to recent estimates, 1 in 5 American households are receiving some amount of
food benefits. As any family receiving benefits and trying to keep food on the
table knows, it can be difficult to have a filling and healthy diet on a small
benefits amounts have increasingly gotten smaller as the government has been
forced to cut programs to the Farm Bill, which incorporates SNAP (Supplementary
Nutrition Assistance Program, colloquially known as food stamps).
the cost of preparing meals from fresh ingredients can easily be more expensive
than cheap fast food options. Here’s a quick one day family menu designed to
cost less than $10 total for the combined servings, but not for the
egg per child, 2 per adult
sausage patties or links in bulk package, 2 per person
will always be one of my favorite ways to fill a belly early in the morning
with something that is warm, comforting, and sticks to the bone. I like to add
some protein so I can keep the troops going until snack time or lunchtime.
save, adopt a few backyard chickens! You can sell the excess eggs to neighbors.
COST: $0.50 + $1.34+ $1.16 = $2.82
from bulk or large package
cheese sticks (one each adult, kids split)
are one of the cheapest snack items one can purchase. The crunchiness is what
attracts me, and the earthy flavor. For a real cheap party snack, make your own
soft pretzels at home and serve with mustard, marinara sauce, or homemade
cheese sauce. Delish!
COST: $0.10 + $0.99 + $0.75 = $1.84
Rice (from bulk)
Sauce (from family size or bulk size)
Chicken Tenderloins, marinated and topped with
sauce (bought in bulk package from a warehouse store)
cheapest place that I’ve found to buy meat, thus far, has been Costco frozen
chicken. I am partial to the tenderloins, which sell for about $16.00 for a six
pound package. They sell a ten pound package of frozen chicken breasts for $19.99,
but I’m too impatient to wait for them to defrost. The tenderloins will defrost
easily in the microwave.
COST: $0.50 + $0.65 + $2.66 = $3.81
(buy kernels in bulk and prepare at home)
COST: $0.20 + 1.24 = $1.44
the cheapest apples that are not red delicious apples. I find these become
mealy easily, and are over waxed. To save, plant an apple tree in your
backyard! It takes 10 years for them to begin to produce fruit, but it is worth
Tortillas, burrito size
Beans (homemade from beans bought I in bulk and soaked overnight)
rice (homemade with white rice, a small can tomato sauce, and onions and
or Lettuce Corn (from frozen bulk package) and green onions
COST: $1.22 + $0.45 + $1.25 + $0.99 = $3.91
and Beans combined make a perfect protein. This is a classic South American
dish, once made for me as a tween by my friend Adriana’s mother, a Mexican-American
made her re-fried beans homemade, as should you, adding a small amount of lard
and spices to cooked beans and putting them in the blender. Voila! Re-fried
are many recipes online for homemade Mexican rice, find one that suits you and
perfect it. The rice can be combined in the burrito with the beans and cabbage
or eaten as a side. Prepare the corn on the grill, if you can, or in a grill
spices and a small amount of fat and cook until corn is heated thoroughly.
Don’t add the green onion until the last minute.
Cinnamon rolls (homemade)
Commentary: As mentioned below by the
author you will be needing sugar, cinnamon, frozen bread dough.)
or make your bread dough homemade. It can be frozen. I like to buy a five pack
of frozen bread dough, found in the freezer section next to the garlic bread. I
defrost one loaf and let it go through the first rise.
I flatten it out and add butter, sugar (a combination of brown and white), and
cinnamon. Google a copycat recipe if you’re partial to the kind you can find in
the mall. Let rise again and then bake. The aroma will be enough to draw the
family to the kitchen without you announcing what’s for desert!