For my family of four, eating on about $17 a day has meant difficult choices between healthy and not-so-healthy options.
With two very active, soccer-crazy kids, not to mention a meat-and-potatoes-loving dad (that's me!), protein is very big deal in our house. But a limited food income led us to forgo a lot of meat options. Ground beef or turkey was just too much; so were chicken breasts. Instead we went with chicken drum sticks and hot dogs. Our normal taco night was a little less fun: we stuck to bean-and-cheese burritos. All of us are eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. This is no big deal for my 8-year-old son, who eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch almost every day of his life, but the rest of us would prefer a little more variety. But a pound of sliced turkey for lunch was $8 or $9; no way we could do that.
Other examples of our cost vs health problem: a loaf of white bread, which seems to have the nutritional content of cotton candy, is about three times cheaper than a loaf of whole wheat. I'm happy to say we went with whole wheat, but it sure was tempting to go with the 99-cent loaf. Instead of my wife's usual, delicious spaghetti sauce, which includes sausage and other fresh ingredients, we went with bottled sauce. Not so delicious.
This is our family's big lesson: we are so fortunate to not have to make these kind of choices on a weekly basis.
Blog entry by Mark Martin, Senior Consultant with the State Assembly Budget Committee.