This post is brought to you in cooperation with The Motherhood on behalf of Walmart and Share Our Strength. All opinions are my own.
No child should go hungry. Honestly, no person should ever have to know what it is like to be hungry. Food is one of the three basic life necessities, along with water and shelter. You need it to survive, plain and simple. Yet it is becoming increasingly difficult for families going through hard times to feed their families. Here’s the thing: 85% of low-income parents know that eating healthy is important, but only half prepare healthy meals on a regular basis? Why? Because healthy meals cost more money. When you’re already strapped for cash shopping healthy becomes a daunting experience. Trust me, I know. I’ve actually left the grocery store crying more times than I can count because I was so overwhelmed by trying to stretch $40 to cover enough food to last more than a week.
Did you know that poor eating habits can lead to behavioral problems? It makes sense if you think about it. You get grumpy when you’re hungry, do you not? Imagine being a kid and going hungry, but not really understanding why you can’t eat. Imagine trying to go to school every day with your stomach rumbling. Would you be able to focus on math and reading? When all your child thinks about is how hungry he is, you can’t really expect him to excel in school or in his home life. Yet food insecurity is such a common part of way too many children’s lives.
Walmart Foundation and Share Our Strength Help Stop Hunger
The Walmart Foundation has joined together with Share Our Strength to put an end to poor eating habits and hunger in low-income families. Since 2010, Walmart Foundation has donated nearly $7 million to Share Our Strength and their Cooking Matters program. This program helps low-income families learn how to shop for healthy foods with the resources they have. See, most families believe that shopping healthy is too expensive. I know for me, most fresh produce is out of my budget. In Northeast PA, apples can go for as much as $1 each in many grocery stores. I already shop at Walmart for groceries because it’s the least expensive store in the area by as much as 50% on some items, yet produce is still a bit too pricey! My son is a picky eater, but he loves orange peppers. Have you seen the price of those things lately? Astronomical! Yet I can get a package of turkey dogs for $1.
Through Cooking Matters, parents learn how to shop healthy without breaking their budget. For example, they’re taught to compare the unit price of foods and look for the best deal. While fresh produce may be too expensive, frozen fruit is often a little more reasonable. Bread often costs the same regardless of whether you buy white or whole-grain, so choosing whole grain isn’t a sacrifice.
Cooking Matters also helps families learn how to transition to a healthier way of eating. After years of microwave dinners and processed foods, it can be hard to get kids to agree to try something new. Tips from Share our Strength include:
- Setting reasonable goals
- Planning family dinner time and being flexible
- Having “go-to” fast healthy meals for busy nights
- Getting everyone involved in the cooking and planning
- Sharing the adventure as a family!
How can you get involved with Cooking Matters?
If you are dealing with food insecurity and need help planning healthier meals, visit Cooking Matters to find out about classes in your area. You can also get some great tips to try on your own through the website. You can also learn how to volunteer to be a tour leader and host a Cooking Matters class in your hometown. No child should go hungry. With the help of the Walmart Foundation and Share our Strength, maybe one day no child ever will go hungry again.