Although meat shouldn’t be the prime source of focus for food when you are living on a food stamp budget – mainly due to its price and the effect it can have on your body when eaten in large amounts – having a few small servings of meat throughout the week can be helpful. You can use meat to help stretch some of your meal options and make them more interesting.
For example, if you’ve had baked chicken earlier in the week, you can chop up some of it and put it with your pasta later on in the week. Consider boiling it to create broth or make a soup. If you have leftovers, make a chicken pot pie or even freeze them for later use. Making chicken sandwiches is another option. There are many different meals you can get out of just a single chicken. Likewise, you can apply the same ideas to beef, pork, and other meat that your family may enjoy. As long as you make balanced and healthy meals, you should not have to worry too much about the overall nutritious value of this option.
The 2009 Recovery Act had provided additional founding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That funding will expire on November 1 unless congressional action occurs, which many people now believe is unlikely to happen. As a result, $11 billion in funding for food stamps will be cut by the end of the government’s 2016 fiscal year based on information from Stacy Dean, the vice president for the food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Learning how to make the most of your benefits now will make it easier to budget if cuts occur in the future.
A lot of people who are on food stamps often cite that they feel overwhelmed with trying to handle meal preparation associated with living on a food stamp budget because they handle these responsibilities on their own. A great way to overcome this issue is to work on getting your family involved with the meal ideas and food preparation at home. This can be as simple as getting someone interested in cooking with you or creating unique meals together. Another focus should be getting children interested in eating healthier based on what’s typically available in your home.
If you want more resources and ideas for meals that you can use to make the most of your food stamp benefits, there are many resources available online. A lot of the state sites for the departments associated with food stamps have their own recipes and meal suggestions that can be helpful. Another option is to get involved on a message board or a Facebook group and share different options and ideas with other people. You will find that many of the people who are facing the same challenges will be more than willing to help you out by sharing some of the options that have worked well for them.