How to eat healthy on a skimpy budget
Nearly 47 million Americans rely on the federal food assistance program. But a new study found it doesn’t cover half of what a healthy diet costs. So how can you feed your family nutritious meals on a skimpy budget?
Stephanie Thomas wanted to make healthy meals for her family, but it wasn’t easy on a tight budget.
Thomas said “I had to get the cheaper brand, the less expensive brand, but the nutritional ingredients weren’t the same.”
Like millions of American families, Thomas’s relied on the SNAP program.
“The SNAP program is the largest federal food assistance program in the country,” explained Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Agriculture & Human Services at North Carolina State University.
Haynes-Maslow wanted to know if families on a limited budget can afford to eat healthy. So she led a study on SNAP.
“SNAP only really covers about 43-60% of food costs.” Haynes-Maslow stated.
The study found the most expensive diet consisted of meat eaters who only ate fresh fruits and vegetables. And the cheapest?
Haynes-Maslow said, “eating a vegetarian diet.”
With a mix of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. So what are Haynes-Maslow’s tips to stretching your food budget without skimping on nutrition? First: buy in bulk whenever possible. Be coupon savvy, scan newspapers or download apps that do the work for you.
And don’t forget to check food labels.
Haynes-Maslow explained, “no added sugar, no sodium added or reduced sodium.”
“This is actually spaghetti squash lasagna.” Thomas said about one of the dinners she prepared.
Thomas took a cooking class from her local food bank. She learned to make a fiber packed meal for her family all under ten bucks!
Thomas said, “It’s going to feed you that night, maybe the next night, maybe you send your husband to work with leftovers.”
SNAP stands for supplemental nutrition assistance program. When looking for savings at the grocery store, look at the upper and lower shelves; stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. For family friendly recipes and tips on eating healthy on a budget visit choosemyplate.gov
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.