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Author Topic: "Eating on $31 a week..." - The SNAP Challenge  (Read 1220 times)
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WhiskeyGirl
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« on: September 29, 2010, 02:33:50 AM »

This is an interesting series...

Eating on $31 a week: Day 1

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This week, during Hunger Action Month, I have pledged to take the SNAP Challenge, a program set forth by Feeding Illinois to help people understand the challenges of eating and feeding families on the $4.50 per person, per day allotted to the record number of Americans on public aid.
 

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We got lots of great reader tips on stretching a food dollar and I used many during my weekend shopping. Some might think I was crazy for getting most of my food a farmers market and Whole Foods but I found some terrific buys. And I bought the rest of my groceries at local ethnic greengrocers. 

Per your suggestions, I went heavy on the dried legumes, whole grains (barley, oatmeal, brown rice) and versatile, vitamin packed veggies. My biggest splurge was a $5 dozen of Tempel Farms, organic, pastured-chicken eggs. They ended up only counting as $2.50 because of the SNAP double value at 61st Street Farmers Market. I also bought four slices of naturally raised bacon from Whole foods and a carton of organic milk.

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Daily total: $2.80

I've discovered I can probably start adding a few extras. So I did on Monday. I will update them tonight.

more here - http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/2010/09/eating-on-31-a-week-day-one.html

Eating on $31 a week: Day 2

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Careful shopping and scratch cooking take time but are my best moneysavers. Sure it's easy to drop 100 bucks at Whole Foods, but if you stick to the bulk section, where I scooped up a variety of grains and legumes, you can find excellent deals -- my brown rice was $1.19 a pound.  And if you troll the "seconds" bins at farmers market stands, you can score tasty imperfect fruit, like the delicious apple I used for my apple and peanut butter sandwich today--4 for $1 and half price for food stamp holders at the 61st Street Farmers Market on the border of Woodlawn and Hyde Park.

"Daily total $2.97"

more here - http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/2010/09/eating-on-31-a-day-day-two.html

I wish I had a Whole Foods by me.
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WhiskeyGirl
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 02:43:23 AM »

There are 7 days and a summery.

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I hope the week of budget eating was instructive. It was for me but I'm glad to have the luxury of not having to stick to it any longer.

As a food policy writer it re-emphasized for me the importance of access to healthy foods, basic cooking education, the supplemental help of food banks and sheer time/energy to do the cooking and clean up, when it comes to making these budgets work for families on SNAP. It also made me realize that man cannot live on rice and lentils alone. Inevitably the body will call out for something more and will never be judgemental about that again. 

I've been asked to sum up this experience for the Tribune's Good Eating section this week and those thoughts will appear here, there or both places in coming days.

Thanks again for all who came along for the ride and offered the great suggestions and provocative thoughts.


more here - http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/2010/09/eating-on-31-a-week-day-7.html

from the comments -
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Very interesting experiment! I have four kids. Would each child also receive $31 per week for food? I'm curious as to how the budgeting might have changed had you been purchasing groceries for the whole family rather than just for one person. If each child and each adult did recieve $31 per week, the weekly food budget would be $186. How much does the average family spend on groceries/each out each week?

I wonder how many spend less than $31 per person on food in larger families?
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It doesn't do any good to hate anyone,
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WhiskeyGirl
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 02:56:25 AM »

"Eating on $31 a week: What I learned"

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When my editor originally asked me to eat on $31 a week and blog about it, I said "sure, no problem," without giving it a second thought. The purpose was to call attention to Hunger Action Month and the plight of the record 42 million Americans who now depend on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs.

I thought I would just eat more rice and beans, take some pictures and jot down a few breezy notes once a day. Ha!

more here - http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/2010/09/eating-on-31-a-week-what-i-learned.html
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It doesn't do any good to hate anyone,
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WhiskeyGirl
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 03:02:59 AM »

from the comments -



Yes, you can make it on $31/week - as long as you don't buy junk food. For that matter, you can eat quite well, as long as you prepare the food yourself.

Posted by: Logical | September 17, 2010 at 04:57 PM

Shop at Aldi. I am a former Whole Foods shopper who started going to Aldi about a year ago. I typically now spend between $30-$50 a week to feed two people. You might be surprised what you'll find there--fresh mozzarella, soymilk, spring salad mix, slivered almonds, balsamic vinegar, pesto, dark chocolate, thick cut bacon, etc. I'm a big fan.

Posted by: FormerWholeFoodsShopper | September 17, 2010 at 05:12 PM
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WhiskeyGirl
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 03:04:36 AM »

more comments -



I took on this same challenge for my family of 5. It's a breeze; you just have to be willing to cook.
I can make pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, Shrimp scampi over linguini, Tomato/Vodka Sauce and pasta, tacos, burritos, Flank steak, Tri-Tip, meatloaf, brats, burgers, polishes, Italian sausages, pork chops, roast chicken ... the list goes on. Throw in a couple of healthy, fresh vegetables with dinner, leftovers for lunch and oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, and it's easy to feed a family of 5 on less than $20/day -- well below the $700/mo. a family of 5 can receive.
My original hypothesis was correct -- food-stamp recipients are overpaid.

Posted by: CWM | September 20, 2010 at 02:41 PM

I realize that I am reading this in Texas, where it is probably cheaper to feed a family, but this challenge seems crazy easy to me--my sister feeds her family of four for $50 per week TOTAL, and has done so forever. She also lives in a small town, where there are limited shopping options, which doesn't necessarily lead to lower prices!

And I fed my family of three for FAR less than $93 dollars a week we would be allowed under the challenge.

I understand the "food desert" issue, and I think that is a major problem. But for those of us with transportation or readily accesible stores, this should be a no-brainer. Any difficulty is due to a shift in "convenience" v. "make it yourself".

Oh, and the whole food-snob issue, which I think runs rampant.

Posted by: TLS | September 25, 2010 at 11:08 AM
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All my posts are just my humble opinions.  Please take with a grain of salt.  Smile

It doesn't do any good to hate anyone,
they'll end up in your family anyway...
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