Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Save Money... Become a Vegetarian

My typical meal of rice, vegetables and powdered gravy.

A great way to save money on food is to limit eating meat. According to an article I found in Mother Earth News, a typical vegetarian diet costs 20% less than eating the normal meat centered diet. The article also mentioned that an individual spends about $300/month on food with half of that total being eaten at restaurants.

I have been reading a lot of articles about food price and nutrition. There are many blogs about doing the SNAP challenge where a person tries to live off of food stamps for a month. The challenge comes out to about $4/day for food per person.

Recently in NC a lawmaker wanted to make it illegal to buy “junk food” on food stamps. I put junk food in quotations because the label is a personal perspective. Does the individual, who receives food stamps, need more calories or more nutrition? Empty calories are cheaper than healthier options. For example, $1 worth of soda will give more calories than $1 worth of spinach and from a calorie perspective soda is the better choice, but when based on a well-rounded diet soda is the worse choice of the two. I think the lawmaker’s idea will be met by large food companies who will not allow their pre-packaged foods to be made unavailable to people on food stamps. When I worked in a grocery store deli the food from the hot bar was not allowed to be purchased with food stamps, even if it was more nutritious than a package of cookies or box of cake mix.

I used to work with a guy who received food stamps and got $230/month which comes to about $7.67/day for food. He worked part-time in a restaurant but didn’t make a living wage. He had a garden plot of about 10x10’ and he knew how to can his own food, so he grew much of his own food or ate at the restaurant. With his $230/month, he would purchase high quality steaks and other whole meats. There are ways to eat healthy and be on food stamps especially if the person has a garden. 

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