Montana Health News

Feb 24, 2012 12:34 PM by Dr. Brad Pickhardt (KPAX)

Dr. Brad: Eating healthy on a SNAP budget

MISSOULA- Reporter Dennis Bragg recently looked at living on SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps, and found he had a hard time staying full and finding variety, not to mention nutrition.

Folks who are on SNAP have about $4 a day to supplement their food budgets and the limitation will obviously have nutritional challenges. But Dr Brad Pickhardt talked with Registered Dietician Kelsey Gauthier to try to find some solutions.

"First thing you need to do is plan ahead. You need to make a week's worth of menus, snacks, meals and shop according to that menu. You need two incorporate lean protein, beans are great source of protein, also high in fiber. Fiber is going to make you feel fuller longer, so brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads," Gauthier advised.

"In order to get all your vitamins and minerals, a great source of that is fruits and vegetables. That's where shopping on sale and buying your produce in season. Protein can be really experience that's where beans come in handy. They are cheap [and are] high in protein. [You also should] shop the sales. When meat goes on sale, buy it in bulk and freeze it," she continued.

"Obesity is a huge risk. When you are on SNAP, you are trying to stretch your food dollars, [so] you are purchasing those high energy dense foods, loaded with fat and added sugars," Gauthier added.

"{When] on SNAP work with your case manager. They will give you more information about which local resources there are. Utilize the food banks if you can and be aware of WIC, [which] provides a food package for women, infants and children. Also make sure your kids are going to school every day. There you maybe eligible for free or reduced price meals [and] most schools will offer breakfast as well," Gauthier concluded.

The bottom line is that healthy eating on a limited budget definitely takes thought and planning ahead, but there are other resources in the community that may be additional help.

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