Wednesday, October 19, 2011

$5 A Day

In September, Mark Bittman of the New York Times wrote an article, 'Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?’ In the article, he talks about the perception that eating fruits and vegetables costs more than eating 'junk food'. On one level there is the belief that dollar for dollar a person can buy more food when they are purchasing packaged, processed foods. The other notion around cheap food is one of calorie for calorie; a calorically dense meal costs more when it consists of fruit and vegetables. 

Bittman challenges these ideas, citing American's penchant for cooking and increasing reliance on the convenience of processed foods. Bittman also cites the addictive nature of highly processed foods as the other culprit for this belief in junk food as the cheaper alternative. So, what can we believe? 

Can a person really eat healthfully for $5 per day (the average amount provided to an individual through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)? I've spent too long wondering and now it's time to put my money where my mouth is (pun intended). For one week I will eat on $5/day, journaling what I eat, from where it came and its nutritional breakdowns. I will do my best to supply lots of other information too, such as how much I normally spend at the farmers' market each week, how much fresh food do I really throw out/compost each week? 

While I get started on this self-imposed challenge, check out Bittman's article and let me know your thoughts. 

~ Katie Salz
October 18, 2011