Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eating well on a food stamp budget?

T sent me an interesting article today, asking the question of just how well a family of four could eat on the average 4-person food stamp alotment of $68.88/week.  Remembering that food stamps are intended to supplement a family's food budget and not be the sole allotment, he AP asked two chefs and the editor of my favorite food magazine (Everyday Food by Martha Stewart!) to plan out 7 days of meals for a family of four with that budget.  I read with great interest, because I am always looking for ways to flex and stretch our food budget in better ways to get to the end of the month!

You can read the full ABC News article here.  I found several points interesting:

-The chef experts tried to stay within budget while still staying true to their nutritious, health-conscious menu ideals.  They did this to varying degrees of success, often going over budget rather than sacrificing nutrition. 
-Overall they were all able to come up with what sounded like reasonable week meal plans that were heavy on fresh produce, modest on meat and strong on whole grains and legumes and dairy--all of which sounded pretty good to me.
-The experts noted how much advance thought and work went into planning the menu, shopping and preparing the made-from-scratch meals they proposed.  They acknowledged that this would be a hard thing for many families, especially with two working parents, erratic schedules or less knowledge about home cooking. 

The article made me realize again just how much organization, education (both about nutrition, cooking and even math!), planning and just plain work goes into preparing meals for a family every week.  Whew!  I sort of got tired just reading the article--mostly because I know the feeling!  But it also made me appreciate how families need more than just money to succeed in putting good food on their table.   Wouldn't it be cool if cooking and meal planning resources were more available to families in need?  Something to think about.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

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