Jenna: Barriers to Healthy Eating Include Time
Jenna Umbriac, Manna’s dietitian, will be blogging about Councilwoman Valerie Ervin’s SNAP the Silence Challenge. The challenge begins on Monday, but Jenna is already preparing:Yesterday I began my preparation for the upcoming SNAP the Silence challenge. This activity is designed to increase awareness about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, and is being carried out in Montgomery County February 4th– February 8th. Challenge takers are asked to feed themselves on $5.00 per day or $1.67 per meal. While this one bill may get you a sizable amount of calories off the convenience store or fast food dollar menu, can it support a nutritious weekly meal plan? I’m determined to find out.
Challenged to spend my money on only the healthiest of foods, I began by uploading the most recent promotional flyer from my local grocery store and scanned the pages for the best (and healthiest) deals. I then created a weekly meal plan that outlined proposed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the next 5 days. From these meals and their recipes, I began to devise a shopping list. To be sure these items were not outside of my new budget, I checked for average prices of items by looking at the online shopping directory of this same food supplier. I compared the cost-benefit of buying individual apples versus a 3 pound bag of fruit, and analyzed the cost of frozen, canned and fresh vegetables to determine the best nutritional bang for my buck.
Satisfied with my detective work, I looked up from my computer and noticed that nearly three hours had passed. Three hours and I hadn’t even been to store let alone cooked any of these meals I’d been plotting and planning for over the better part of an afternoon. Add in the hours needed to purchase and prep this weekly food and you can begin to see how maybe more than money the obstacle to healthy eating for folks on the tightest of food budgets is time.