It seems logical to assume that less mouths to feed would mean more savings. Challengers found that food at the store is catered to family portions and items catered to individuals comes at a higher price. The practice of economies of scale is readily embraced in our "super size it" culture and have an affect on CalFresh recipients, like the elderly. Day 6
Earlier in the week I was almost wishing that I only participated in the challenge by myself instead of including my entire family. I thought that I had it more difficult because there was greater pressure to provide wholesome and nutrient rich meals and snacks. When you need to include fruits, vegetables, quality protein, and whole grains its takes a bit more planning to create a menu and grocery list. I was jealous that those who were only participating as single people, even if they had families, because they could get away with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and top ramen for meals and still have funds left at the end of the day.
However, the more I thought about it, I started to change my mind. I realized that while shopping for a family, even a small one, there is a benefit of economy of size. You can buy a better variety of food due to the larger budget. Most items that you buy in the grocery store are aimed at families. Chicken breasts are packaged at least 5 breasts together and costs anywhere from $5 to $10 depending if you buy boneless or not. If you buy boneless at $10, that’s a third of your weekly budget on one food item! Additionally, larger packages are cheaper by the ounce/serving than smaller packages.
I realized how difficult it would be to buy a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and quality protein on a single person’s SNAP benefits. Individuals are more likely to pick higher sodium and lower nutrient foods such as top ramen just to make sure they have enough money for the rest of the week. Even with just two people it would be difficult to have enough benefits to afford to buy nutritious food. It seems like the highest risk groups are young adults and the elderly. Both groups need higher quality food: the young adults to prevent problems due to malnutrition later in life, such as osteoporosis; and the older adults to maintain health as their health begins to decline.
This has been a very eye opening experience. It really helped me to realize the problems that many people face in regards to eating nutritious food. A healthy diet is so important when preventing health problems and in helping you to heal from illness. The more and more I study about diseases that occur in the elderly, the more I see a common denominator: diet. Almost every disease that I have studied thus far stated a lack in nutritious food as a contributing factor. I can definitely see that something needs to be changed.
-Submitted by: CalFresh Challenger
So, Friday was crazy busy and blogging just wasn't going to happen. So, my final blog today will cover the last two days of the challenge. Friday: Breakfast- bagel and peanut butter with tea Lunch- turkey sandwich with cheese and an apple Dinner-eggs and toast with steamed broccoli and tea snack- the of the beans with some salsa
Saturday: Breakfast- bagel with peanut butter and tea Lunch- turkey sandwich with cheese and an apple Dinner- eggs and toast with steamed broccoli snack- the last tortilla with the last of the salsa
Here's what is left in the cupboard: about a half of a loaf of bread 6 eggs one tea bag and a little bit of broccoli
So, this has been an interesting week, and I have to admit that I am glad it is over. It made for a complicated week doing this project and feeding a family that was not doing the program. But, I learned some things. Living on a tight grocery budget is not easy, but it is totally possible and with planning it can be done healthfully. My diet may not have been the most balanced this week, but I could have made it better with two changes. First, I needed to plan better. I should have sat down and really thought about each meal and planned accordingly. The other significant take away is that cooking for one on a budget is harder that doing so for a family of five. When you shop for one variety is harder to accomplish and you can't buy big packages as easily. When you buy big you spend less per ounce- making the product cheaper. Add this to the fact that many single seniors lack the desire to cook and plan and I can see how balanced nutrition for these people could be very difficult to have happen. This project has inspired me though, to plan better, to spend less and to but less junk.
-Submitted by: CalFresh Challenger