Food Bloggers Against Hunger

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Today I am donating my post to raise awareness of food insecurity for MILLIONS of people in the United States, along with a call for letters to Congress to protect supplemental food assistance programs from proposed funding cuts.

In the United States, millions of families rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (the federal food stamp program) for their food. SNAP participants are allotted about $4 a day per person. It is not easy to live on $4 a day. and as a result millions of people (mostly children) are undernourished.

In our country, processed foods are cheaper than fruits, vegetables, and more wholesome foods. Unfortunately, SNAP participants and low-income families often do not eat as healthfully as they can and the result is an epidemic of people who are obese AND malnourished.

I grew up in a food insecure home. Our cupboards were often empty. Sometime dinner was just a loaf of bread and some white gravy or a pot of lima beans. Although I do not remember ever being hungry as a child, I seem to have emotional scars. I get extremely nervous now if my pantry is not well stocked. My husband would probably say that I hoard food. Fortunately, my husband, children, and I are not going hungry. I am a stay-at-home mom, so as a one-income family we have to budget for groceries. I budget $125 a week for groceries and additional supplies (diapers, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, paper goods, cat products, and wine). I know it is possible to eat healthfully on a smaller budget.

The key to stretching my food budget is planning a weekly (mostly vegetarian) menu based on grocery sales and using coupons.  Websites like www.southernsavers.com make matching grocery store sales with coupons easier. I am not an extreme couponer but I am able to save an average of $80 a week matching coupons with sales. With that kind of savings, I am able to incorporate more organics, fruits, and vegetables into our diet.

As an example of how well one can eat on a budget, here is a typical weekly menu that includes 3 meals and a snack for each day.:

Monday

Breakfast: cereal with milk
Lunch:   Super Ramen
Dinner: Veggie Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce, Los Tios Mexican Rice and Black Beans
Snack: Apples

Tuesday

Breakfast:  Fruit Smoothies
Lunch:  Burritos with leftover rice and beans, salsa
Dinner:  Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Snack: Popcorn

Wednesday

Breakfast: Huevos Rancheros
Lunch:  Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Dinner: Pasta with corn, squash, and onions
Snacks: Tortilla chips and salsa

Thursday

Breakfast: Cereal with Milk
Lunch: Sopa Ranchera
Dinner: Stir fry veggies with rice
Snacks: Pears

Friday

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Asian Vegetable Soup (using leftover stir fry)
Dinner: Wraps with hummus and Greek Salad
Snacks: Popcorn

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggs and Fried Potatoes
Lunch: Black Bean Nachos
Dinner: Spaghetti and sauce, salad
Snacks:  Bananas

Sunday

Breakfast:  Cereal with Milk
Lunch: Grilled Cheese sandwiches
Dinner:  Baked chicken with Mustard Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and zucchini and corn saute
Snacks: Celery with Peanut Butter

Aside from pantry staples (mustard, olive oil, spices, salt, and sugar ) I spent about $89.90 plus tax (about $.80) for the ingredients for this week’s worth of healthy food. That equals about $3.21 per day per person for my family of four.

You can eat well on a small budget.

Here is the grocery list (complete with prices) for the menu:

Organic Milk – 2 gallons – $5.99 each – $11.98
Cereal – Cinnamon Apple Cheerios  – on sale and used coupon – $1.50
2 Organic Yogurts – 6 ounces –  on sale – $.66 each – $1.32
Cheddar Cheese (shreds) – Sargento – on sale and used coupon – $1.95
Potatoes – 5 pounds – $3.99
Onions – 3 pounds – sweet – $3.49
2 Bell Peppers – $1.59
2 Cans (15 ounces) Diced Tomatoes – on sale and used coupons – $.19 each – $.38
Tomato Paste – $.33
4 Jalapenos – .26 pound @$2.29 per pound – $.60
Cilantro – $.99
Broccoli – on sale – $2.00
Green Cabbage – 3.06 pounds @ $.59 per pound – $1.81
Celery – $1.69
Organic Carrots – 1 pound – $1.29
Zucchini – 3 pounds @ $1.29 per pound – $3.87
Cucumber – $.59
Grape Tomatoes – pint – $2.00
Lettuce – $1.99
Lime – $.25
Garlic – $.84
4 Apples – Fuji – 1.34 pounds @ $1.29 per pound – $1.73
4 Pears – Bartlett – 1.70 pounds @ $1.29 per pound – $2.19
4 Bananas – 1.34 pounds @$.69 per pound – $.92
Frozen Strawberries – 1 pound – on sale – $1.69
Frozen Corn – on sale – $.99
Frozen Spinach – on sale – $1.29
Frozen Pancakes – on sale – $1.64
Syrup – Log Cabin – on sale – $1.94
Chicken Breasts – on sale – 1.24 pounds @ $2.99 per pound – $3.71
Peanut Butter – Peter Pan – on sale – $1.74
Bread – Nature’s Own Butterbread – on sale – $1.27
Corn tortillas – $1.89
Flour Tortillas -10 pack –  $1.59
Tortilla Chips – Tostitos – Party Size – on sale –  $2.49
Dried Black Beans – 1 pound – $1.69
Dried Garbanzos – 1 pound – $1.59
Rice – 1 pound – $.99
4 Packages Ramen – @.$20 each – $.80
Organic Eggs – $4.29
2 Packages Pasta – Barilla – on sale – 2 for $1.49
Popcorn – Orville Redenbacher kernels – on sale – $2.42
Butter – on sale – $2.50
Vegetable Bouillon – Knorr’s – $1.59
Juice – Juicy Juice – 64 ounces – on sale – $1.77
Green Tea – Luzianne – on sale $1.24

Grand Total – $89.90 plus tax (about $.80)!!

CALL TO ACTION

Government budget cuts threaten food assistance programs like SNAP, as well as WIC and school lunch programs. Cuts to these programs will make the problem of hunger in the United States worse. Please take 30 seconds to contact Congress and ask them to support anti-hunger legislation. It is super easy. Click this link to get started.

FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE

Food Bloggers Against Hunger was created as a response to Participant Media’s 2013 documentary A Place at the Table. http://www.magpictures.com/aplaceatthetable/.  Check your local listings to see if the film is playing in your area. It is also available for download at iTunes and Amazon.

Websites

Share Our Strength http://www.nokidhungry.org/

The Giving Table http://www.givingtable.org/

 

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