Meijer Develops Nutritional Resource Simply Cook for its Hunger Relief Partners Across the Midwest


Retailer's cook book features recipes with ingredients frequently found on food pantry shelves


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Responding to a need expressed by its food pantry partners for nutrition education resources, Meijer developed a cook book that features food safety and meal planning tips, as well as basic recipes using ingredients frequently found in food pantries.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer distributed




versions of Simply Cook to its food bank and pantry partners across the Midwest.

“As the challenge of fighting hunger continues in all of the communities we serve, it’s more important than ever to come together to help our neighbors make ends meet,” said Janet Emerson, executive vice president of retail operations. “Through the years, our Simply Give and food rescue programs have helped fill a void. We are pleased to continue our commitment to hunger relief through the Simply Cook book.”

Emerson said discussions for the book initially stemmed from a conversation with one of the retailer’s food banks regarding its philosophy to never turn away donations of quality food. However, some types of food are obscure — like kale, for example, which is a leafy green vegetable that is rich with nutrients – and require a bit more education on cooking preparation.

Representatives with Meijer, including its team of Healthy Living Advisors and registered dietitians, worked with its food bank and pantry partners to help fill a void. The result is Simply Cook, a 48-page resource that shares:

  • Nutrition education: How to read food labels, and how to fill your plate well using the MyPlate federal guideline.
  • Meal planning tips and solutions: Use a calendar, make a list, and use leftovers in different recipes on another night. The book also includes a two-week meal planner.
  • Food myths: Reveals the truth about the top most common food myths, including it’s too costly to eat healthy.
  • Kitchen basics: Basic and affordable cooking tools like a food thermometer and a pan, as well as pantry staples like rice, pasta, and canned or dried beans.
  • Food safety and storage tips: Fight food spoilage from bacteria and foodborne illnesses with proper food storage.
  • Quick and easy recipes: Basic, healthy recipes using ingredients frequently found on food pantry shelves, including potatoes, tuna, beans, and canned vegetables and chicken. Recipes for breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner. The book also includes a month of quick, easy dinner menus, and how to transform leftovers into a new meal.
  • Shopping lists: Compiles the ingredients used in the monthly dinner menu.

“We believe it’s incredibly important to provide families with nutritious food, but we also wanted to educate them on how to prepare those foods into healthy meals once they get home,” Meijer Healthy Living Advisor and Registered Dietitian Shari Steinbach said.

Laura Castle said Simply Cook will be a great addition to the nutrition education she and the volunteers at the North End Community Food Pantry in Grand Rapids provide to their clients.

“I am pleased to provide the Simply Cook book to our clients so they can make quick and easy nutritious meals utilizing food that we provide to them through our food pantry,” Castle said. “It is chock full of great recipes and guidelines on nutrition, meal planning, food safety and kitchen basics. Thank you, Meijer.”

About Meijer Philanthropy

Meijer is a family-owned retailer based in Grand Rapids, Mich. with a fundamental philosophy aimed at strengthening the communities it serves. Meijer proudly donates more than 6 percent of its net profit each year to charities throughout the Midwest. With hunger as a corporate philanthropic focus, Meijer partners with hundreds of food banks and pantries through its Simply Give and food rescue programs. Meijer also supports education, disaster relief, and health and wellness initiatives. For additional information on Meijer philanthropy, please visit Follow Meijer on Twitter @

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