The Week That Was
As we finished our “Food Stamp Challenge” late last week we all had a chance to get together to discuss our thoughts, what we learned, and share some of the experiences we had throughout the endeavor. For one week we chose to try to experience what it is like to attempt to eat healthy on a very limited budget.
Six staff members and one of the staff member’s family chose to give it a try. Individuals committed to live on $29.65 for the week, while the family of four all ate for $1.00 a meal during the course of the week. Our purpose was to simply highlight the affordability of potatoes and see what kind of nutritional value potatoes can have when you are living on a limited budget. The report from the nutritionist who reviewed each of our food selections, Craig Hunt RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist), said “the menus sent by your office were impressive, especially the amount of nutrition packed into each of your budgets for the week.”
Potatoes played a large role in each of our menu items and helped to contribute to this overall success. Now even though we all understand that one week cannot fully replicate the real life scenario that some face for weeks and even months on end when they are forced to live on a limited budget, we do feel this helped to broaden our perspective and show the impact potatoes can have.
We know that from research done by the US Potato Board and other sources that consumer habits are changing as it relates to their food choices. The impact of the recession appears as though it will be long standing. It has played a significant role in many people’s lives but in particular in shaping the habits of the millennial group. As they shop and prepare their meals many of them are making choices that allow their food dollar to stretch further than previous generational groups.
As we met after our week long challenge we found that potatoes live up to the mark for any group or person looking for healthy food choices. They provide a genuine option for any diet where someone is looking for affordability, versatility and comprehensive nutritional value. Additionally, our experience from the week showed that it was possible to eat healthy on a budget if we:
- Shopped smart
- Planned ahead
- Cooked from scratch as much as possible
- Utilized our leftovers
Below is a list of the favorite potato dishes our staff enjoyed last week while taking the challenge. It is a great example to show just some of the many ways potatoes can be part of your next meal.
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