According to a report on low-income families, one in three Americans are currently at or near the poverty level and there is record enrollment in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was formerly called food stamps. These families know that eating healthy meals is important but are struggling to meet that need. The study was conducted by Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters.
Out of all the low-income families surveyed 85 percent felt that eating healthy meals was important, but only about half of those responding were able to eat healthy meals regularly. The major reason cited by most of the families was cost. The respondents felt their local stores had a wide variety of healthy items available for purchase. The results showed how families better at planning their meals were also better able to purchase enough items to get more healthy meals from their limited budget.
The study suggests that a better understanding of the nutritional benefits of frozen and canned fruits and vegetables could provide more healthy options. Eighty one percent of the low-income parents surveyed rated fresh produce as extremely healthy but only 32 percent rated frozen fruits and vegetables as extremely healthy. The number dropped to only 12 percent when it came to canned fruits and vegetables.
The families surveyed were willing to learn about their options. Fifty percent were extremely interested in learning more about cooking healthy meals and many families were interested in learning ways to better budget for meals.
In a January 31, 2012 Press release Kori Reed, Vice President, Cause and Foundation for ConAgra Foods commented on the study saying “Our philanthropic strategy involves investing in proven nonprofit organizations with innovative approaches to fighting child hunger, like educating families on how to get the most nutritional value from their food budgets. One of the ways we accomplish this is by funding research, such as this study, to better understand the challenges low-income families face and, in turn, better invest in programs that are poised to help communities overcome hunger and food insecurity.”
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