moldybluecheesecurds 2

Friday, June 01, 2007

$3 a day won't keep the doctor away

More and more folks are paying attention to the recent Food Stamp Challenge, asking public officials to try a week on the food stamp budget of $3/day for food. I noted recently that the Governor of Oregon was among the challengers, and his experience wasn't easy.

Not only is it a challenge to simply find enough food, but the choices won't win any health awards:
Two cans of high-protein, high-fiber black beans cost more than five of goopy, fatty refried beans...Hormel single-serving mac and cheese, 25 percent saturated fat and 820 milligrams of sodium. Cup Noodles, 12 for $4, but nearly half a day's sodium allotment in one serving...I found a loaf of the kind of bread that's mostly good for food fights -- marked down from $2.19 to 99 cents.
One columnist went out and did their best to be healthy on $21 a week and came up short:
I cannot get the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. These low prices mean a lot of salt, which increases my risk for high blood pressure. If this were my regular diet, I would probably gain weight and may be looking at health problems in the future...For those who'd like to restrict the food stamp program or who want to blame recipients for bad diets, I have one suggestion:

Take $21 and go shopping.

It really made me appreciate that not only can I buy what food I need (and want), I can even be picky about food quality. Does the low sodium variety cost a bit more? Okay. Is it worth an extra 50 cents/lb to have organics? Sure. Can I do veggie burgers instead of the cheaper ground beef? Why not?

1 comment:

rick said...

my understanding is that the food stamp benefits are determined according to a sliding scale, so the "average food stamp recipient" who gets $21 may be able to afford to spend some of their income on food. it may be more instructive to see how easy it is to live on the maximum food stamp benefit