> value_added (719364)
THIS. I find it extremely unsettling how many people who have never been in a situation like this glibly spout "well, smart shopping will help them" and such. When you have $20 a week, in a nation where the purchase power of the dollar for food and basic living expenses is constantly dropping, this is a grim scenario. The above poster's comment on the hierarchy of foods is spot-on, as well.
I know because, while not quite badly off enough to qualify for food stamp, etc, I shop as if I am. My weekly grocery list tends to look like:
2x Dried pinto beans - $0.99 for 8 servings
2x Queso da papa cheese - $1.50 for 8 servings
2x Non-trans-fat peanut butter - $1.00 for 10 servings
1x Quaker Oats oatmeal cylinder - $4.50 for 20 servings, don't usually need this every week, so let's say $1.50 amortized over 3 weeks.
1x Small bottle of olive oil for cooking - $6.00, again amortized to $2.00 a week.
3x white ball onion - $2.50
1x off-brand OJ concentrate - $2.50
Which leaves $5.50 from that $20 for vegetables and fruit, and you're lucky if you get one serving of each a day. Invest it in tomato sauce and the cheapest frozen veg you can find for best results.
Imagine trying to eat like that all week, every week, forever. Plain oatmeal for breakfast, PB and cheese for lunch, and beans and cheese for dinner, with whatever fruit or veg you could afford. That's *all* you get, aside from what you can beg or dumpster-dive. If you deprive yourself even more, you may be able to afford some yeast and flour, so you can make some bread...IF you have time to.