Bickering over SNAP limits on junk food might prove to be an exercise in futility if new findings from Cooking Matters are accurate. According to a recently released report, low-income families are more often than not preparing meals from scratch and avoiding takeout options altogether.
Cooking Matters, a program sponsored by Share our Strength that teaches healthy eating on a budget to families at risk, published It’s Dinnertime: A Report on Low-Income Families’ Efforts to Plan, Shop for, and Cook Healthy Meals which debunks many assumptions about the dining habits of low-income families. The report is encouraging for nutrition educators and SNAP advocates alike as it demonstrates that families on tight budgets want to eat healthily and look for meal preparedness tips.
Well, if low-income folks aren’t regularly using their EBT cards to shovel in Big Bufords at the local Checkers then what are they doing? Of those sampled, “78% of families report eating at home most or every day (i.e., five or more times a week), and 2/3 of families report eating together most of every day.”
The report also goes into detail about perceived barriers to healthy eating. For example, those sticker shocked by the cost of fresh produce tend to underestimate the nutritional benefits in canned or frozen fruit and vegetables which are much more affordable.
The bottom line suggests the demand for healthy eating among low-income families is great and attainable. It comes down to education. By empowering people with nutrition education and tips for meal preparation, families will likely choose options that provide the best nourishment possible.