One in seven Americans rely on food stamps. However, are they getting the right kinds of nutrition? Articles are written today arguing that the amount given for food stamps is only about $1 a day to buy groceries. How do you buy groceries with only a $1 a day? With so many people on food assistance, the issues that were once perceived by Americans to be a problem have faded, although many proponents are trying to change the food stamp program as it is. The main problem for families on food stamps is how to eat healthy.
One of the ways to eat organic is to use the food stamps to buy seeds. Most food stamp programs allow you to buy seed packets to grow your own food. You can also grow food from seeds that you get from vegetables at the super market, though you have to pay attention to the process to make sure that you do it right. Throughout history, edible gardens have been planted to allow families to have multiple vegetables throughout the year. You can use your food stamps to supply your vegetables one time, but then you can use the rest of the food stamps to buy beans, whole grains and meat products.
To maximize your money, you should buy only food that is unprocessed, locally grown and natural. Focus on getting vegetables at farmer’s markets or from the organic section of your local market. You can cook a healthy meal at least once every day from food that you bought with assistance. However, you will probably need to kick in at least $100 or so of your own money every month to completely round out your diet.
The average benefit per person is just over $33 a week, so you will have to shop conservatively as possible. You may not be able to eat smoothies and salmon, but there will be unprocessed foods that will likely be cost effective for your budget. One of the most important parts of this is learning some recipes that are tasteful and use simple ingredients.
If you don’t know how to cook already, then you can pick up some cookbooks or look online for recipes that incorporate the food that you like to eat. Home-cooked meals are more nutritious and will also give you a chance to learn techniques to cooking and using healthy ingredients.
Consider the inexpensive sources of protein when you shop such as tofu and eggs. You can also learn how to use dried beans. These are less expensive and will go a long way. A $3 bag of dried lentils can last several weeks if you’re conservative. If you like meats, look for the cheaper cuts on sale and use meat as a condiment or side option rather than the main focal point of the meal.
When you do shop, make sure that you purchase in bulk. You can save more money on nuts, beats and grains because they come in 2 lb. bags for a really cheap price. Local supermarkets usually sell organic oats in the bulk section anyway. Oats are a perfectly good breakfast option and can keep you filled for at least two weeks if you eat it every day.
When worst comes to worst, think of the Clean 15 rule. There are 15 pesticide-free food products that can really benefit you. These include onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. Some of the items that you should avoid are apples, celery, strawberries, peaches and spinach.
There are so many farmer’s markets out there that can help you get an even healthier meal. You can find multiple farmer’s markets that now accept food stamps. Before, it was trouble to pay for food with government benefits. If you shop near closing time, you’ll also take advantage of end-of-day specials at several different vendors.
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