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Eating Well on a Tight Budget


First, let’s start with some sobering stats from the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

In the wake of the recent economic crisis more people are hungry than ever before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) reported in September 2015 that 48 million Americans, including over 16 million children are food insecure. A person is considered food insecure if they lack access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition. Maine ranks 12th in the nation and 1st in New England for food insecurity.

If you are interested in learning more about food insecurity and the systemic issues that contribute to hunger, the documentary A Place at the Table is a good place to start. Most libraries have it, and if you have Netflix, you can see it there, too.

Whether you are food insecure or living  paycheck to paycheck, or even if you’re simply interested in using food as efficiently as possible to avoid waste, the following resources have a single purpose: To help ensure the most nutrient-dense food for your buck. The nutrition facts stamped on an apple.

Good and Cheap, the free vegetarian cookbook full of recipes anyone can make on a budget of $4 a day, by Leanne Brown, is definitely a favorite. Brown’s goal was to help people in SNAP, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, find ways to cook filling, nourishing and flavorful meals. My favorite thing about Brown? She avoids being preachy about food, avoids prescribing strict meals and methods, and she emphasizes flexibility. Find her free cookbook here.

Intersectional food politics. Are you familiar with the word intersectional, and how it might relate to food? Important stuff. Read about it here: intersectional food politics.

7 Tips for Living on a Budget: I’m a fan of Chris Kresser. He’s constantly nose-deep into research on nutrition and his podcast is fantastic. See his tips about eating on a budget here. (I could do without the ad for Thrive Market, but the rest of his advice is good.)

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. Fun, and chock-full of common sense. An accessible, helpful foodlosphy, if you’re looking for one. See the rules here.

Budget Bytes: Here’s a piece from Beth’s intro: As a food lover and a number cruncher I’ve decided that cooking on a budget shouldn’t mean canned beans and ramen noodles night after night. This is my web log of good food cooked with little cash. Check out her website here.

44 Nutrient-Dense Foods for Under a $1: A great list! (One minor detail: I’d advice full-fat dairy over low-fat.) See the list here.

5 Dollar Dinners: Just like it sounds. See here.

1 Chicken, 17 Meals: ‘Nuff said. Check it out here.

Don’t Toss the Broccoli Stems! Just an interesting recipe I stumbled across, and included for the sake of avoiding food waste AND because it’s really tasty. Check out a recipe for pan-fried stems here.