A dollar? Careful shopping can yield nutritious, delicious meals

June 5, 2017

The Food Bank of Delaware tackles the problem of food insecurity in many ways, and one of them is offering support in financial literacy.

In addition to providing weekend backpacks for hungry children and offering mobile pantries to impoverished neighborhoods, we provide help in securing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps) benefits and offer $tand By Me financial coaching.

That being said, we also try to educate on ways to reduce food waste and how to stretch funds to purchase nutritious and satisfying food.

Here are some suggestions on how seniors and families with children (our most vulnerable populations) can make healthy choices at a dollar store rather than at a fast food restaurant:

  • Breakfast: A dozen eggs goes a long way. Pair the eggs with frozen waffles, pancakes or cinnamon toast, and orange juice. That’s breakfast for $3. Or breakfast for dinner – always a great choice.
  • Another breakfast: Oatmeal, fruit cups or applesauce, and milk. If adults want coffee or tea, there’s also a selection on those beverages on the shelf.
  • Avoid the sugar and high sodium items by taking time to read labels. Finding food with a high nutritional value may take more time than grabbing chips, cookies, or candy.
  • Condiments: Lots of bargains and choices here, including a specialty items like lemon pepper, ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles.
  • Kids’ favorite: Peanut butter, jelly, and whole wheat bread.
  • Dinners: A few dollars and some imagination will yield full bellies plus leftovers. Pasta and sauces? Rice? That pizza crust on the end of the aisle can be dressed up with cheese and sauce. Frozen tilapia, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, sweet potato fries are available in the freezer section.
  • Speaking of leftovers, a dollar store is the perfect venue for buying containers to safely store food for lunch the next day. It’s also a great place to buy colorful plates and cute placemats. Presentation is everything, and you can stock your kitchen one plate or place setting at a time.
  • Buy bottled water rather than soda, and if you want an occasional treat, skip the candy aisle. Consider graham crackers or the rice crackers. Freezer pops, while on the sugary side, are also an inexpensive way to offer a treat for the kids.

So, what’s the bottom line? You can’t go to a fast food restaurant or convenience store and buy breakfast for a family for under $5. Save your money and your health by shopping wisely. Yes, there’s some time involved in food preparation, but it’s more worthwhile than waiting in the drive-through line.

For more information on Food Bank of Delaware programs, visit www.fbd.org.

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