The food crisis seems to shadow the political issues on the news lately. Hunger has become a serious health threat in the United States, and Ann Arbor is not exempt. Recently Marti Lachapell (Director of Agency Relations at Ann Arbor-based Food Gatherers) posted an article on the Food Gatherers website titled "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" that addresses the creative and unselfish ways that people are helping each other out.
A recent article released by PR Newswire explains how people with low-income and on food assistance are still conscientious about eating healthy. They just need some ideas on how to best use the foods that are available to them.
In talking with the community, here are some ideas that are being conducted:
Those with limited budgets but not on food assistance are sharing the cost of bulk items mostly from places like Costco and Sam's Club. Others wait until particular foods go on sale and then buy as many as the store allows. Coupons become a priority and stores that double up to a dollar are being sought-out, such as the Kroger in Howell off M-59.
Many churches and schools have created food pantries and the food is flying off the shelves. Some have returned to home-canning (jams, jellies, salsas, relish, etc.) and then trade their specialties with friends.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to combine amino acids for a complete protein is to serve cooked rice with beans. Currently, canned legumes are cheapest at Walmart. However, as word gets out, this may change. Of course, bagged beans are the least expensive although they need a little extra work.
Buy eggs on sale and avoid getting too much cholesterol by limiting to no more than three nights per week (check with your medical care team if on a cardiovascular diet). Combine the eggs with toast and jelly or pancakes made with some oatmeal. You can replace some of the flour with oatmeal to increase the fiber and nutrient content plus you'll get a thicker pancake. Remember, it's okay to have "breakfast dinner" once in a while.
ALWAYS check the sale papers for great deals. For example, Kroger is featuring their new hydroponic lettuce for a buck a head. The lettuce is harvested with the root ball so that it lasts longer. Add some black beans to the lettuce for a more nutritious salad.
Food pantries have a lot of canned foods. So, what to do with all those cans? Chili, of course! It's easy and can be cooked in a crock pot. Combine corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce (or even spaghetti sauce if that's all you have), and any canned beef item, plus seasonings and serve over rice or pasta.
Canned mixed vegetables may be used in homemade soups.
Be creative and share your ideas with your friends. If there's a particular item you often receive from the food pantry that your family just does not like, swap with another family.
Your Health and Wellness Coach: http://www.tinardlifecoach.com
The articles recommended below will help increase your knowledge of protein and carbohydrates.