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Assistance for subsistence: SNAP and MyPlate



By Birch (Sam K)

This Saturday the teenagers (and Claire) of MAP were armed with pens, clipboards and a mission: shop for an imaginary family on a budget while following MyPlate guidelines.

My family of two consisted of one adult and one child. I am working with $72 a week. Planning for 37 meals in total left me with a whopping total of $1.94 per meal. I didn't use specific portion sizes, rather I guesstimated wondering aisle after aisle. To make this challenge more interesting I decided to give my son lactose sensitivity and we eat no pork. I also wanted to make believable meals - avoid eating tune and lettuce every meal - which wasn't always possible.

Trying to follow MyPlate suggestions was hard, especially considering how little it lines up with my regular diet and eating ethics. I'm lactose intolerant and very much against our CAFO-based meat industry. Therefore, all milk and reasonably priced, ethical meat are inaccessible. I'm also almost always on the move, 5 days a week at least. My consumption of grains and fruits is very disproportionate to my veg and protein intake.

Doing this exercise was a double edged sword of inquiry. On one side we did this to challenge the budget set up the USDA for it's meager food assistance. The other was challenging the portion sizes set by MyPlate.

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