Affordable Nutrition

In preparation for a presentation to a group of parents from the Colorado Homeless Families (CHF) in Jefferson County I wanted to update my Whole Foods With Food Stamps blog. The last time I presented to CHF was in the Spring of 2008. These parents are attending school, receiving job training, and education to better care for their families. Most are temporarily on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps).

In 2008, Jefferson County allowed a maximum of $298 a month for two people. It’s a sliding scale, larger families receive more and SNAP allotment is adjusted to the family’s income. Also, it’s expected that each family will supplement their food stamps with their income.

Today, the maximum SNAP allotment is $367 for two people. Another note is SNAP is for food only. Personal items, dog food, paper and cleaning products cannot be purchased with SNAP.

Katelyn likes to save at the grocers.

For the purpose of my demonstration, I went to a Super WalMart to purchase one week’s groceries for two people. I used $300 as my monthly food budget. You’ll be happy to know that I purchased more than enough food for two people and I only purchased whole foods. Sometimes, I even purchased organic foods! I refused to purchase expensive processed junk foods, which don’t contain any nutrients. To economize larger size items were purchased with $25 of the next week’s food budget and used for the second week’s groceries. I spent $100 in 200. That was $75 for the week’s allotment and $25 from the next week to purchase staples. This year, 2012, the allotment has been adjusted for inflation at $91 a week. Will that be enough? I didn’t know.

I first chose four recipes found in Baby Bites for dinner, which serve 4 and shaped my weekly shopping list from that. I planned to freeze half of each recipe for a second meal. Of course, I included items like flour for pancakes, oatmeal, and eggs for breakfast, lunch items and even food for snacking in my grocery shopping. I went back to the same Walmart today for my price comparison. I was curious how inflation would affect my total. How did my shopping stack up four years later? Surprisingly well. Walmart now stocks more of their store brand, Great Value. I noted a Great Value product with “GV.” When purchasing store brands, you can save up to 30 percent. Even with those savings, this year my total was more than the SNAP allotment.

I complied my shopping list from these recipes found in Baby Bites:

1) Spanish Rice & Beans, pg 121

2) Cheesy Salmon Casserole, pg 125

3) Spinach & Tomato Medley, pg 121

4) Lentil Pilaf, pg 128

5) Grilled chicken breasts, salad, lentils

Prices below reflect Summer 2012 and Spring 2008.

2012        2008
$39          $37    Dairy, Poultry & Bread:

(Because of supply and demand, organic dairy has dropped in cost.)

2.72            2.50            Butter, 1 pound

4.08            3.40            Organic eggs

4.36GV       5.30            Organic milk

2.50            2.50            Dannon plain yogurt

3.48            2.25            Mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces (the closest I could get this year was 16 ounces @ $3.48)

4.23            4.00            Cheddar cheese, 16 ounces

7.96            7.10*            Organic bread (this year Rudis) 2 loaves @ $3.55)

8.99            10.00            3 lb.(6) Tyson chicken breasts without hormones & antibiotics

$22        $16          Produce:

(To be fair, in 2008 produce was purchased in the Spring and in 2012 at the end of the growing season in September when produce is at it’s cheapest.)
0.98            0.70            1 lb carrots

1.78            1.40             1 lb celery

1.85            1.85            2 green bell peppers

1.68            1.00            1 pound onions

5.98            4.40            Clemintine oranges, bag of 7 (2012 Mandarins)

0.78            0.30            Garlic

1.52             0.90            Frozen boxed spinach

1.00            0.65            2 small tomatoes

2.08            2.70            4 pounds of bananas (8)

1.44            1.50             1 head Romaine lettuce

0.68            0.50            1 Avocado

$17        $12        Canned Goods:
6.96            3.30            2 cans 14 ounces salmon

2.04GV      1.80            3 cans tomatoes

1.36            1.30            2 cans black beans

1.68            1.20            2 cans pinto beans

3.66            3.00            32 ounces organic chicken broth

1.36            1.20            2 cans of 6 ounce light tuna

$25 (X2) $18 (X2) Staples:
This section is divided: $18 per week for 2008; $25 for 2012

1.34GV       1.85            Red wine vinegar (or balsamic)

2.83            1.85            1 10 ounce jar green olives

3.26            3.00             Smuckers Strawberry Jelly 15 ounce, Low Sugar, No High Fructose Corn Syrup

1.48GV       1.70            Popping corn, 2 pounds

5.72             5.15            Extra virgin olive oil, 15 ounces (16 ounces in 2012)

3.98            2.20            Best Foods mayo, 15 ounces, No High Fructose Corn Syrup

3.27GV       1.90            Applesauce, 3 pounds, No Sugars (2012 two pounds @ $1.09 per pound)

1.98            1.80            Raisins, 1 pound (2012 12 ounces)

3.64            2.15            Wheat flour, 5 pounds

5.98            2.60            Smucker’s peanut butter, 1 pound, No Sugars (2012 Adams)

3.28            2.00            Rolled oats, 2 pounds, 10 ounces

2.48GV     2.50            Pace Picante, 1 pound, No Sugars (2012 24 ounces)

1.08            0.75            Lentils, 1 pound

2.29GV       3.00            Brown rice, 28 ounces

0.50            0.35            Baking Soda

1.28            0.85            Baking Powder

2.98            2.50            Honey

1.98            1.25            Cinnamon

2008 — 1st and 2nd week Week Total = $166 ($83 per week) (SNAP $75 per week; $300 per month. I “borrowed” from the last two weeks to purchase staples. The balance of $134 is spent on the remaining two week’s groceries.)

2012 — 1st and 2nd Week Total of $206 ($103 per week)  SNAP $92 per week; $367 per month. That left $161 for the remaining two weeks to purchase groceries.

With the advantage of Walmart’s Great Value store brand foods (store brands can be as much as 30 percent less) and summer’s lower produce costs, I was able to make the SNAP food dollars work! Click Here to find out out why.

For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

Our physician formulated supplements…at a healthy discount!, Click Here

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