Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry is located in Front Royal, Virginia and is normally open Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00am – 2:00pm. All who are in need of food are welcome. Loaves and Fishes serves more than 1,000 individuals per month.

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Maureen Watts helps visitors learn how to make nutritious meals with food pantry items.

Registered Dietician Maureen Watts spent some time at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry to talk to clients and volunteers about incorporating the products available at the pantry into recipes that are not only tasty, interesting and easy to make, but also packed with nutrition.

The Front Royal pantry is frequented by working people who need to focus on ease of preparation and by elderly and disabled clients who may no longer be physically able to cook intricate recipes. Nutrition often takes a back seat to convenience.

“I handed her some challenges and I really didn’t think she’d be able to meet all of them,” said pantry administrator Jeanne Jackson. “I told her I needed her to demonstrate nutritious recipes that didn’t require a lot of time and used the least amount of equipment, since many of our clients are single working mothers having only as much kitchen equipment as allowed in a motel room. And – oh — they also have to taste really good, since kids can be very picky eaters.”

It would be a bonus if she could somehow incorporate hemp milk into the recipes, Jackson said. A local natural food store had been very generous with donating hemp milk to the pantry, but clients have been reluctant to try it.

Clients enjoyed a dip that tasted just like chocolate chip cookie dough, but delivered a hidden wallop of protein. Watts also offered two fruit-filled creamy oatmeal recipes, prepared overnight and ready to go in a snap the next morning (both having the option to be prepared with hemp milk).

Two of the recipes required only a bowl, spoon and a jar. One of the oatmeal recipes was prepared overnight in a crock pot.

Watts also prepared a list of quick, healthy snacks from items readily available at the pantry and demonstrated the advantage of whole grains over simple carbohydrates.

Maureen Watts is the owner of Watts Nutrition Services and is a parishioner of Precious Blood Catholic Church in Culpeper.

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Want to Volunteer? Volunteers needed to stock shelves and help transport food around the Diocese.

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