Healthy (REAL Food) Meals on a Food Stamp Budget {Guest Post}

by Jenn K on December 3, 2013

WholesomeMommys Healthy Real Food Meals on a Food Stamp Budget

Last week I announced that I would be taking on a major challenge on my blog WholesomeMommy.com called, “REAL Food on a Food Stamp Budget.” The basic idea is that I won’t be purchasing processed foods, only REAL foods and that I’ll be packing in a lot of things that aren’t normally synonymous with a low income, things like organic dairy and antibiotic free chicken. What’s more is that unlike others that have taken on this challenge, I am not relying on a stocked pantry to get started. I am starting at ZERO. EVERY ITEM that is used will be on the grocery list and deducted from the grocery budget. And speaking of the budget, I will be working with $400 a month, or $100 a week, which amounts to about $1.19 per person in a family of 4, for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. There are several rules in place and you can read all about them in the first post.

But what I would like you to understand is the seriousness of this series. SNAP eligibility rules require that participants be at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Level. Recent studies show that 49% of all SNAP participants are children (age 18 or younger), with almost two-thirds of SNAP children living in single-parent households. One in 7 Americans is receiving food stamps and only 67% of households who qualify actually participate in the food stamp program {Snap to Health Project}.  What that tells me is that although there is quite a large number of families who require food stamps for the most basic of needs, there are many more families who are making it work on the VERY limited grocery budget that they have themselves.

I am not naive to think that this challenge will save the world or end hunger all together, but what I do hope is that this challenge will take some of the stress and work out of figuring out how to eat REAL food on a limited grocery budget.  I want this challenge to help the parent(s) who are trying to make their food stamps last for the month, who are trying to stretch their own household dollars to feed their families, or who are trying to pinch pennies on their grocery bill so they can pay off debt or purchase other necessities.  This challenge isn’t JUST for those on food stamps.

If you decide to go on this journey with me, I promise to give you ALL of my PRINTABLE monthly meal plans {including grocery lists so you know exactly what I bought and dollar amount I spent on each item}. There is no gimmick, nothing to purchase. The truth is, I did think about selling these products as so many gurus encourage bloggers to do to make money with their blogs, but I have chosen the Lord as my leader and He has laid it on my heart to give it all away.  It is a matter of trust really.  And, I choose to trust Him for my provision and am thrilled that He has chosen me to help others with the provision they’ve been given.

Ready to get started? Go visit WholesomeMommy.com and subscribe via email so you can start receiving everything FOR FREE.  Then, come join the conversation at www.facebook.com/wholesomemommy

Denise Sawyer is a REAL mom feeding her family REAL food and keeping it REAL simple because she knows what it is like to be a mom – there isn’t a lot of extra time or money to locate exotic ingredients or cook elaborate meals. Join her on WholesomeMommy.com where she is talking about how to make wholesome living more affordable.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie December 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

$400 a month for food, that’d be heaven, I’m lucky if I have $70 every 2 week paycheck!!! and that’s just for myself!

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Heather December 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I wish I got 400 in food stamps. I get 280 for a family of four and my husband makes 10 bucks an hour so we dont have a lot to spend on food after bills and household needs. We make it work but it is tough!

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Heather December 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Small edit….I wish I had the money to spend 400 a month on food!

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Jo December 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I have a family of six we live on 500 a month give or take a few I shop the sales for meat and coupon and most of my stuff I get at Aldi. You have less of a chance buying things you don’t need at Aldi we don’t waste anything but not all is the best for us we eat a lot of ramen noodles for lunches

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Heather December 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I love love aldi’s! I get most of my basics there.

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regina levalley December 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

When I subtract my paper products from my bill we spend about $400- $500 a month in food for my family of 6 in Florida. I think this month when I subtract Christmas dinner and replace itbwith a price of a regular meal, I spent about $415. We get paid once a month so the bulk of our food is bought now. On the 20th I will but a couple of gallons of milk and a few fresh fruits.

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Nikki December 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I know families of four here that get over $700 on food stamps. I can’t imagine spending that much on food!!

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Juanita Massey December 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

My husband and I live on a fixed income and I am always trying ways to save money on the groceries and other things. I shop thrift stores and we buy our clothes there. I also do some crocheting and, knitting to sell. I also do some sewing of aprons and cut hair. We do good with sharing things from our garden and with friends sharing too. It is wonderful to share and God is good to us, Praise him. Juanita

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Theresa B. December 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm

We get $280 in Food Stamps for our family of four. We use to get $400 and they just dropped it to $280. We are honest people which, unfortunately, can bite you when you’re dealing with government assistance. Kind of crazy that at one point we got over $500 a month in food stamps when we were a family of 3. Anyways….thanks for all the tips. We survive and I am very thankful. I am REALLY looking forward to the day when we are no longer on ANY assistance whatsoever!

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Shannon L December 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm

As a family of 4, we receive $160 a month. Yes, $160 a month. Thankfully my church has a food pantry we can use. Plus we have other food pantries to visit if we have a bad month. I stock up on meat when on sale and skimp on fancy dinners. I recently bought a whole chuck while on sale for $3.28lb. That’s a good price in our area. I told the butcher how I wanted it processed. He saved me the chuck eyes. We had a fancy steak dinner with baked potatoes. It was so nice.

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cassie December 4, 2013 at 1:36 am

We re a family of 6, not on foodstamps, and my budget is $400 a month which includes food, dog food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, alcohol, diapers, etc. we are gfcf and eat mostly real food with only a few processed items that we are working on eliminating like condiments, noodles, etc.

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Lydia December 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

Check out you local farmers market or CSA. While some of them can be pricey, many are not. In New Orleans, for example, we have the Holygrove Market &Farm. They offer a large box (enough to feed a family of 4) of organic, local produce for $25 a week, and accept food stamps.

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Karen December 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I cook every night from scratch. I spend $75 a week and we have 3 meals a day every day of the week. It is not hard you just have to think about it. Thinking is something a lot of people do not want to do. My husband and I work full time, ( I teach and he is an operations manager) are college educated and smart about our money. You have to have a plan for your money!

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