Food Bank ‘Mini’ Team Favorites: Watermelon Recipes for Your Enjoyment

June 6, 2019

The Food Bank ‘Mini’ team lives to figure out-of-the-box ways of delivering fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need.  To help celebrate the wonderful fruit offerings as we head into summer, we asked members of our Nutrition Education team to help us out with a few refreshing watermelon recipes. They pulled up a few delicious ideas from our friends at  Enjoy!

Watermelon Salsa 



3 cups Watermelon seeded and chopped

½ Medium onion chopped

½ Red bell pepper chopped

1 Jalapeño pepper seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons Fresh cilantro chopped

2 tablespoons Lime juice

1 teaspoon Vegetable oil


*In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.
*Serve immediately with chips or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Watermelon Cooler


*2 cups chopped water melon
*2 cups cold water


*Place all ingredients in a blender container.
*Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.


Food Bank ‘Mini’ Team Favorites: Strawberry Recipes for Your Enjoyment

May 6, 2019

The Food Bank ‘Mini’ team lives to figure out-of-the-box ways of delivering fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need.  To help celebrate the wonderful fruit offerings this spring, we asked members of our Nutrition Education team to help us out with a few refreshing strawberry recipes. They pulled up a few delicious ideas from our friends at  Enjoy!

Strawberry Spring Rolls


½ cup Daikon cut into thin strips
½ cup Gailon cut into thin strips
½ cup Chinese cabbage cut into small strips
½ cup Strawberries cut into small strips
8 rice wrappers
4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame oil


*Mix together all vegetable strips
*Place strips on soaked rice wrappers and roll up burrito-fashion.
*Combine soy sauce and oil; use for dipping sauce.

Strawberry Pineapple Lemonade


4 cups 100% pineapple juice
2 cups Fresh or frozen strawberries sliced
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice
½ cup Water


*Put all ingredients (except ice) in a blender container and churn until the mixture is smooth
*Pour into glasses over ice cubes and serve.

Nutrition Education | Springtime Fun Facts & Recipes

May 3, 2019

With spring in full bloom, you may have noticed a plethora of fresh produce at your local pantry or neighborhood market.  Here are some fun facts and tips for our favorite spring produce items, plus easy-to-follow recipes from our Nutrition Education Team. Enjoy!

Fabulous Asparagus

  • A good source of fiber, folate, and Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Store upright in the fridge with the base of spears in water for 2-3 days
  • Quick-and-easy prep:
    • Steam full spears with a little water in a pan on your stovetop for about 5 minutes.
    • Cut into pieces and sauté with other vegetables in a little oil.
    • Cook in the microwave in a glass dish with a little water for about 5 minutes.

Recipe: Asparagus and Red Quinoa Salad

Amazing Artichokes

  • A good source of Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, and fiber
  • Store in the fridge: cut a small slice from the stem, sprinkle with water, and store in an airtight plastic bag. Cook them within 7 days from storage.
  • Quick-and-easy prep:
    • Steam whole, with a little water in a pan on your stovetop for about 30 minutes on high heat (add enough water so it doesn’t evaporate part way through cooking)
    • Boil whole by submerging in water, and simmering for about 30 minutes
    • Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake for 1 hour at 425˚ F.

Recipe: Boiled Artichokes

Flavorful Fennel

  • A good source of potassium and Vitamin A
  • Store by separating the long stalks from the bulb and store the two parts separately in plastic bags. You can also store the full fennel upright in a cup of water on the counter. Use within a couple of days to avoid loss of flavor.
  • Keep in mind that the entire plant can be consumed, from bulb to stalks.
  • Quick-and-easy prep:
    • Fennel bulb can be enjoyed raw in salads, but can also be sautéed, roasted or grilled with the stalks.
    • The stalks are more fibrous than the bulb and are best enjoyed cooked.

Recipe: Salmon with Roasted Fennel and Citrus

(artichoke photo courtesy Martin Adams on Unsplash)

Food Bank ‘Mini’ Team Favorites: Celery Recipes to Enjoy This Spring

March 26, 2019

The Food Bank ‘Mini’ team lives to figure out-of-the-box ways of delivering fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need.  To mark April as National Celery Month, we asked members of our Nutrition Education team to help us out with a few celery recipes. They pulled up a few delicious ideas from our friends at  Enjoy!

Apple Celery Slaw with Nuts


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 apples diced (skin on)
2 large celery ribs cut into 1/4 inch-thick pieces
2 cups raw cabbage shredded
¼ cup nuts chopped
chopped parsley (optional)


*Whisk the vinegar with the mustard in a large bowl.
*Add oil in a stream, whisking until blended.
*Toss apples, celery, and cabbage with the dressing.
*Just before serving, sprinkle with nuts (and parsley).

Chickpea Dip with Fresh Celery Sticks


1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil (or nonstick cooking spray)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 medium celery stalks sliced


*Put the first eight ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
*Serve at room temperature with celery slices and enjoy!

Nutrition Education | Spring Clean Your Fridge

February 26, 2019

If you’re like us, then you can’t wait for the rain to finally pass so you can get started on your annual “spring cleaning” tasks. Word to the wise, don’t forget to add your pantry and refrigerator to the list! Being mindful about what food we have on hand can help us cook healthier meals and eat better. Our Nutrition Education Team has put together some tips that will lead to a cleaner kitchen and a healthier you!

Know Where to Store Your Fruits and Veggies

Storing fruits and veggies in their proper place means more space in your fridge and more time to enjoy these healthy foods, as they will not spoil prematurely.

  • Store in a cool, dark place (such as a pantry) but NOT the fridge: potatoes, onions, winter squash, yams and sweet potatoes. The cold temperature of the fridge can cause them to sprout.
  • Store and ripen on the counter: bananas and tomatoes. You can ripen fruits like avocados, melon, and stone fruit on the counter too, and then refrigerate.
  • Refrigerate: berries, broccoli, greens and grapes.

What’s more, don’t handle, wash or cut your produce until you are ready to use it. Keeping them ‘as is’ from the grocery store as long as possible will ensure your food stays fresh longer.

Keep Food Safety in Mind When Stocking Your Fridge

Store ready-to-eat foods, fruits, vegetables, and dairy ABOVE uncooked meats, eggs, and fish in your refrigerator to avoid cross contamination. That way, if raw eggs or meat drip onto anything, it will be the bottom of your fridge, instead of leaking onto other foods.

Don’t be Fooled by “Best By” or “Sell By” Dates

Code dates, also called “Best By”, “Sell By” or “Use By” dates can be confusing. These code dates indicate a food’s peak flavor and quality, but they are not USDA-regulated safety dates, nor are they reasons to throw food out. Food is often good far past its code date.

Did you know that canned vegetables can last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 years past their code date? Dairy products such as milk and yogurt can last anywhere from 7-10 days past their code date. If properly stored in your freezer by the code date listed on the package, meats can last for many years past that date.

Shop Your Freezer Before Heading to the Store

Your freezer can store wonderful meal staples like meat, soups, and frozen vegetables. Make meals new again by making a batch of cornbread to go with that soup or chili you found in the freezer. Use frozen veggies in a weekend brunch frittata, or poach that frozen chicken and make it into tasty tacos. Check out our Yum Videos for more recipe inspiration!

Food Bank Mini Team Favorites: Broccoli Recipes to Enjoy This Spring

February 22, 2019

The Food Bank ‘Mini’ team lives to figure out-of-the-box ways of delivering fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need. In the spirit of the ‘minis’ hanging out in the Broccoli Forest, we asked members of our Nutrition Education team to help us out with a few broccoli recipes. They pulled up a few delicious ideas from our friends at  Enjoy!



4 cups broccoli – washed, trimmed, and cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup raisins
¼ cup red onion – diced
¾ cup radishes – thinly sliced
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2½ tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar


*In a medium bowl: combine broccoli, onions, raisins and radishes.
*In a small bowl: blend mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar and vinegar.
*Pour dressing over broccoli and mix well.
*Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. (This will help marinate the ingredients but is not essential.)



2½ cups broccoli chopped and steamed until tender, frozen broccoli
2 cups cooked chicken chopped or shredded (optional)
3 potatoes chopped, with skin on or off
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese low-fat if possible
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion chopped
½ celery chopped
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 dash paprika
1 pinch of salt
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups skim milk


*Melt butter in the bottom of a large soup pot.
*Cook onion and celery in butter over medium heat.
*Add flour, pepper, salt, and paprika and stir until smooth.
*Add broth, milk, and potatoes. Keep stirring until the mixture boils and thickens.
*Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
*Stir in cheese and broccoli.
*Cook over low heat until cheese is melted.
*Add chicken, if using.

Food Bank ‘Mini’ Team Favorites: Sweet Potato Recipes to Warm Your Heart

February 1, 2019

The Food Bank ‘Mini’ team lives to figure out-of-the-box ways of delivering fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need. In the spirit of the ‘minis’ scaling “Mount KilaYAMjaro”, we asked members of our Nutrition Education team to help us out with a few sweet potato recipes. They then pulled up a few delicious ideas from our friends at  Enjoy!



¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups frozen or fresh chopped bell peppers and onions
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes) peeled and cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


*Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
*Sauté bell peppers and onions until tender, about 5 minutes.
*Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to medium.
*Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes.  Sweet potatoes may begin to stick to the skillet, but continue to stir gently until they cook through.
*Serve while hot.



2½ cups Sweet potato cubed & peeled
2½ cups Onion chopped
3 Garlic cloves chopped
1 cup Oats
1 teaspoon Ground cumin
¾ teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil divided
6 Lettuce leaves
6 1.9 ounce whole grain buns
2 Tomatoes sliced
Nonstick cooking spray


*Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
*Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add chopped onions and garlic and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
*Place sweet potato, chopped onion mixture, oats, cumin, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into 1⁄2-inch thick patties.
*Heat 1 1⁄2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium heat. Add 3 patties to pan and cook 4 minutes or until brown. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until brown. Remove cooked patties from pan, put on a plate and repeat procedure with remaining oil and patties.
*Place onto buns with lettuce, tomatoes and other condiments of your choice and serve.



Yum Videos | Delicious, Budget-Friendly Meals

December 6, 2018

Learn how to make healthy, easy to prepare meals and snacks by watching these “Yum Videos,” produced by our Nutrition Education Team.

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Marinara Sauce

A new way to have pasta – and it’s vegetarian.

Apple Slaw

Step-by-step instructions on how to create a quick, nutritious summer snack.

Whole Wheat Pasta

A fast, cheap and easy way to add fiber, B vitamins and protein to your diet.

Roasted Butternut Squash 

A super-easy, delicious recipe to turn that butternut squash into a wonderful meal for two!

Watermelon Salsa

A healthy, refreshing recipe that will add a little spice to your next barbecue!

Rainbow Ramen Noodles

Eat the rainbow! This recipe incorporates a variety of nutrient-rich produce into a quick, delicious – and beautiful! – meal.

Peanut Butter & Banana

Check out 2 tasty ways to make a protein-rich snack in this short video.

Sign up for our eNewsletter so you don’t miss a single video, as we roll out more of these incredible, edible cinematic masterpieces.

For more information about our Nutrition Education program, click here.


Hailey’s Story | The Helpers Need Help Sometimes 

November 13, 2018

Someday, UC San Francisco medical student Hailey hopes to save many lives – but for right now, she is the one who needs a little bit of saving.

The 25-year-old has her sights set on becoming a surgeon. But living in San Francisco and attending one of the most prestigious medical schools in all the land has its drawbacks – specifically, the cost of living.  “I don’t have an income right now – it’s all student loans – so every month is a struggle when it comes to paying rent and surviving,” she says.

Hailey recently learned she was eligible to enroll in CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps. The Food Bank has an entire team of employees, dedicated to helping eligible individuals enroll in the program. One of the most successful locations, in terms of sign-ups, is the UCSF Parnassus campus.

Now, Hailey gets $190 from CalFresh to spend on groceries.  “It’s given me flexibility in my monthly budgeting and has allowed me to make healthier choices every day.”

She’s not alone. Since the beginning of the year, the Food Bank has worked with campus officials and the San Francisco Human Services Agency to make CalFresh a part of UCSF’s overall financial aid strategy. Enrollment events were held once or twice a month during the fall semester, and the program is really starting to take off.

“Since we started working with UCSF early this year, 186 students have been approved for CalFresh through our events, resulting in over $34,000 a month in benefits,” says Food Bank CalFresh Outreach Manager, Francesca Costa. “We are so grateful for UCSF’s partnership in supporting students through the CalFresh application process. The tearful hugs and deep gratitude from students we have helped enroll make it clear that we are meeting an important need here on campus.”


Nutrition Education | 4 Ways to Say ‘Goodbye’ to Salt

May 31, 2018

Salt has been used to preserve food for centuries. It is also used often to provide flavor. Over time, however, medical professionals have discovered that eating too much salt can be harmful to our health – leading to maladies like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

While the daily sodium recommendation for healthy adults is 2,300 mg (or about 1 teaspoon), the average amount of sodium consumed by adults per day is 3,400 mg. So where does all of this salt come from?

Foods that are processed, packaged, or prepared in restaurants tend to contain high amounts of salt. Pizza, fast food, frozen meals, and deli meats are some of the saltiest foods we eat. In fact, foods that may not even taste salty — such as breads and pastries — are often high in sodium.

To help reduce sodium in your diet, here are a four tips:

  • Check The Label
    Use the nutrition facts label, found on the back of packaged products, to help select items that are low in sodium. Foods with 5% or less of the Daily Value of sodium per serving are considered low sodium. Choose products that are labeled “low-sodium”, “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” as another way to reduce your salt intake.
  • Cook It Yourself
    Although it may require more time and effort, cooking at home with fresh food allows you to control how much salt is added. If you cook a frozen or packaged meal, add vegetables such as steamed carrots or broccoli for a boost of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Drain and Rinse Canned Foods
    Since salt is used as a preservative, canned items like vegetables, beans, and tuna tend to be high in sodium. When cooking with canned foods, always drain out the excess fluid and rinse with water.
  • Skip the Salt Altogether
    Use herbs and spices for flavor instead of adding salt. Spices like cumin, ginger, rosemary, cilantro, garlic or onion powder can be used to jazz up any meal.

The Nutrition Education team at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank shares these tips during our classes in the community. At our Food Pharmacies, we share low-sodium recipes with participants who are being treated for high blood pressure and diabetes. For more information, check out the Nutrition Education page here.

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