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Thread: Could you live on $25 of food a week?

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Could you live on $25 of food a week?

    Could you live on $25 of food a week? - Healthy Living on Shine

    We've talked a lot about the cost of providing oneself with nutritious food choices, but never before has this been more apparent than this weekend. I was in Utah, which I regularly forget is mostly desert.

    I had offered to make dinner one night, so off we went to a regular suburban grocery store with a list of essentials. I was planning a peasant-y autumn meal, but wanted to amp up the vitamin content of the meat and potatoes meal, so I grabbed an organic spring lettuce mix and a largish butternut squash.

    The groceries for the meal cost $90, and while granted, one of the things I bought was a $5 bottle of almond extract, I also didn't need to buy things like olive oil or red wine vinegar that were needed for the salad dressing.

    The shocker of the trip was that butternut squash, which ended up being $8.70! Um, hello, isn't squash in season right now? Two weeks ago at my own local farmer's market, I bought a similarly sized squash for $1.25. Of course, I live in an area of the country referred to as the dinner belt, but it really allowed me to realize what families in food deserts are dealing with every day. (See how our pal Kim hosts a dinner party on a budget.)

    For Hunger Action Month, Illinois State Representative Kathy Ryg blogged about her experiences trying to eat on the $25 a week that is allocated to people on food stamps and she was alarmed by the reality that is faced every day by folks with low incomes:


    "(I) went to my Target Superstore to buy my store brand staples: loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter, box of cereal, box of macaroni shells, jar of pasta sauce, 4 oranges @ $1 each!!!!, small brick of cheese and bag of frozen spinach leaves. My total bill was $19.53 - figured I could use the milk, jelly and eggs I had at home but if I had to buy them I would be right at the $25.Clearly I was not going to be eating very healthy - the fresh fruit and vegetables would not fit into my budget, neither did frozen or canned. Frozen spinach in a pasta dish and my 4 oranges for a week fall far short of the recommended 5 servings/day."
    Last year, members of Congress took the challenge, but they only lived on $21 a week:


    "Feeling full on $3 a day is one challenge; eating nutritionally is virtually impossible. Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky's week's worth of fruits and vegetables consisted of one tomato, one potato, a head of lettuce, and five bananas. Health problems are a likely result of the food stamp diet because the cheapest foods are carbs: bread, tortillas, crackers, rice, beans, ramen and noodles. It's easy to see why type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in America."
    Here's how one man solved the problem of the lack fresh produce in the inner city.
    I think back to the choices I made back in college, where I had about $30 every two weeks to feed myself. I basically lived on instant mashed potatoes and my one splurge item, frozen whole kernel corn. The only protein that made it into my grocery cart was peanut butter. Fresh fruits and vegetables were out of the question, and I would have been screwed if bread had cost more than 39 cents a squishy loaf. There are no choices made for the sake of health because the more crucial need is filling your growling stomach. And I, like the people taking the food challenges, had the luxury of a working vehicle and could look through newspapers to find the best sales.
    It really makes me wonder what people on limited incomes, relying on WIC and food stamps are doing now, as the cost of food continues to skyrocket. When I went to the farmer's market in San Francisco, walking back to my car, I was hit with a sense of regret as I passed four homeless people. I had a brief flash of going back to the market, buying some more incredible pears and maybe a bag of apples, and then just walking around handing them out to the homeless of San Francisco. Then a friend texted me, to make plans for the rest of the day and I conveniently dismissed my idea to become a hunger vigilante version of Johnny Appleseed. And now the sense of regret is back, because I should have done that. I should have risked dealing with the mentally ill and possibly obnoxious rumpled residents of Market Street and made the world just a tiny bit better. In retribution, I'll give my monthly charity budget to the local food pantry, and in the future, I will grab those little inspirations and run with them.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    To me, WIC is just to help someone out. It doesn't mean your whole grocery bill has to be paid by WIC. There are ways to pick up odd jobs if WIC isn't handing enough over to suit someone's needs.

    But yes, it is possible to eat on $25.00 a week. It may not be healthy or good, but it will fill you up.

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    Elite Member TheONe's Avatar
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    I've done it....see me in college, lol
    "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat your children. Praise be to Allah." TEAM MILEY!!

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    Elite Member CherryDarling's Avatar
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    I've done it too...dollar days at the grocery store are awesome.
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    Elite Member TheONe's Avatar
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    ^^Ramen Noodles, Tons of Pasta, english muffins, and whatever was on the 10/$10 sale at our supermarket. It's amazing that I was super skinny in college. I should have been as big as a house.
    "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat your children. Praise be to Allah." TEAM MILEY!!

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ You can still get ramen noodles 10 for $1.00.

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    Elite Member TheONe's Avatar
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    ^^I'm on my way to the store as we speak! lol
    "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat your children. Praise be to Allah." TEAM MILEY!!

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Yup...I did it too. Ramen noodles, large cans of tuna, white bread, Ragu, spaghetti, etc. Canned veggies. Store brand.

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    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Could you live on $25 of food a week? - Healthy Living on Shine

    We've talked a lot about the cost of providing oneself with nutritious food choices, but never before has this been more apparent than this weekend. I was in Utah, which I regularly forget is mostly desert.

    I had offered to make dinner one night, so off we went to a regular suburban grocery store with a list of essentials. I was planning a peasant-y autumn meal, but wanted to amp up the vitamin content of the meat and potatoes meal, so I grabbed an organic spring lettuce mix and a largish butternut squash.

    The groceries for the meal cost $90, and while granted, one of the things I bought was a $5 bottle of almond extract, I also didn't need to buy things like olive oil or red wine vinegar that were needed for the salad dressing.

    The shocker of the trip was that butternut squash, which ended up being $8.70! Um, hello, isn't squash in season right now? Two weeks ago at my own local farmer's market, I bought a similarly sized squash for $1.25. Of course, I live in an area of the country referred to as the dinner belt, but it really allowed me to realize what families in food deserts are dealing with every day. (See how our pal Kim hosts a dinner party on a budget.)

    For Hunger Action Month, Illinois State Representative Kathy Ryg blogged about her experiences trying to eat on the $25 a week that is allocated to people on food stamps and she was alarmed by the reality that is faced every day by folks with low incomes:


    "(I) went to my Target Superstore to buy my store brand staples: loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter, box of cereal, box of macaroni shells, jar of pasta sauce, 4 oranges @ $1 each!!!!, small brick of cheese and bag of frozen spinach leaves. My total bill was $19.53 - figured I could use the milk, jelly and eggs I had at home but if I had to buy them I would be right at the $25.Clearly I was not going to be eating very healthy - the fresh fruit and vegetables would not fit into my budget, neither did frozen or canned. Frozen spinach in a pasta dish and my 4 oranges for a week fall far short of the recommended 5 servings/day."
    Last year, members of Congress took the challenge, but they only lived on $21 a week:


    "Feeling full on $3 a day is one challenge; eating nutritionally is virtually impossible. Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky's week's worth of fruits and vegetables consisted of one tomato, one potato, a head of lettuce, and five bananas. Health problems are a likely result of the food stamp diet because the cheapest foods are carbs: bread, tortillas, crackers, rice, beans, ramen and noodles. It's easy to see why type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in America."
    Here's how one man solved the problem of the lack fresh produce in the inner city.
    I think back to the choices I made back in college, where I had about $30 every two weeks to feed myself. I basically lived on instant mashed potatoes and my one splurge item, frozen whole kernel corn. The only protein that made it into my grocery cart was peanut butter. Fresh fruits and vegetables were out of the question, and I would have been screwed if bread had cost more than 39 cents a squishy loaf. There are no choices made for the sake of health because the more crucial need is filling your growling stomach. And I, like the people taking the food challenges, had the luxury of a working vehicle and could look through newspapers to find the best sales.
    It really makes me wonder what people on limited incomes, relying on WIC and food stamps are doing now, as the cost of food continues to skyrocket. When I went to the farmer's market in San Francisco, walking back to my car, I was hit with a sense of regret as I passed four homeless people. I had a brief flash of going back to the market, buying some more incredible pears and maybe a bag of apples, and then just walking around handing them out to the homeless of San Francisco. Then a friend texted me, to make plans for the rest of the day and I conveniently dismissed my idea to become a hunger vigilante version of Johnny Appleseed. And now the sense of regret is back, because I should have done that. I should have risked dealing with the mentally ill and possibly obnoxious rumpled residents of Market Street and made the world just a tiny bit better. In retribution, I'll give my monthly charity budget to the local food pantry, and in the future, I will grab those little inspirations and run with them.
    As someone who worked in the Tenderloin for over 20 years, I see a different side of the "homeless" in the City. After years of watching them they don't want your food. They can get fed at least twice a day if not more at St. Anthony's or Glide's. I've had coworkers who bought them food, passed by the same person later and seen them trying to sell the food they had just bought for them! I'm all for donating to the food banks, but don't give them food or money on the streets.

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    Ha, here is a guy here that holds a sign that says "why lie, I need beer" They get plenty of assistance here as far as meals.
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    No, I absolutely could not do it. A half head of romaine, a tomato, a half onion, a half cup of beans cooked from dried, an apple, an orange, a banana, 3-4 walnuts, a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar--only about 600 calories and over $4/day already.

    You can only do really cheap if you fill up on bad fats and refined starch products, and limit your fruit/veg calories to processed ones that total to very few calories per day. Unless you garden, and then all you are doing is redirecting the money you spent on food dollars to your water/wastewater bill.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I wonder if coupons would do it-they are always featuring those women on TV who get $300 worth of groceries for $12 or something.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    You wanna know what is really scary? If things keep going the way they are we all might have to live on $25 a week for food.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darksithbunny View Post
    You wanna know what is really scary? If things keep going the way they are we all might have to live on $25 a week for food.
    Good thought. We'd best start planning!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member WhateverLolaWants's Avatar
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    I'm an avid coupon clipper/sale follower and I save about 12$ a week that way. I really don't see how those women save so much money unless they're willing to buy nothing but crap that tastes like even worse crap
    ----------------------------
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