recipes in a bag-blogFood Waste

Food 4 Kids Maruchan Noodle Bag

How do you take 16 ingredients in a bag and turn it into nutritious meals over a two-day weekend? You ask our intern Kelly!

Kelly is a nutrition student at California State University, Long Beach CSULB. Every week we have been challenging her to head out to the Food Finder’s Warehouse, empty one Food 4 Kids bag, take photos, and then come back with recipes to feed a family over the weekend nutritiously.

Nutrition Is In Our Mission

Food Finders has a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste, but did you know that we also have a part 2? “….while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.” It is critically important that people eat nutritious meals. Our bodies need nutrition to get up out of bed, get on the bus to school, and then our brain has to be ready to learn—you need nutritious food to do that!

Kelly has a talent for taking all the ingredients sorted and packed into our Food 4 Bags, and craft some delicious and easy recipes for a family to prepare over the weekend. Keep in mind that she is assuming there are no other ingredients in the house, so anything you add to the mix will boost the nutrition even more! The beautiful part of these recipes below is that you can make nutritious food from simple ingredients when you think outside of the box.

Oatmeal with Fruit Topping

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • Oatmeal packet
  • Fruit mix or fruit cup

Instructions:

  1. Cook oatmeal packet as directed and top with 1/3 of drained mix fruit or 1 fruit cup
  2. Enjoy!

Tuna and Black Bean Casserole

Tuna and Black Bean Casserole

Servings 4

Tuna is good for you and is a rich source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Combined with the black beans that are rich in fiber, potassium, folate and B6 as well as its phytonutrient content and no cholesterol supports heart health.

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages of chicken flavored Maruchan noodles prepared per package instructions leaving one seasoning packet out and drain majority of the fluid.
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked noodles, tuna, black beans, tomato soup and can of mixed vegetables in a pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.
  3. Eason to taste
  4. Garnish with anything available such as cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, onion and sliced radishes.

Tuna and Tomato Noodle Casserole with Green Beans

Servings 4

Tuna is good for you and is a rich source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages of chicken flavored Maruchan noodles prepared per package instructions draining the majority of the liquid.
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 can of green beans, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup 

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked noodles, tuna, green beans and tomato soup in a pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.
  3. Season to taste
  4. Garnish with anything available such as cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, onion and sliced radishes.

Chips and Dip

Servings approximately 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 Chicken seasoning packet
  • 1 bag of potato chips

Instructions:

  1. Place refried beans in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the chicken seasoning packet thoroughly.
  3. Feel free to add cheese if available.
  4. Dip chips and enjoy!

The Food 4 Kids Program is an amazing collaboration of the City of Long Beach and Food Finders. To learn more here

If you would like to volunteer to help us sort and pack Food 4 Kids bags at our warehouse, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin Burciaga, kburgiaga@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
Food 4 Kids Program

Making Nutritious Meals: Food 4 Kids Program

Several studies show that nutrition can directly affect the mental capacity of school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can negatively impact cognition. Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn–and learning is the foundation of how children can grow into healthy and productive adults. Because improvements in nutrition help to make students healthier, they are more likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently. When children are not given nutritious meals, studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems in the classroom.

Hunger is not just something we must look at as a social issue. It is an economic one. If we know that children can do better in school when fed nutritious food, perhaps we can see the benefit of these same children growing up to lift themselves up and out of poverty to financial independence. Food is more than just hunger, it is a vehicle to elevate entire communities.

Turning A Bag of Food Into A Meal

Contents of one Food 4 Kids Bag

Kelly Alarcon, a Cal State Long Beach Nutrition student who interns at Food Finders loves to talk about the importance of having nutritious meals. She helps the Partner Agency Coordinators to receive food from our Food donors and also helps with pack and sorts for the Food 4 Kids program. The above photo was taken from one bag that was being packed up so that it could be delivered to one of the 15 Title 1 Schools in Long Beach.

Kelly asked if she could take a picture and use her nutrition skills to craft some recipes that could help families extend the meals while also providing a nutritious option. Her studies paid off!

Here is the first bag of recipes we would like to share:

Contents and Nutrition

Tuna 5.4 oz. = 2 packs 140 calories, 17g protein, 0.5g fat, 0 carbs
Instant oatmeal = 2 packs 320 calories; 8 g protein, 4g fat, 66g carbs
Kool Aid Juice Jammer = 1 90 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 24 carbs
Canned corn, whole kernel = 2 120 calories; 2g protein, 2g fat, 26g carbs
Black beans = 2 cans 350 calories; 24.5 g protein, 0 fat, 63 carbs
Granola bar = 1 140 Calories; 3g protein, 4 g fat, 25 carbs
Vegetable soup = 1 can 130 calories; 4g protein, 2.5 g fat, 22g carbs
Diced tomatoes = 1 can 88 calories; 3.5 g protein, 0g fat, 17.5 g of carbs
Canned fruit = 2 cans 230 calories; 0g protein, 0g fat, 59g
Boxed mac n cheese = 1 box 875 Calories; 32.5g Fat, 25g protein, 118g carbs

Weekend Meals Recipes

Meal #1: Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients To Use:
1- Box mac n cheese
1 – Pack of tuna drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare boxed mac n cheese as directed, setting aside ¼ of the noodles for another recipe, and feel free to use any milk, nut milk or water.
  2. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Meal #2: Black Bean, Tomato and Corn Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients To Use:
1 – Cans of black beans drained
1 – Can of diced tomatoes drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Take all rinsed ingredients and toss in a bowl.
  2. Season as desired
  3. Serve hot or cold

Meal #3: Tuna and Noodle Soup with a Side of Fruit

Serves 1-3

Ingredients to Use:
1 – Cans of vegetable soup
½ Cup of water
1 – Pack of Tuna Drained
1-Can of fruit
Remainder of noodles from boxed Mac n Cheese

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove mixing and heating
  2. Enjoy with side of fruit from the can

Meal # 4: Oatmeal with Fruit

Serves 2-3

Ingredients to Use:

2- Packs of Instant Oatmeal

1-can of fruit drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare instant oatmeal according to package directions
  2. Cut fruit into bite size pieces and top oatmeal with it or eat as a side.

Snack

Juice

Granola Bar

***************************

We look forward to more recipes from Kelly. If you do make any of these, please share your photos of the preparation and completed meal! Email us at mbereket@foodfinders.org

Helping Food 4 Kids

Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option. Support from donors helped us to serve over 10,780 meals per week to families.

Long Beach Unified School District reached out to Food Finders in January with a request to restart the program and add 12 High School Student Wellness Centers to the original Title 1 Schools. Supporting this program would mean that together we can serve 21,560 meals per week by delivering over 770 bags of food to families in Long Beach. It is a good start to elevating so many families!

To Help Support the Food 4 Kids Program click here

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Community

Girl Scout Troop 2863: Making A Difference

The Girl Scouts Bronze Award

According to the Girl Scouts: When a troop goes for the Bronze Award, they are representing what Girl Scouts can achieve in their communities. And it’s not just earning a patch and its done!

Earning the Girl Scout Bronze Award involves planning, commitment and the time to complete an Impact Journey in their community. They must build a team; explore their community; choose a project that will have a longer term impact; plan what to do; put that plan into motion; and then spread the word about what they are doing!

They will be out in the community talking about their program, progress and the impact of their volunteering long into the future.

Troop 2863 from Long Beach has chosen Food Finder’s Food 4 Kids Program as their Bronze Award project. Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option.

Starting the Food 4 Kids program back up is exciting for Food Finders because the program was halted during COVID. With the Girl Scouts here to help pack the bags of food, and then deliver them to the schools we are able to get the Food 4 Kids bags out of the warehouse and into the hands of families faster. Groups like the Girl Scouts can help us to fill the need for volunteers needed in the early afternoon hours. Many volunteers can only come early in the morning or late in the day but these bags of food need to be delivered just before school lets out on Friday–just in time for school kids heading home for the weekend.

What Is A Title 1 School?

According to the Department of Education a Title 1 School is: a school in which children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment and are eligible to use Title I funds to operate schoolwide programs that serve all children in the school in order to raise the achievement of the lowest-achieving students. For the city of Long Beach, Title 1 students are about 85% of enrollment!

Providing meals for the weekend is critical to the learning of children when they return to class on Monday. One of the site directors at Lincoln Elementary told us: “We noticed that bringing this partnership to our site brought our families closer to the program. It created a better school climate where families felt cared for and considered outside their child’s academics. Families’ well-being and needs became attended to and the responses (to picking up the bags) showed great need.”

Hunger Impacts Learning

The consequences of going hungry on a child are long term. We already know that hunger curbs a child’s physical development but did you know that it also inhibits their ability to focus and perform in class? If children cannot learn how can they have any hope of lifting themselves out of poverty?

The Food 4 Kids Program is an opportunity for all of us to give a child a helping hand somewhere in the future. This is the key to the Bronze Award program Troop 2863 is working on right now. If they can pack and sort, and then deliver food to kids in their own community, then those kids have a better chance of learning more in school. If they learn more their opportunities in life are increased. Everyone benefits!

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” (Sally Koch)

As Girl Scouts, these girls in Troop 2863 know that they will earn this Bronze award with courage,
confidence, and character because this work to help kids in food-insecure communities is a small act of kindness that will make a big difference in the world they are growing up into!

#GirlScouts #FoodFindersInc #Food4Kids

If you would like to volunteer at Food Finders please contact Kevin Burciaga kburciaga@foodfinders.org or learn more

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
why-waste-food-wedesday-avocadoFood Waste

#Why Waste Food Wednesday: Avocado Pesto

The Avocado, delicious and finicky! It is hard to know when they are ripe, and then–they are over-ripe. Or are they? Too many avocados are tossed in the trash when they could be repurposed into something else delicious and highly nutritious. While overripe avocados are not great for slicing, they’re actually easier to mash or purée than ripe avocados, which comes in handy if you’re trying to make dips and spreads.

Before I get to the recipe: How do you know when it is still good to eat an avocado that has gone from green to brown? The real trick is your nose. If an avocado smells bad, then do not eat it. Brown does not mean it is not nutritious. An isolated brown spot may be due to bruising, rather than widespread spoilage, and can be cut away. Mold is another sign that you cannot eat an over-ripe avocado. The bottom line is to smell before using.

Avocado Pesto

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup walnuts or hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground pepper to taste

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Strip basil leaves from the stems and add to a food processor along with avocados, walnuts (or hemp seeds), lemon juice, garlic and salt; pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and process to form a thick paste. Season with pepper.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent browning and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2-Tbsp.Per Serving: 126 calories; protein 1.1g; carbohydrates 3g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 0.3g; fat 12.8g; saturated fat 1.7g; vitamin a iu 236.2IU; vitamin c 4.1mg; folate 26.4mcg; calcium 13.9mg; iron 0.4mg; magnesium 14.9mg; potassium 151.2mg; sodium 37.1mg.Exchanges: 

2 1/2 fat

Recipe Source: https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251078/avocado-pesto/

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact #Foodwaste #beafoodfinder #HungerHero #zerofoodwaste #avocado

READ MORE
Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.