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  • Jenny Hill

Healthier Eating for All, Healthier Eating for You

Maybe you’ve noticed the rising cost of groceries. Some rising costs are easier to absorb than others and food and healthy eating is definitely fundamental to everyone’s well-being. Here are some ways you can support food availability in your local community as well as some tips you can use personally to improve your household’s eating as well as the bottom line.

FoodShare Campaign Supports Local Food Shelves

The six-week Minnesota FoodShare Campaign runs now through Apr 6, 2024 and is a major source of funding for area food shelves. Sponsored by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, this annual fundraising and food raising drive is a source of stability for food shelves which continue to see record use, particularly among new users. For every dollar donated or pounds of food given during the Campaign, food shelves are eligible for prorated matching funds.

The largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign brings together organizations, businesses, faith communities, and individuals to help stock and support the capacity of nearly 300 food shelves. The need is greater than it’s ever been. The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches reported these statistics: Of the 390,000 Minnesotans facing hunger, 30% of them are under the age of 18. Annual visits to food shelves are now more than double the rates of pre-pandemic visits.

Yellow and blue graphic for MN Foodshare's March Campaign

How to Support Local Food Support

In the Driftless region, Winona Volunteer Services Food Shelf is taking part in the Campaign and emphasized in a Facebook post how cash donations allow them to purchase at discount prices through the Channel One Food Bank.  At the end of March, WVS will be moving to a new location, so cash donations give them the opportunity to purchase food that can be delivered to the new building. Currently located at 402 E. 2nd St. in Winona,  the WVS food shelf is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 am to 12:45 pm, Thursday from 3-5:45 pm and Friday from 2-4:45 pm. 

In the Northern Lakes Region, the recently remodeled and expanded Lakes Area Food Shelf is located at 29316 Patriot Ave in Pequot Lakes. They are open 9 am to noon Tuesday and Thursday and 3-6 pm on Wednesday. The Pine River Area Food Shelf, 245 Barclay Avenue in Pine River, is open Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, except 2nd Tuesdays when the hours are 3-6 pm. On Friday the hours are 10 am to 1 pm. The Crosslake Food Shelf, 34212 County Rd 3 in Crosslake, is open 9 am to noon on the first and third Friday of each month.

Benefits of Cooking/Eating at Home

Studies have shown that people who cook at home frequently are more likely to eat a healthier diet overall than those who cook at home less often. Cooking at home sounds great in theory. But we’ve all faced the reality of too little time and too little experience, so maybe be the thought coming home after work and launching a creative endeavor like cooking sounds nice but not for you,

Well, there are a couple things to unpack here. Let’s start with the word “creative.” Yes–cooking can be very creative. And thanks to social media and tv and videos, the competitive side of cooking is very popular. Both creative and competitive cooking have their place. But the type of cooking that keeps us fed and healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. It takes planning, a few basic skills, and practice.

Here are some resources for the aid planning and skill-building. offers a wealth of recipes and budget strategies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. You can create a personalized plan for nutritional goals. There is an app for setting healthy eating habit goals, one for shopping, quizzes, and even how to use MyPlate on Alexa. Find recipes in categories like “30 Minutes or Less.” There is a terrific section of recipe videos. What makes it terrific? All the videos are under 2 minutes!  No ads–no elaborate tablescapes or plating routines–just here are the key steps in the recipe that you can watch to prepare the recipe yourself in a realistic time frame.

The University of Minnesota’s Extension service has some great resources for planning healthy meals on the go and a 14-day menu plan. The 14-day menu plan includes a shopping list, which is very valuable. But it also includes this priceless tip: “Add to the number of basic foods you normally keep on your shelves. You may find that you have a two-week supply of most staples…So, before you shop, take an inventory of what you already have.”

More great resources can be found at Learn basics like “The Art of Freezing” and “Five Ways to Revive Food.” The section “How to Waste Less with Kids” definitely has useful tips for fostering good eating habits in young eaters, but it also has universal tips like “Use the Ikea Effect.”

Involve the kids, and the rest of the household, in preparing meals you can all enjoy together. It’s that practice time that will make memories as well as put everyone on the road to healthier eating.


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