Today I want to briefly tell you about a very worthy movement going on called Food Bloggers Against Hunger. It was created in response to the documentary A Place At the Table.
Food bloggers across the web were encouraged to participate by creating budget-friendly recipes, sharing personal Food Stamp experiences or taking the literal challenge of only spending $4 at the grocery store.
$4. Wow. That is the amount of money that some people have to use for an entire day’s worth of food when on federal nutrition programs. It may sound like plenty, and could be if you spend it on high caloric junk food and cheap, processed grocery items. However, for those trying to be healthy, it’s nearly impossible subsist on only $4 a day.
I decided that for my contribution to Food Bloggers Against Hunger I would create a meal plan for those that are on a tight budget. Even further I created a meal plan that is allergy-free. That’s right. It is gluten/wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, nut-free, corn-free, soy-free, tomato-free, fish-free, and shellfish-free.
The meal plan ends up coming out at $27.71 per week per person. That’s only $3.96 per day. Also, the calorie count for the meal plan comes out to 1939 calories per day. It uses wholesome ingredients and very simple recipes.
Now, let’s just cut to the chase and I can share with you all what I created!
First up, the grocery list:
For those without coffee grinders, they could also just cook the rice like normal, or substitute it with oatmeal if they do not have issues with gluten or wheat.
Many of the meals ended up being vegan because beans are just so much less expensive than meat. Also, for healthy fats I focused on olive oil and coconut oil because those tend to be easier to digest for those with food allergies and/or digestive problems.
More rice! Again, focusing on getting a lot of vegetables in, but the most cost effective way was via frozen. No problem with that!
And finally, the snacks:
Again, if you don’t have a food processor you can just eat the sunflower seeds whole. For the banana ice cream, if you don’t have a food processor, combine the coconut oil with cocoa powder and perhaps a little honey to make a chocolate sauce. Top the frozen banana with the homemade chocolate sauce for an equally delicious treat.
I thought it would be easy. WRONG. I thought it would be fun. Eh, YES. But would I want to/be able to set aside time every week to rework my grocery list and make sure that I had enough money and calories? NO. That’s why I wanted to create this meal plan.
One of the statistics that surprised me the most about those on Food Stamps (also called WIC or SNAP) is that millions of Americans participate in the program. With SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) specifically, 44.7 million Americans participated in 2011. The average monthly spending budget per month in that same year was $133.85 per person. $133.85/31 days a month equals just over $4.00 a day to spend on food.
I know most bloggers today will be sharing budget-friendly recipes or tips on how to save money at the grocery store, but when I heard about this challenge, all that I could think about was how scared I would be if I was someone who had severe allergies and needed the aid of a food assistance program to survive. I wouldn’t be able to eat the classic inexpensive toast and eggs for breakfast. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch wouldn’t fly either. And just forget about pasta for supper.
If I’m anxious over just thinking about this, I can only imagine how a parent or child must feel who are going through this situation right now.
At this time I want to give you all this link that will allow you to go to Congress and send a quick note to them expressing the importance of their federal nutrition programs. Cuts are being proposed and with cuts comes hunger. For parents and children alike this is just unacceptable and I hope that you will participate and do you part to support this very worthy cause.
Here is an easy (pinnable 🙂 ) version of the daily allergy-free meal plan just for reference:
Only one question for today: What would you do if you were hungry?