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There is no excuse...

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

To not be able to eat healthy on PA.

I'll preface by saying:

My DH and I have never been on PA before, but recently he lost his job (as in 2 weeks ago recently). We both have multiple applications out, and are hoping for a call back. He had a callbck today, but he still has to go through multiple interviews, etc.

Anyway, while we are waiting for this, we did apply for PA. We had a great savings built, and then our YDD got sick and it was all put toward her bills. Well not all of it. We have enough to cover our necessary payments for about 3 months, but that's it.

I hope that we aren't on them any more than one month, I hate the thought of needing to use them because I feel there are so many more in need and I feel it's unfair to them that we even need them for this long. While things are unexpected, we should have planned better. 

I also understand why people complain about those who defraud the system now, I never realized that people were given that much. Many people in my family use PA, but since I don't talk to them, I didn't know how much was given to them.

Moving on.

We were approved for SNAP today, and my eyes bulged out of my head. I couldn't believe people claim you can't eat healthy on this! I spend $400 per month on healthy organic foods for my family of 4, that includes the foods for making my own baby food. They give our family of four $650!

I'm not bashing those who have the occasional snack. I'm sitting her typing this while devouring a piece of chocolate cake (Boxed mix that's been in my pantry for about 3 months to all you naysayers. It was leftover from ODDs birthday). I'm referring to those who believe your daily nutrition comes from potato chips, deep fried oreos, and spaghettios. (exaggeration, you know what I mean though.)

If you are someone who claims there is no way to eat healthy on PA you really need to recheck your budget. With a budget that high, even shopping organic would be simple. 

Anyway, stepping off the soap box (or the cereal box since we're talking food lol). If you're serious about wanting to eat healthy and have a limited budget and you just don't know how to do it, feel free to ask. I've made it work on $50 per week, and I've made it work on $200 each week. No matter your budget it is pollist. 

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:21 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:39 PM
Who cares?
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by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:40 PM

 Many eat better that is for sure.

Quoting wkukid:

PA folk live better then the people who earn what they get.


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by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:41 PM

I absolutely agree!

by Anonymous 5 on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Keep in mind that not every applicant for SNAP gets $650 a month. That is far above the national average. You should also not feel guilty because you have paid into the system and the benefits are there for families like yours who need a temporary hand up.

by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:43 PM
No you can eat healthy on many budgets. We don't get pa but I'd love the help. We spend about $200 on thee of us and eat pretty healthy. Like you said not perfect but doable. It takes planning and prep but it can be done.
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by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:43 PM

We shop alot of chicken, because it's lower priced. Plus there are so many things to do with chicken, it never feels like you're eating the same thing.

I make my own shake n bake seasoning, I found it on pinterest. You can mix the seasoned flour with breadcrumbs or panko and it tastes just like it but without all the processed junk.

I use alot of spices. They're a staple in my cabinet. You can experiement with different spice blends to try things.

A few favorites of my family are garlic chicken. I spice up my chicken breast and brown it on both sides. Then I take it out of the pan. I mince 4-5 cloves of garlic really small and do a quick saute, just to pull out the aroma. I use the homemade stock in my freezer with some spices and a bit of flour and olive oil to make a gravy. This is made with the garlic already in the pan. Then I toss the chicken in and let the flavors infuse as it finishes cooking.

You can put it over brown rice, or you can use some herbs and olive oil in some whole wheat pasta and put it over that. Yum!

Chicken carbonara is a cheap meal, and you can use bacon in place of pancetta, just make sure you place the bacon on paper towels to get rid of the grease.

Apple pork chops are another favorite. Brown the chops, then add diced apples and chicken broth. Cook until the chops are done. Remove the chops, turn the apple sauce into a gravy. Super yummy.

Grilled whole chicken is a great summer meal. You marinate with lemon and herbs. You cut out the backbone and crack the breastbone so it can sit flat. You cook it to crisp the skin over direct heat, then you move it over to indirect heat to finish cooking. It falls off the bone by the time it's done and it has an amazing smokey flavor. The marinade the drips off with the fat infuses the smoke with citrus, so it continues to infuse the chicken with citrus as well. 

These are a few. I get many recipes from pinterest. I modify them to fit our likes and our budget. I don't overdo it on the starches and we have a salad with every meal, on top of our usual vegetable. 90% of our lunches consist of different salads. Sometimes I have to make something different for the kids, they try everything, but they don't always like it. I'm fine with that.

Oregano chicken is a good one. Lemon Juice/Zest, Oregano, Salt, Pepper (and I like to add rotisserie seasoning as well) mixed with olive oil. Marinate chicken with it. When cooking brush on the top of the chicken, halfway through cooking, flip and brush on the other side of the chicken. Cook time is about 25 minutes on 425 for breasts.

You can make lime and cilantro chicken the same way as the oregano chicken, just use fresh cilantro in place of the dried oregano, and lime in place of lemon. 

Instead of juices and sodas we drink infused waters. Citrus water, berry water, apple cinnamon water, etc. When we do have juice, we make our own. It's healthier and often cheaper when you think about how much usually goes to waste when dumped, left to sit, or spilled. 

Quoting Anonymous:

What meals do you make?

by Anonymous 6 on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:47 PM

 Judgemeantal bitches like you makes life so much fun on this site.

by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

If you have local meat markets, try them for your chicken. Buying in bulk also helps.

Certain fruits and vegetables you can freeze for long periods of time. A vacuum sealer was my best investment. It may seem insanely expensive up front (because it is a little ridiculous), but it's very worth it. To keep fruits from turning colors when frozen (like apples) do a quick soak in some lemon juice before freezing. Freeze the foods you cook in your meals, then all you're buying throughout the year are the ones you like to eat raw. 

Gluten free can be hard to do on a budget, especially if you like breads and such. Check out for great gluten free recipes on a budget. She has a bunch. She's also the one who taught me alot of my budgeting techniques. 

Quoting amanda_n_e:

I don't get pa, but I'm struggling with a foods budget.
We eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Chicken. And we are gluten free

by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Jan. 25, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Not a food snob, I live in a house where every single person has different allergies. Many of them severe. Dealing with iodine allergies as well as a genetic disorder causing malnourishment makes buying processed foods hard. So I HAVE to buy organic on a budget to ensure I'm not spending a 7th time in the ER with one of my children. Foods are hidden all to often, and unless you know what to look for it can be hard. Even when you do know what you're looking for, it can still cause issues when the food is made in a plant that contains the allergies because of cross contamination. 

I understand they aren't low cost, $650 in foodstamps is alot of money. And I'm also not saying that everyone gets that amount. The one family member I do talk to has to feed her family on $200 because of her income, she also does it healthy.

Like I said I've also done it on $50 a month.

Currently I live in the midwest, but I've done this living on the east coast across the river from NYC, I've done it down south in SC, and mid-eastish in WV and PA. My family member lives out west in CA.

It's about putting the effort into it. Looking at your sales, getting to know your local grocery stores, not just your chain grocers. Knowing where to get better deals, like you can get milk cheaper at a drugstore than a grocery store. Same thing with many frozen food items.

I spend 4-6 hours per week meal planning, and it takes no time away from my family. I wait until the kids are down for a nap to collect my sale papers. DH and I go through those papers together see what items we want to eat for the week. I plan my meals around the sales, even though we have multiple stores they all have the same sales, so usually I stick with the stores that double.

I look for butchers shops, meat markets, and farmers markets. Local produce and meats are 90% of the time cheaper than grocer prices. 

DH and I love sale searching together because we love cooking together. So when we decide our meals for the week we know what we will be making together.

I buy meats in bulk, because I get discounted prices when I do. Usually my meats are bought 4-5 months in advance (80-100lbs) and I never spend more than $100 on it. 

I clip and log my coupons on sundays. And that's really it.  Simple, and easy money saving. 

Quoting Anonymous:

Where do you live? Organic, hell even non organic healthy foods aren't available at low costs everywhere. How old are your children, it's cheaper to feed younger children, even if you do make your own baby food.

Honestly, you sound like you were a food snob before needing PA and continue to be one now.

by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Jan. 25, 2013 at 6:24 PM

I'm not being judgemental, I'm tired of people being judged. I live for budget challenges, I have fun aiming to save high and spend low. So I KNOW living on low budgets for almost any diet can be easy if you work for it.

I'm damn tired of seeing ASSumptions that everyone on PA eats unhealthy and are fat obese slobs.

PA and bugets have nothing to do with eating healthy. If you TRY to eat healthy you will. And the reason people have that image of those on PA is because idiots like to use PA as an excuse, assuming no one will prove them wrong because most are too proud to admit they're on PA.

I'm not too proud to admit we need them. I'm not to proud to admit we should have saved better to plan for this. 

But I am proud to admit that I'm not using foodstamps as an excuse to let my health and the health of my family go to crap. If you eat unhealthy just admit to the fact that it is poor planning on your part and not at the fault of anyone else. Anyone who takes the time to plan their meals, no matter where they live, can live healthy on a budget. I'm not saying people need to diet, but living on junk food and soda certainly doesn't do a darn thing for your health. 

Quoting Anonymous:

 Judgemeantal bitches like you makes life so much fun on this site.

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