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Forgoing meat in a diet is hard enough with it being so prevalent in the United States, but having to stick to that diet on food stamps is even trickier. Here are the top ways to eat healthy on a meatless food stamps budget.

Weekly Budget

Food stamps recipients don’t get a lot of supplementary aid each month in which to buy groceries, with the lowest averages found in Iowa ($116.28), Minnesota ($116.25), New Hampshire ($115.76), West Virginia ($119.88), and Wisconsin ($116.56). States like Hawaii ($217.49) and the territory of Guam ($216.15) are definite aberrations, and well above the weekly average of about $30 for the latter states. This makes it extremely difficult to feed a family on such a small budget, especially with meat being subsidized so heavily in the United States. For vegans and vegetarians, finding meat alternatives to maintain a healthy diet is no easy feat on a food stamps budget.

Difference Between Veganism and Vegetarianism

Generally speaking, vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish or poultry; many choose to consume dairy products or eggs because they’re extracted from live animals. Vegetarians may also choose to not wear animal products like leather or fur, but there are no hard and fast rules and choices are made on an individual basis.

Vegans adhere to a stricter diet by forgoing all animal products from their diets, including dairy products and eggs. They’re also far more likely to not wear animal products or buy items that contain animal products, like leather-bound notebooks or suede shoes.

Vegans and Vegetarians on Food Stamps

As mentioned before, meat is heavily subsidized in the United States, which means it’s generally easy to find and affordable to buy: a problem for vegans and vegetarians. Meat is an easy source of protein, vitamins and iron, which everybody needs, regardless of their diet.

But just because vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat or animal products doesn’t mean that they still can’t eat healthy, even on a food stamps budget. Here are “meat eater” foods and meatless alternatives:

 

  • Beef: seitan, vegetarian ground beef crumbles, textured soy proteins, tempeh
  • Chicken: Quorn (mushroom-based), Gardein (soy-based), Savage River Farms products
  • Fish: mashed chickpeas, Tuno, crumbled tempeh
  • Pork: textured soy protein, tempeh cutlets, slow-cooked jackfruit
  • Milk: soy, rice, almond, hemp
  • Eggs: vegan egg yolk, extra firm tofu, Ener-G Egg Replacer

 


While it may not be easy to be a vegan or vegetarian on food stamps, a little bit of reading and research can make the process a lot easier. Just remember to stock up on foods rich in iron, vitamins and protein to ensure a healthy and balanced diet.

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