I have news for you: if you can afford food at all (which the first person there might not, but I'll get to that), you can afford to eat healthy. You make a choice every time you walk into a grocery store with what you are going to do with that money, whether it be cash, credit on a card you can't afford, or food stamps. You can even make the choice to not go to the grocery store much at all!
First off, what is healthy food? There are so many different definitions and views on what is healthy and what isn't and oftentimes these views are completely contradictory (like vegans and supporters of the Weston A. Price Foundation, for example). My personal definition is that healthy food is real food. As in I could harvest it or the base ingredients myself and make it from hardcore scratch (First, you plant the seed, then you....etc). If I don't know what an ingredient is or what it is derived from without looking it up, not good. It is my hope that some point in the future, I'll be completely done with grocery stores with this nutritional philosophy, but I'm fairly certain I won't be living in a trailer park anymore when that happens.
In the meantime, my family of 6 gets $75 a month in food stamps and we get WIC for two children (this translates into 6-7 gallons of milk, 2 pounds of cheese, 2 dozen eggs, 72 ounces of conventional cereal, 2 18 oz jars of peanut butter or pounds of beans, $12 of fruits and vegetables of our choice, 4 bottles of juice, and 4 loaves of bread or other whole grain exchange such as tortillas, oatmeal, or pounds of brown rice). We usually don't have much, if any, money above this to use on food. Yet we never go hungry, our health is great, and about the only time we compromise our nutritional values is when we do get a little extra money and splurge on convenience food or eat out. Generally, the worst part of our diet comes from the crap they give us on WIC! The juice, hormone and chemical laden dairy, questionable cereal, and sugary peanut butter (we don't get that one very much!) are some of the iffyist things we eat! I'm not really complaining (okay, I kind of am), since there have been times when my entire grocery shopping trip in the dead of winter has come from our WIC selections, but they are still a lot better than what they used to be, since the fruits and veggies and whole grains are things that have been added the past few years, but still! I tend to get very frustrated with WIC "nutritional education" since I tend to keep more up-to-date on dietary science (a hobby of mine) than the people who come up with this stuff! But I digress...
|Lots of recipes on this blog to feed a family for less than $5!|
To make my food stamps go farther, I shop produce in season and just get things I can't grow on my own. I use coupons (when I have them. I probably should get better about that part). I shop sales. I buy in bulk, like the 10 lb block of cheddar I get for $30.49 at a restaurant supply store rather than buying little packages of cheese (it typically lasts our family 2 months, if you were wondering. The latest block is going down much faster than normal though). I look for special deals, like during the summer months, some farmers markets will double food stamps up to a certain amount. Here in Michigan, that program is currently in a growing number of our markets and I shop weekly at one such market. They'll match my food stamps up to $20 with the matching funds having to go toward fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan. That works for me! I'm stocking up on all the fruits and berries that I don't currently have the capability to grow on my Trailer Park Homestead!
Okay, this post seems to be getting a bit long, so I think I'm going to stop (for now), but if anyone needs more specific information about any of this, please don't hesitate to contact me. Leave a comment here, post on my Facebook page, shoot me a tweet, or send me an email (addy is in my bio on the sidebar) if you don't want others to see who asked the question (although I may repost it anonymously and answer it publicly, depending on whether I think others could benefit from the answer).