While spices provide a healthy zest of flavor to meals without adding unhealthy sugar or fat, they are pricey and a luxury not all can afford.
Learning about spices has been a key part of Polack Food Bank cooking classes. Each month, Food Bank Specialist Brian Sindel meets with about a dozen clients to make a healthy, affordable meal that can be prepared with minimal cookware. Instead of using fat or sugar to flavor the food, the group turns up the spice. The goal is to learn healthy cooking and eating on a budget.
“Spices allow cooking to be more satisfying and adventurous, and they are also a great way for cooks to reduce the amount of sodium they use in their meals,” Sindel said. “Using a variety of spices can add minerals and antioxidants in addition to providing their wonderful flavors.”
As clients discover the benefits of cooking with spices, it can change their eating habits. “I would say for me, spices make bland food more fun to eat,” according to one JFS client. “Because even if I know something is nutritious, but I don’t like the taste, different spices change that and make it easier for me to eat and enjoy different foods.”
You can help make healthier cooking more accessible for JFS clients. Organize your own spice drive and donate small bottles of spices in a one gallon-sized ziplock bag to the Food Bank. Please avoid glass containers and keep like spices together in one bag.
Pepper • Salt • Italian Seasoning • Chili Powder • Curry
Please keep spices organized by type, like the black pepper above.
Your spice donations will help low-income people access ingredients that can improve health outcomes. And because clients choose spices that satisfy their personal tastes and cooking preferences, your contribution is another way to respect the dignity of people turning to JFS.