If you have donated to a food pantry, thank you. If it has been a while, or if you have never made a donation, consider dropping off some items this spring.

Many generous people come forward around Thanksgiving and Christmas to donate food or whole meals, which is wonderful. But people in your community experience food insecurity every month of the year.

As a donor, give thought to the nutrition value of what you donate to food pantries. Although it seems counterintuitive, being overweight and food insecure are linked. Food insecure means not having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. When someone is food insecure, they might not have access to healthy food, and they often choose inexpensive calorie-dense foods over healthy options (think mac and cheese.) All of these factors lead to nutrient deficiencies and obesity, and consequently diabetes and heart disease.

When choosing canned goods to donate, look for those with no added sugar or salt. Whole grain pasta and cereal are healthy choices. Watch out for boxed pasta and rice “helper” meals, which are usually very high in sodium.

Not sure where to donate? Go to www.hungerfreedallascounty.org and click “get involved.”