GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Many downtown missions serve food for those in need, but a new partnership at God's Kitchen is refreshing the menu there to add more flavor and nutrition.
Naked burritos made with turkey meat and fresh-chopped peppers, and Caesar salad made with low fat dressing, are just some of the healthier menu choices. God's Kitchen, run by Catholic Charities, provides over 250 meals a day in Grand Rapids, and a partnership with Spectrum Health has changed the way food is made.
"We are really proud to partner with Spectrum Health in promoting healthier lifestyles through our meal program and beyond," explains Tiffany Page, Director of Community Engagement at Catholic Charities. The partnership is about helping the West Side neighborhood of Grand Rapids, but some of the more obvious changes have been made at God's Kitchen.
Creating a healthy menu means places like God's Kitchen need more fresh vegetables, more meat, and dairy products, and those things can spoil.
"A lot of the times when people donate to a pantry, they get non-perishable food because it is easier to donate," explains Spectrum Health dietitian Amy Van Fossen. "What we would like to highlight is the ability to get fresh produce and that is little more difficult. You can check with pantries to see if they can accept those things. Gift cards and cash donations are a way to do that."
If you are going to give non-perishable food consider giving something healthy, and the easiest thing you can do is simply check the label, she says.
"A lot of times people are going to be at risk for hypertension, so what you want to do is find something without salt," explains Van Fossen.
When buying canned fruit, try to buy the low-sugar option. When buying pasta look for the whole wheat.
"There is never a mistake in donating. I think anyone that is giving food is doing the right thing. I just think it is a matter of saying nutrition first," explains Van Fossen.