Soup du Jour Vlog: Feeding a Family Under $4

Despite being one the riches countries in the world, close to 50 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.  In other words, one in six Americans will go hungry this evening.

Hunger Facts

These food insecure families participate in a government subsidized food plan known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “food stamps”) which offers approximately $4 per person each day to supplement their food budget.   As a Food Blogger Against Hunger, I set out on a quest to find out if it is possible to feed a family a healthy meal under $4.

For me, this investigation was more than a social experiment.  Most families are only one paycheck away from being homeless.  If my husband lost his job and I had to return to the classroom, my teaching salary couldn’t pay the bills for my family of five.  Could I still make healthy meals for my family with WIC (Florida’s food assistance program)?

After the video, I discovered that dried beans and brown rice are part of WIC.  To make the meals even more affordable, visit a local food bank to stock up on canned beans, pasta and rice.  In the end, I learned that it is possible to feed healthy meals on a $4 budget with some smart shopping, watching sale ads, price matching techniques and couponing.

However, SNAP and other food assistance programs are in danger of severe budget cuts and relying on food banks for assistance is simply not enough.  Will you join over 150 food bloggers and I as we offer the topic of hunger A Place at the Table?

Could you feed your family under $4?

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10 comments

  1. artsnark says:

    Great of you to do this. Very thorough video. Disappointing that the Sav-a-lot manager reacted that way – you’d think pr would be a good thing. Looking forward to your recipes

  2. Lane @ Supper for a Steal says:

    Thanks for your video, I have done a similar experiment on my own and found Walmart Neighborhood Markets to have good prices IF it’s not on sale at Publix. I agree that it is completely do able to feed on $4. Especially since it is $4 per person per day. Is that right? It’s seems like a lot actually and way more than I spend in a month. But anyways I really enjoyed your post :)

    • Denise says:

      Thanks for stopping by and or your kind comments! There’s not a Walmart Neighborhood Market close to me. It’s quite a drive and so is the Aldi that my mom swears is for cheap produce, but not worth the gas, if you are on a tight $4 a day budget. We do have quite a few WalMarts and thankfully, Target and WalMart price match. Yes, it’s $4 per person but also I think if you were working full-time or two jobs as the sole bread winner, it would be difficult to find the time to shop around to find the best deals or coupon. All that requires so much time. Also, we use a lot of spices and olive oil and that’s where the cost would go up for us. I plan to visit a food bank to see what would be available for a needy family and plan a meal according to the items I find there.

  3. Kelly Wade says:

    Those are some scary statistics. The documentary looks pretty interesting. It seems like it would be very hard to feed a family on $4/person per day let alone worrying about eating well and keeping kids healthy. Theres no wonder there are so many overweight and unhealthy children in the U.S. when packaged/processed/fast food costs way less than nutritious whole foods.

  4. Genna says:

    I loved this post! I work at a renaissance school where more than 95% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. I know that the only reason they come to school is because breakfast and lunch are the only meals they get.

  5. Tori Billings says:

    I exemplify the “working poor.” My paychecks that equal less than $1,800/month do not come close to providing enough for healthy eating choices. I’d *love* to eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day! And fish! But, supporting myself on $12/hr and paying over $360/mo in child support renders me “too wealthy” for SNAP. I enjoy cooking “from scratch” rather than using mixes, etc, and also don’t like all the sodium that seems a necessary evil in any sort of prepared product, but I am away from home at least 50 hours each week so starting something from scratch at 10 at night when I get home (or shopping sales, etc) is asking too much.
    I have no doubt why there are so many obese (and otherwise unhealthy) Americans. It’s cheaper to get full from the dollar menu at McDonalds than it is to create a healthy meal at home.
    (BTW, Aldi is pretty awesome. Also, I’ve found that some of the 99 cent stores have some incredible deals on produce!)

    • Denise says:

      Thank you so much for your candid and honest post. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to work all those hours and have little to show for it. We have a few Aldi stores in the Tampa Bay area, but none of them are close to me. My mom raves about the store! I’ve also heard that you can negotiate with vendors at farmer’s markets to get better deals on produce. If I can help you in anyway, please let me know.

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