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Monday, November 17, 2008

What Can You Afford to Eat if You are Poor?

Although I love shopping at my Harris Teeter store, here in Charlotte there are many many folks who simply rule it out because of the price. I've even had a cashier at HT once tell me of a butcher where she has found less pricey meats!

That kind of intrigues me and I do think about it often. Obviously those of us who work as cashiers or such like do not make tons of $$ and so the challenge to eat well is compounded.

I tend to think that with the right combination of cooking and careful shopping you can cut the bills down and shop the better stores. If you can throw in gardening, you may do even better--but realize that gardens do not always produce well--especially new gardens.

Nonetheless there is a large population of folks in the Carolinas that simply do not make enough money to 'experiment' with cost cutting --they shop only at stores they think are 'cheap' and they buy foods that give you the most calorie for the money.

It really is not a big wonder that lower income folks in America are often more likely to be fat than to look like they are starving. Fattening stuff is cheaper.


Now I have shopped in a variety of stores--including the ethnic stores. I find that the stores perceived to have lower prices-- are often not really cheaper. Often they are selling smaller packages for less money and folks are fooled into thinking they have a better deal, or they are selling things that are just on the edge of going bad--I've seen that too.
You need to shop daily to eat some of the 'fresh' foods I've seen on shelves.

This topic is very interesting to me and I have my thoughts on it as do others. I think especially in a time when the economy is doing poorly more and more folks are trying to figure out how to eat well on less.

I found a very interesting blog this morning that I've just added to "The Motley Crew"-my Blog List. Its One Dollar Project. This couple did an experiment to see if they could eat for a dollar a day and wrote about it. Their local paper didn't think this topic was relevant--but the NY Times did. (funny) Neat blog--you might want to check it out.My thought is though--maybe what isn't relevant is the idea of eating on a dollar- bring that budget up a few notches and it might be more realistic.

In my lifetime I've lived in various financial situations and I've known a large variety of folks at every income level. This kind of gives me a unique perspective on the question, 'What can you afford to eat if you are poor'.


I think, right now, poor folks in America truly cannot afford what experts say is a healthy diet. They won't starve, but they are eating quite alot of junk. The bigger question is what should be done about this?

I know that there will always be some folks who can't afford good food-- that's the way it has always always been. I think though that it is possible for most folks to improve their lot, both with and without the help of others.

Often it is a matter of setting a priority for spending, and making an effort to rise above your circumstances. Sometimes however the cards are so stacked against an individual that help from others is truly needed. There is a line between the two situations, and its important to recognize that. The worst thing you can do for someone who is not exerting him/herself is to give them too many things free. Likewise the worst thing you can do for someone who truly cannot help themselves is to turn them away to fend for themselves.

I'm not saying I have an answer to this problem, but I am often thinking about it.

The more I observe the more I wonder how best to serve others in this area. What should government do or not do, what should individuals do or not do?

If you cannot afford to feed your family a healthy diet--what should you be doing?

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