purple fruits and vegetables per week.

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Green and white vegetables are packed with nutrients that keep your digestive tract healthy. Preparing these recipes can help you add more of these super foods to your diet.

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Leafy greens come in all different shapes, textures, sizes, flavors, and colors. While they may look different, all of them are packed with vitamins and minerals.

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Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are great sources of flavanoids, potassium and more!

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Pumpkins can be used to carve, to decorate, and can even be cooked to eat! Pumpkin is high in: Vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B 6, and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is great for immune health.

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Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe

Red fruits and vegetables; it is recommended for adults to get 4-5 cups of red fruits and vegetables per week to meet our nutritional needs.

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Kale, sausage, & potato soup is hearty, filling and packed with nutrients!

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Home-made veggie (or  ‘vegetarian’) burgers are a delicious and nutritious alternative to the traditional hamburger. Making veggie burgers instead of beef hamburgers is an easy way to eat less calories, fat, and cholesterol, while including more lean protein, extra fiber, vitamins and minerals into your diet.

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Veggie stir fry; eating plain, steamed solo vegetables can get boring.  Why not try making a vegetable sauté (stir-fry) with as many colors as you can?

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Ancient grains is a term used for specific types of grains that have not been changed in the last several hundred years. They come in many varieties and textures and can be added to many dishes!

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Bread is one of the oldest man-made foods. Learn how to store it to make it last and get some budget-friendly recipes that use bread as a main ingredient.

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If bread is moldy, throw it away, however; it if is hard and dry, there are many uses for bread past its prime.  It can be made into bread crumbs or croutons or stuffing, moistened into thick soups, or incorporated into sweet or savory bread puddings.

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Corn is an essential part of diets across the globe year-round.

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When people think of whole grains, they often only think of whole wheat bread. While, yes, whole wheat is a whole grain; there are many others!

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Oats are an inexpensive whole grain; this means that they do not have their bran and germ removed during processing and they have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber! Oats can be prepared and used in many ways.

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Meat & Fish

Canned chicken is versatile and affordable. Like tuna, it is easy to add into any meal as a protein source.

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Canned tuna is a great staple to keep in your pantry.  Tuna offers many of the nutritional benefits of fresh fish, with lower cost and a long shelf life.  Many cans now have a flip top for ease of opening without a can opener, and it also comes in pouches. Tuna is high in protein and contains heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

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Fish is a nutritious, low-fat, high quality protein that is a great source of vitamins D and B2 and contains the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Learn guidelines for preparing fish and a few easy recipes.

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Sausage, kale, & potato soup is hearty, filling and packed with nutrients!

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Oils & Fats

Fats are sometimes portrayed as a “bad” nutrient that people should avoid in their diets, but that is far from the truth. Fats are a source of energy that the body needs and uses for many different functions. However, depending on the type of fat and how much of that certain fat is eaten, it can result in health problems.

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Please refer to this schedule to find free meals or a food pantry.